The internet growth has become phenomenal that in anything one do, the internet is somewhat involved. So, it seems inevitable that one cannot escape this internet explosion.
In the midst of all these, one simple question that comes to the mind of an inquisitive being is, how do the internet works? In this article, we will be shedding light on this, though, it may not be in-depth but enough to quench the inquisitiveness and to present a simple understandable explanation on how one of the greatest invention of man, – the internet, works.
The internet is a collection of standalone computers all linked together in a sophisticated international network. The connections between these computers are linked by a series of cables like copper and fibre optic, wireless radio, and satellite links. The major function of all these assemblage is to move computerized information known as date from one point to another.
The internet moves these computerized information called data through packet switching. When you send information over the internet, for example if you send an email to someone in the United States, the information will be broken down into tiny pieces called packets. Each of these tiny pieces called packets travelled to the destination. These packets can travel separately but once they get to the destination, it re-assemble to form the earlier information sent.
The internet achieves this because of the hundreds of millions of computers that are inter-linked. It is worthy of note that, not all these computers do the same. Some are like electronic filing cabinets that hold information pending when they are required and then pass it on accordingly. These computers or machines are servers. There are many types of servers like mail servers, which hold emails and those that hold documents are called file server. Similarly, those that hold web pages are called web server. When your computer request information from a server over the internet, your computer is then called a client. And when two or more computers exchange information in a back and forth basis such that one assumes a server for a particular exchange and a client for another exchange, it is called a peer-to-peer (P2P) communication. For example, when you are involved in an instant messaging or chat with friends or family, you are basically taking part in a peer-to-peer communication.
Asides servers and clients, the internet uses some computers called routers to make connections between different systems within the network.
Equally important is that the internet uses protocols to control the back and forth movement of information because at any given time, millions of information are constantly being exchanged over the internet. These protocols are called Transmission Control Protocol / Internet protocol (TCP/IP). These protocols are the internet control system. The IP is the internet addressing system. All computers on the internet have a unique address known as the IP address. With these IP addresses, all computers know where to contact and connect with each other.
The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) sorts out how packets of data moves back and forth between one computer and the other, ensuring that every computer within the network get what it is due to get without any mistake.