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What is the Internet?

Alternatively referred to as the net or web, the Internet (interconnected network) was initially developed to aid in the progress of computing technology by linking academic computer centers. The Internet we use today started being developed in the late 1960s with the start of ARPANET and transmitted its first message on Friday, October 29, 1969. In 1993, the Internet experienced one of its largest growths to date and today is accessible by people all over the world.Tip

See our Internet history section for full information about the development and creation of the Internet.

The Internet contains billions of web pages created by people and companies from around the world, making it a limitless place to locate information and entertainment. The Internet also has thousands of services that help make life more convenient. For example, many financial institutions offer online banking that enables a user to manage and view their account from different locations. The picture is a representation and map of the Internet done by The Opte Project.

  • Internet basics
  • Why do people use the Internet?
  • Internet services
  • Why is the Internet considered a network?
  • Related pages

Internet basics

  • The Internet and the WWW are not the same.
  • The Internet is explored using a browser and the act of browsing the Internet is commonly referred to like surfing.
  • Users browse websites and web pages by following hyperlinks that point to an address more commonly referred to as a URL.
  • Finding information on the Internet is achieved by using a search engine.
  • Files, pictures, songs, and videos can be shared by downloading (receiving) and uploading (sending).
  • The Internet utilizes the TCP/IP protocol and is accessed using a computer modem, broadband, 3G, 4G, or network that is connected through an ISP.
  • With broadband, many computers and devices use Wi-Fi to connect to a router and share an Internet connection.
  • The computer you’re using to view this web page is considered a host and it’s connected to our server to view this page.
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Internet services

In addition to browsing the Internet with a browser, the Internet has other services that can also be used.

  • Chat
  • E-mail
  • Forum
  • FTP
  • IM
  • Online gaming
  • Social network
  • VoIP
  • WWW

Why do people use the Internet?

Today, the Internet is the best place to communicate and share information with people from anywhere on the glove. It also supplies an endless supply of knowledge and entertainment. See the links below for a more comprehensive breakdown of what can be done on the Internet.

  • What are the advantages of the Internet?
  • What are the disadvantages of the Internet?
  • What things to do when bored on the Internet.

Why is the Internet considered a network?

The Internet is the world’s largest network because it’s a collection of computers and servers that are connected to each other globally using routers and switches. The Internet works the same way a network would in a home or office but has millions of more computers, routers, and switches.

The Internet is a global wide area network that connects computer systems across the world. It includes several high-bandwidth data lines that comprise the Internet “backbone.” These lines are connected to major Internet hubs that distribute data to other locations, such as web servers and ISPs.

In order to connect to the Internet, you must have access to an Internet service provider (ISP), which acts as the middleman between you and the Internet. Most ISPs offer broadband Internet access via a cable, DSL, or fiber connection. When you connect to the Internet using a public Wi-Fi signal, the Wi-Fi router is still connected to an ISP that provides Internet access. Even cellular data towers must connect to an Internet service provider to provide connected devices with access to the Internet.

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The Internet provides different online services. Some examples include:

  • Web – a collection of billions of webpages that you can view with a web browser
  • Email – the most common method of sending and receiving messages online
  • Social media – websites and apps that allow people to share comments, photos, and videos
  • Online gaming – games that allow people to play with and against each other over the Internet
  • Software updates – operating system and application updates can typically be downloaded from the Internet

In the early days of the Internet, most people connected to the Internet using a home computer and a dial-up modem. DSL and cable modems eventually provided users with “always-on” connections. Now mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, make it possible for people to be connected to the Internet at all times. The Internet of Things has turned common appliances and home systems into “smart” devices that can be monitored and controlled over the Internet. As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, you can expect it to become an even more integral part of daily life.

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