Today, in our fast moving life, speed is the key word for everything and Internet has added flavour to it by providing innumerable pages of information just by a click on the mouse. Internet has indeed become information superhighway in reality. Business driven on the Internet has gone ahead of traditional way of conducting business. Education has become easily dispensable on the net. Knowledge sharing, interaction, sending and receiving larger documents in a second, all these have made Internet inherent part of our modern life. Yet, this is not the end of it. Time ahead can answer where the research and development will end for Internet and what more it can offer us. Let us look at it little closely as what exactly internet is, and what it has got to offer us.
What is Internet?
Internet is the network of interconnected computers throughout the world that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP). It is a "network of networks" that consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, government network of computers and is accessible by all. Internet provides various information and services such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked Web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.
Internet and World Wide Web (WWW)
Many a times, Internet and the World Wide Web are mistaken as one. The Internet is a collection of interconnected computer networks, linked by copper wires, fiber-optic cables, wireless connections; the Web is a collection of interconnected documents, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. The World Wide Web is accessible via the Internet and services available through it includes e-mail, file sharing, and VoIP
Internet can be accessed through dial-up, landline broadband (over coaxial cable, fibre optic or copper wires), Wi-Fi, satellite, and cell phones.
Wi-Fi has been the recent invention in the Internet access technology. Wi-Fi provides wireless access to computer networks. Hotspots providing such access include Wi-Fi-cafes. A future user needs to bring wireless-enabled devices such as a laptop 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. The whole campus or park, or even the entire city can be enabled. Commercial WiFi services covering large city areas are in place in some of the selected city in the world. The Internet can be accessed from such places on a park bench.
Apart from Wi-Fi, there have been experiments with proprietary mobile wireless networks like Ricochet, various high-speed data services over cellular phone networks, and fixed wireless services.
High-end mobile phones such as smartphones generally come with Internet access through the phone network. Web browsers such as Opera are available on these advanced handsets, which can also run a wide variety of other Internet software.
The Internet allows computer users to connect to other computers, access information and stores easily, wherever they may be across the world. They may do this with or without the use of security, authentication and encryption technologies, depending on the requirements.
An office worker away from his desk, perhaps the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can open a remote desktop session into his normal office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection via the Internet. This gives him complete access to all his normal files and data, including e-mail and other applications, while he is away.
The Internet is facilitated by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts, and by technical specifications or protocols that describes how to exchange data over the network. Moreover, todayâ€™s Internet is defined by its interconnections and routing policies.
As on June 30th, 2006, over 1.04 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats
IP (Internet Protocol) is the lowest level protocol, which defines the data packets that carry blocks of data from one node to another.
Next come TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) - the protocols by which one host sends data to another.
The IP makes a virtual 'connection', which gives some level of guarantee of reliability. The TCP is a connectionless transport, in which data packets that are lost in transit will not be re-sent.
The third and the top is Application protocol. This defines the specific messages and data formats sent and understood by the applications running at each end of the communication.
ISP (Internet Service Provider)
ISP is short for Internet Service Provider. ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet for a monthly fee. The service provider gives a software package, username, password and access phone number equipped with a modem. You can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and send and receive e-mail.
In addition to serving individuals, ISPs also serve large companies, providing a direct connection from the company's networks to the Internet. ISPs themselves are connected to one another through Network Access Points (NAPs). ISPs are also called IAPs (Internet Access Providers).
VoIP stands for Voice over IP. IP refers to the Internet Protocol that reflects in all internet communication. This phenomenon began as an optional two-way voice extension to some of the Instant Messaging systems that took off around the year 2000. In recent years many VoIP systems have become as easy to use and as convenient as a normal telephone. The benefit is that, as the Internet carries the actual voice traffic, VoIP can be free or cost much less than a normal telephone call, especially over long distances and especially for those with always-on ADSL or DSL Internet connections.
Clients and Servers
Internet servers make the Internet possible. All of the machines on the Internet are either servers or clients. The machines that provide services to other machines are servers. And the machines that are used to connect to those services are clients. There are Web servers, e-mail servers, FTP servers and so many other servers catering the needs of Internet users all over the world.