What is Internet and how it works?

What is internet

The internet is sort of a popular thing. Some satellites up there. Most of the people do not have any idea where the web came from and doesn’t matter, they do not have to. It’s kind of like asking who invented the ballpoint, or the lavatory or the zipper. These are all things we just use a day we do not even believe the very fact that at some point somebody invented them. So the internet is simply like that.

History of Internet?

Many, a few years ago within the early 1970s my partner Bob Kahn and that i began performing on the planning of what we now call the web. It had been a result of another experiment called the ARPANET which stood for Advanced Research Project Agency Network. It had been a Department of Defense scientific research.

Paul Baran was trying to work out the way to build a communication system which may actually survive a nuclear attack. So he had this concept of breaking messages up into blocks and sending them as fast as possible in every possible direction through the mesh network. So they built a network which eventually became a nationwide experimental packet network.

Who owns internet?

Is anybody responsible of the internet? The government controls it? The peoples are there to regulate the Wi-Fi? Microsoft, Google, Digi Ocean, Mark Juckerberg ,Bill Gates, Right? The honest answer is nobody and perhaps another answer is everybody. The important answer is that the web is formed from an incredibly sizable amount of independently operated networks. What’s interesting about the system is that it’s fully distributed.

There is no central control that’s deciding how packets are routed or where pieces of the network are built or maybe who interconnects with whom. These are all business decisions that are made independently by the operators. They’re all motivated to assure that there’s end-to-end connectivity of each a part of internet work because the utility of the internet is that any device can communicate with the each other; a bit like you would like to be ready to make phone calls to the other telephone within the world.

There’s nothing like this that has ever been built before. The thought that what you recognize could be useful to somebody else or the other way around may be a very powerful motivator for sharing information. By the way that is how science gets done, people share information.

So this is often a chance for people to think of new applications, maybe program them as apps on a mobile , maybe become a part of the continued growth of the infrastructure of the network to bring it to people that do not have access thereto yet; or simply make use of it on a day-to-day basis. You cannot shake contact with the web so why not get to understand it and use it.

How does the internet work?

Internet is a complex network of networks where every device is connected with each other with the help of different communication media. The data center which can be thousands of miles away from us has our video stored inside it. How does this data reach our mobile phone or a laptop? An easy way to achieve this goal would be with use of satellites. From the data center, a signal could be sent to the satellite via an antenna, and then from the satellite a signal could be sent to our mobile phone via another antenna near to us.

However, this way of transmitting signals is not a good idea. Let’s see why? The satellite is parked nearly 22,000 miles above the earth’s equator, so in order for the data transmission to be successful, the data would have to travel a total distance of 44,000 miles. Such a long distance of travel causes a significant delay in receiving the signal which creates problem in transmission of data. More specifically it causes huge latency which is unacceptable for most internet applications so if this video does not reach us via a satellite then how does it actually get to us?

Well it is done with the help of a complicated network of optical fiber cables, which connect between the data center and our device. Our phone could be connected to the internet via cellular data or any Wi-Fi router, but ultimately at some point our phone will be connected to this network of optical fiber cables. To be more specific, it is stored in a solid-state device within the data center. This SSD acts as the internal memory of a server.

What is the Server?

The server is simply a powerful computer whose job is to provide us the video or other stored content when we request it. Now the challenge is how to transfer the data stored in the data center specifically to our device via the complex network of optical fiber cables. Let’s see how this is done.

What is an IP Address?

Before proceeding further, we should first understand an important concept of an IP address. Every device that is connected to the Internet whether it is a server a computer or a mobile phone is identified uniquely by a string of numbers known as an IP address. We can consider the IP address similar to our home address that is the address, which uniquely identifies our home. Any letter sent to us reaches us precisely because of our home address.

Similarly in the internet world, an IP address acts as a shipping address through which all information reaches its destination accurately. Our internet service provider will decide the IP address of our device and we are able to see what IP address our ISP has given to our mobile phone or laptop. The server in the data center also has an IP address. The server stores a website so we can access any website just by knowing the server’s IP address.

