Details, Explanation and Meaning About Internet

Internet Guide, Meaning , Facts, Information and Description

This article is about the Internet, the extensive, worldwide computer network available to the public. An internet is a more general term for a set of interconnected computer networks that are connected by internetworking.

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The Internet is the publicly available worldwide system of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching over the Internet Protocol (IP). It is made up of thousands of other, smaller business, academic, and government networks that provide various information and services, such as by electronic mail, online chat, and on the graphical, interlinked World Wide Web. Because it is the largest, most extensive internet (with a small i) in the world, it is simply called the Internet (with a capital I).

Table of contents
1 Creation of the Internet
2 Today's Internet
3 Internet culture
4 Current and potential problems
5 Internet access
6 See also
7 External links

Creation of the Internet

Main article: History of the Internet

The core networks forming the Internet started out in 1969 as the ARPANET, created by the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Some early research which contributed to the ARPANET included work on decentralised networks, queueing theory, and packet switching. On January 1, 1983, the ARPANET changed its core networking protocols from NCP to TCP/IP, marking the start of the Internet as we know it today.

Another important step in the development was the National Science Foundation's (NSF) building of a university backbone, the NSFNet, in 1986. Important disparate networks that have successfully been accommodated within the Internet include Usenet and Bitnet.

During the 1990s, the Internet successfully accommodated the majority of previously existing computer networks (some networks such as Fidonet have remained separate). This growth is often attributed to the lack of central administration, which allows organic growth of the network, as well as the non-proprietary nature of the Internet protocols, which encourages vendor interoperability and prevents one company from exerting control over the network.

Today's Internet

, FTP, and Telnet]] The Internet is held together by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts (for example peering agreements) and by technical specifications or protocolss that describe how to exchange data over the network. These protocols are formed by discussion within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its working groups, which are open to public participation and review. These committees produce documents that are known as Request for Comments documents (RFCs). Some RFCs are raised to the status of Internet Standard by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

Some of the most used protocols in the Internet protocol suite are IP, TCP, UDP, DNS, PPP, SLIP, ICMP, POP3, IMAP, SMTP, HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, Telnet, FTP, LDAP, and SSL.

Some of the popular services on the Internet that make use of these protocols are e-mail, Usenet newsgroups, file sharing, the World Wide Web, Gopher, session access, WAIS, finger, IRC, MUDs, and MUSHs. Of these, e-mail and the World Wide Web are clearly the most used, and many other services are built upon them, such as mailing lists and web logs. The Internet makes it possible to provide real-time services such as web radio and webcasts that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Some other popular services of the Internet were not created this way, but were originally based on proprietary systems. These include IRC, ICQ, AIM, and Gnutella.

There have been many analyses of the Internet and its structure. For example, it has been determined that the Internet IP routing structure and hypertext links of the World Wide Web are examples of scale-free networks.

Similar to how the commercial Internet providers connect via Internet exchange points, research networks tend to interconnect into large subnetworks such as:

These in turn are built around relatively smaller networks. See also the list of .

Internet culture

The Internet is also having a profound impact on knowledge and worldviews. Through keyword-driven Internet research, using search engines, like Google, millions worldwide have easy, instant access to a vast amount and diversity of online information. Compared to encyclopedias and traditional libraries, the Internet represents a sudden and extreme decentralization of information and data.

The most used language for communications on the Internet is English, due to the Internet's origins, to the growing role of English as an international language, and to the poor capability of early computers to handle characters other than western alphabets.

The net has grown enough in recent years, though, that sufficient native-language content for a worthwhile experience is available in most developed countries. However, some glitches such as mojibake still remain.

With the Internet, people with the rarest of interests or conditions may communicate and collaborate through myriad methods, without the impediments of distance.

Current and potential problems

The Internet, along with its benefits, has a lot of negative publicity associated with it ranging from genuine concerns to tabloid scaremongering.

Child abuse

According to children's charities, the number of annual convictions for child pornography offences have increased by over 1000% since the Internet was first available to the public in the late 1980s. With the recent growth in Chat rooms and instant messaging services in the late 1990s, the potential for a new form of child abuse has emerged: so-called grooming. This involves a paedophile pretending to be a child in a chat room/instant message conversation, to gain the trust of a child before arranging to meet up.

Copyright infringement

Copyright infringement has also been the focus of much media attention, mainly through peer-to-peer filesharing software, but also through private members-only chatrooms, so-called warez sites (which openly offer illegal copies of software or the means to crack copy protection), or even the sale of counterfeit CDs, DVDs and software masquerading as legitimate product. Many ordinary Internet users are less concerned about the actual infringement itself but more about the effect on the Internet as a whole if tighter controls result from the infringement.


In the 1980s and early 1990s, when very few people had access to the Internet, viruses were not a huge problem. They did exist and did cause just as much damage to computers as modern viruses can today, but there was no fast-moving epidemic because there was no means for a virus to directly infect other computers. Before the Internet, the only way for a computer to be infected was through use of a removable disc that was itself infected. As a result, virus infections were mercifully rare.

