What is the Internet and how does it work for kids?
January 17, 2023
What exactly is the Internet?
Simply put, the internet is a global network of interconnected computer networks. Data can be transferred between computers/devices connected to these networks. This data exchange is only possible because all computers on the network follow the same set of rules known as the Internet Protocol (IP).
How does this Global Network known as the Internet function?
Whether it’s a Google search for your favourite movie or an email to a friend, when you use the internet, you’re essentially sending a message from one device to another. As a result, when you use the internet, you are sending and receiving messages (requests) to and from other computers and devices on the network.
Data Transfer over the Internet
Clients are the computers and devices that we use, while servers are the computers that websites like Google or Facebook use. The websites we visit are all files on the hard drives of the servers. These files are not accessed directly by our devices. When we visit google.com, for example, our client device routes our requests to Google servers through our internet service providers (ISPs). Our ISPs also deliver the results to us. As a result, if our connection to our ISPs is terminated, we will be unable to access the internet.
Furthermore, these messages and requests are not sent or received in their entirety. When you use the internet, your message is divided into “packets” that travel through the network to their destination. When the packets arrive at their destination, they are reassembled in the original order. Consider a packet to be a chunk of your message or query. Or as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that must be completed at the destination. If the packets are not assembled in the correct order and at the correct time, the result is distorted content. For example, when a video lags or a web page fails to load properly.
So, who owns the Internet?
The majority of data exchanged on the internet passes through internet exchange platforms. These platforms cater to a wide range of organisations, including internet service providers, social media, universities, businesses, publishers, and telecom providers, among others. These organisations can achieve faster information exchange at lower costs by utilising an internet exchange platform. So, basically, the internet works because several organisations all over the world have agreed to share and exchange data using the same set of rules. As a result, no single organisation owns the internet.
Your teacher decides to give everyone free time in the computer lab at school to play games. The most popular game is ‘Monster Taco Truck,’ which your classmates can access by entering their email addresses. When you look around, you notice that everyone is playing the game, bumping into each other and competing to deliver the most virtual tacos. Do you ever wonder how everyone in the class can play this game at the same time? Or how come home from school, log in to the same game, and have the same user experience? All of this is possible because of the internet.
The internet is a network in and of itself. A network is a collection of computers that are linked together to transfer data from one location to another. These connections span the globe in a variety of ways. Wireless radio connections, copper cables, fiber-optic cables, and satellite links are all used to transfer data from one computer to another.
The internet requires hardware to function. This hardware can include a wide range of items, including cables, computers, smartphones, central processing units, and hard drives, to name a few. Hardware also serves as the communication line’s termination point.