What is Domain Name?

It is difficult for a person to remember so many IP addresses. So to solve this problem a unique name is assigned to particular IP address which is called domain name. Domain names like youtube.com, facebook.com etc. are used which correspond to IP addresses which are easier to remember than the long sequence of numbers. Another thing to notice here is that a server has the capability of storing several websites and if the server consists of multiple websites all the websites cannot be accessed with the server’s IP address.

In such cases additional pieces of information, host headers are used to uniquely identify the website. However, for the giant websites like Facebook.com or YouTube.com the entire data center infrastructure will be dedicated to the storage of the particular website. To access the information on the internet we always use domain names instead of the complex IP address numbers.

What is Domain Name System (DNS)?

The DNS is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for different nodes of a network of computers and other which helps to find the data stored on the internet with ease. Do you know, from where does the internet get IP addresses corresponding to our domain name requests? DNS is like a huge phone book. If we know a person’s name, but don’t know their mobile number we can simply look it up in a phone book. The DNS server provides the same service to the internet. Our internet service provider or other organizations can manage the DNS server.

Let’s have a recap of the whole operation. We enter the domain name; the browser sends a request to the DNS server to get the corresponding IP address. After getting the IP address, our browser simply forwards the request to the data center, more specifically to the respective server. Once the server gets a request to access a particular website the data flow starts. The data is transferred in digital format via optical fiber cables, more specifically in the form of light pulses. Sometimes these light pulses have to travel thousands of miles via the optical fiber cable to reach their destination.

During their journey they often have to go through tough terrains such as hilly areas or under the sea. There are a few global companies who lay and maintain these optical cable networks to provide internet to different locations. These companies lay optical fiber cables in the depth of sea with the help of a ship. A plow is dropped deep into the sea from the ship, and this plow creates a trench on the seabed and to which places the optical fiber cable. This is wonder to know that this complex optical cable network is the backbone of the Internet.

These optical fiber cables carrying the light are stretched across the seabed to our doorstep where they are connected to a router. The router converts these light signals to electrical signals. An Ethernet cable is then used to transmit the electrical signals to our laptop.

However if we are accessing the Internet using cellular data, from the optical cable the signal has to be sent to a cell tower and from the cell tower the signal reaches our cell phone in the form of electromagnetic waves.

What is ICANN?

Since the Internet is a global network it has become important to have an organization to manage things like IP address assignment, domain name registration etc. This is all managed by an institution called Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.

These services were originally performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities. One amazing thing about the internet is its efficiency in transmitting data when compared with cellular and landline communication technologies.

Read this article : What is Telecommunication Technology?
Know the Developer

The video we watch on the YouTube is transmitted from Google Data Center to our phone/computer in the form of a huge collection of 0s and 1s. What makes the data transfer in the internet efficient is the way in which these 0s and 1s are chopped up into small chunks known as packets and transmitted.

Let’s assume these streams of 0s and 1s are divided into different packets by the server where each packet consists of 6 bits. Along with the bits of the video each packet also consists of the sequence number and the IP addresses of the server and our phone.

With this information the packets are routed towards our phone. It is not necessary that all packets are routed through the same path and each packet independently takes the best route available at that time. Upon reaching our phone the packets are reassembled according to their sequence number. If it is the case that any packets fail to reach our phone and acknowledgement is sent from our phone to resend the lost packets.

What is internet protocol?

Now compare this with a postal network with a good infrastructure, but the people do not follow the basic rules regarding the destination addresses. In this case letters won’t be able to reach the correct destination. Similarly in the internet we use something called protocols for the management of this complex flow of data packets. The Internet Protocol is the rules and regulation that governs the transmission of data over different communication media.


Internet is largest group of interconnected computers and other different devices that enables communication between them. We know internet as the ocean of information and we can get anything just with a click. It makes the communication easier than earlier. Internet is not owned by an individual; somehow we all are the part of this global network. To provide reliable, seamless connectivity different large organization like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, ICANN, etc. are playing vital role.