All that changed with the widespread growth of the Internet. With near-universal Internet access among computer users in developed countries, and the proliferation of high-speed broadband Internet connections, a virus on one person's computer can infect thousands of other computers. In fact, much of the disruption from virus outbreaks is caused not by the payload of the virus (e.g. deleting hard drive, shutting down computer every five minutes), but by the Internet congestion caused by the virus spreading itself.

Security cracking

When computers were stand alone machines (or at most connected to a company's internal network), to steal data from a system an intruder had to physically steal it. The Internet means that data from an insecure site could be stolen by someone working two blocks from the site, or just as easily from another country.

A recent high-profile, high-cost example of this was when the entire source code for Half Life 2 was copied from the developer's computer systems by security crackers. The code was leaked on the Internet and the cleanup process (and bad publicity related to the unfinished game thousands of people had played) delayed the project significantly and probably cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue. The game was due for release in September 2003 before the attack. The game is set to come out on November 16 2004.

Dated technology

Very few people outside the technical community are aware of the future problems posed by the Internet's archaic technology. It was originally designed for a small number of research institutions to share research data, and was never intended for the multi-billion user behemoth the modern Internet has become.

One serious problem is that the IP address (a unique number assigned to each Internet user that functions much like a street address in the real world) will run out eventually. Despite an estimated world population of over six billion, there are only a little over four billion different IP address combinations possible under the current system — see IPv4 address exhaustion for more information. This also doesn't take into account the fact that there is not a 1:1 person to computer ratio in current computerised countries, where many people will have a desktop machine at home, a laptop machine for on the go, another desktop machine at work, and an e-mail mobile phone, all requiring their own IP address.

This could pose serious problems in the future as more and more nations expand their computer infrastructure (the vast majority of the world's population does not currently use the Internet, the so-called digital divide) and even now efforts are proceeding to find new ways of running the Internet. The new version of the Internet Protocol, IPv6, which expands the address space of the Internet, is one proposal for how to deal with some of the technical problems caused by the growth of the Internet.

Self-destructive subcultures

A recently recognized problem with the Internet arises from the fact that by promoting free speech and communications between geographically dispersed members of subcultures, the Internet enables such people to encourage each other in holding on to beliefs which may be considered deviant by society as a whole. With most subcultures, this is not a problem; indeed, the whole point of free speech is to encourage a diversity of ideas, many of which will seem strange. But as long as those ideas do not involve violence against other persons or the government, they are tolerated as harmless.

The problem is when the subculture at issue contains beliefs which promote highly self-destructive behaviors that are consistent with mental illness. There are Web sites that explicitly promote anorexia, apotemnophilia, necrophilia, and suicide as valuable and desirable.

Relatives of people who use such Web sites have lobbied Internet service providers to shut them down, but have encountered widespread indifference that is a direct consequence of the libertarian attitudes common in the computer industry.

This unique and troubling aspect of network-facilitated communications was not foreseen. Scientists, philosophers and journalists are still feeling their way around the edges of this problem; it raises difficult issues involving individual autonomy, health care policy, and the boundaries of free speech. The fundamental question comes down to: Should people be allowed to encourage each other to kill or maim themselves?

There will probably be more controversy in the future, as yet more self-destructive subcultures go online and are discovered by the general public.

Internet access

Common methods of home access include dial-up, landline broadband (over coaxial cable, fiber optic or copper wires) and satellite.

Public places to use the Internet include libraries and Internet cafes, where computers with Internet connections are available. There are also Internet access points in public places like airport halls, sometimes just for brief use while standing. Various terms are used, such as "public Internet kiosk", "public access terminal", "Web payphone".

Wi-Fi provides wireless access to the Internet. Hotspots providing such access include Wifi-cafes, where a would-be user needs to bring their own wireless-enabled devices such as a notebook or PDA. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based. A hotspot need not be limited to a confined location. Whole campuses and parks have been enabled, even an entire downtown area. Grassroots efforts have led to wireless community networks.

Apart from Wi-Fi, there have been experiments with proprietary mobile wireless networks like Ricochet, various high-speed data services over cellular or mobile phone networks, and fixed wireless services. These services have not enjoyed widespread success due to their high cost of deployment, which is passed on to users in high usage fees.

Broadband access over power lines was approved in 2004 in the United States in the face of stiff resistance from the amateur radio community. The problem with modulating a carrier signal over power lines is that a poorly insulated power line can act as a giant antenna and completely jam radio frequencies used by amateurs.

Countries where Internet access is a commodity used by a majority of the population include South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Canada and the United States (see also detailed US information). The use of the Internet around the world has been growing rapidly over the last decade, although the growth rate seems to have slowed somewhat after 2000. The phase of rapid growth is ending in industrialized countries, as usage becomes ubiquitous there, but the spread continues in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

The expansion of the availability of Internet access is a way to bridge the so-called digital divide.

See also

External links

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