Yellow Jacket
Blue Ridge High School
Yellow Jacket
Home > Web Design > Lessons > Introduction to the Internet

The Internet originated in 1965 with the military linking computers together to share information. In 1985, universities began seeking a way for researchers from different institutions and corporations to share data and documents. Computers were interconnected at each of the universities. All the universities were then connected together, forming a network of interconnected computers. The literal definition of the word Internet is simply a network of interconnected computers.

I believe that it is best to use an analogy to truly understand how the Internet works. Imagine that you live in a large city that uses toll roads to get from one city to another. Now, what if you own a a very small two-door vehicle and are asked to transport about 20 of your relatives from a house in another city to your own home for a family reunion. You must first begin traveling on your neighborhood street. You must pay a homeowner's association each month to maintain the neighborhood streets. Without paying them, you would not have a road to leave your house. You then turn onto a more busy street maintained by the city, which leads to the highway. The state you live in is responsible for maintaining the highway. Once on the highway you have cars exiting and entering from other streets. You know where to go because of the great highway and street signs on the roads. When you arrive your relative's home, you realize that you can't safely fit everyone into your car. You could attempt to cram 20 people inside and on the outside of your car, but you could lose some people along the way. You decide to only transport a few people at a time, ensuring that everyone arrives safely. That is my strange way of describing how the Internet works. Let's use more technical terms. Here is an illustration from the site howthingswork.com:

How the internet works

Your computer is like the home. You use a telephone or cable line (a.k.a. your neighborhood street) to connect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) computer, which is usually referred to as a server (you pay your ISP to connect to their server, just like your homeowner's association). Your ISP serves as the point of presence (POP) and connects to a Network Access Point (NAP) via a T3 line (a.k.a., your city street). The NAP (your city) connects you to the backbone of the Internet (a.k.a., highway) where data is being transmitted worldwide. When data (a.k.a., your relatives) is transmitted, it is done so in chunks of information. Once you have all the chunks of data, you can view the information (a.k.a., have a family reuninion).