How the Internet Works
Ever wondered how you're able to get Facebook or Youtube? How is it that you are able to chat online with your friends and family that live halfway across the world? There are many many different aspects of how the internet actually functions, but here's the most important ones:
The internet is like a system made up of two parts. Hardware and Protocols. Hardware-includes cables that carry terabytes (a thousand gigabytes) of information to computers. Other hardware include things that support the internet like routers, servers, cell towers, satellites, radio, smart phones, etc. These devices create a network of networks. There are elements that join and leave the network all over the world and are connections. Connections could be end points like computers, smart phones, and other devices.These end points are called Clients. Machines that store the information we need are called Servers. Another element is called a Node, which serves as a connection point along routes of internet traffic. Then, there are what’s called transmission lines which can be physical like cables and fiber optics or wireless like signals from satellites, cell phone/4G towers, and radios.
Protocols are what keeps the networks together. They are a set of rules that machines follow to complete tasks and transmit data. Without a common set of protocols that all machines connected to the internet must follow, communication between them would be impossible. Protocols provide the method and common language for machines to use. You have probably heard of protocols on the internet without even realizing it, like hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). This is what is used to view web sites through a browser. That’s what the “http” at the front of any web address is for. The two most important protocols are Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) and are often grouped together as TCP/IP.
Why do we need them?
-They establish rules for how information is passed through the internet.
-Without these rules, you would need a direct line to access information.
-Every computer would need to understand the same common language to be able to
Some other tech lingo you may have heard but not fully understood is an IP Address. Every machine connected to a network uses an IP address to be identified and to be found by others. In the TCP/IP protocol, the unique identifier for a computer is called its IP address. All computers on the internet use the TCP/IP protocol as a standard for communication on the network.
When you send a request or want information from another computer, the TCP/IP protocols are what make it possible to do so. The request goes out to the network, hitting Domain Name Servers (DNS) as it goes to find the target server. The DNS directs the request in the right direction. Then, the target server receives the request and can send a reply back to your computer. The data may take a different path on its way back to you. It’s because this data transfer is flexible that makes the internet such a powerful tool.
Although there are many more parts to making the internet work, we hope that this has been useful information for you!