Let’s get right to it. You use the internet every single day of your life, but do you truly know how it works. Do you know where this article is, how it is stored, how you are able to access it, either on your cell phone in the middle of a mall, or at home to your ethernet cable? I’ll try to fill you in on how this works in the simplest terms imaginable, not because I don’t think you won’t understand, but because sometimes we don’t need the details, just give me the basics and that’s all I need… I’m here for you.
Here we go.
The internet as we know it today is just a network of computers storing and reading information. It really comes down to two major pieces, the hardware and the protocols. This includes computers, cables, and everything in between like routers and servers, satellites and smartphones… these are the backbone of the internet.
These hardware points are all connections, some of them are endpoints, like your smartphone. That is where the data winds up, and in technical terms, you are considered a client. The machines that store the information that the client is reading is called a server. These are massive banks of storage that house all of the information for all of the websites, and websites just buy storage space in these facilities for their website. There are also nodes, which act as connection points along a route of traffic. Then, of course, you have transmission lines which can be physical cables or wireless cellular signals.
None of these things would matter however without the second essential piece of the internet which are the protocols. A protocol is essentially how the internet is being transmitted and received. It is a set of rules, almost a rulebook that every device needs to follow in order to be able to decode and encode the internet from all of the various connection points. The protocol not only provides the method for computer communication, but also the language to transmit the data.
The internet has truly evolved, from a wired cable connection to companies like Skyroam that offer mobile WiFi hotspots that work anywhere you are in the world. As the internet evolves so does the protocol and as we build faster and smarter and more efficient machines, we are able to make the protocol more and more complex to account for our growing complexity of the Internet network.
It used to be that we would only connect our computers to the internet to watch videos and read email, now we connect everything from lightbulbs to toasters and everything in between. The internet will continue to evolve to meet its demand, it’s truly a service for the people!