Dr. Carlos Otero
Deconstructing the Web: How Internet Infrastructure Works
Fifty years ago nobody could ever have fathomed the ways in which our world are connected with each other in the year 2010. It is only in the last twenty to thirty years that the world has really become connected through one of the most life changing inventions ever: the internet. From humble beginnings connecting only a few computers to now connecting billions, the internet has changed the way in which people receive and send information to one another. Businesses can communicate with foreign offices, students now have an immense digital library of knowledge at their ...view middle of the document...
They take the information you are looking for break it down into more easily transferrable chunks and transmit them to your computer where they are pieced back together and displayed on your screen; a proverbial digital sandwich so to speak. In 1969 when the first network came about it only connected a lowly 4 computers but now in the 21st Century the numbers are in the billions.
Now even knowing how the internet came about the question as to how it all comes together and works is left to ponder. The answer isn’t all that simple but it does all start with your own personal computer which is referred to in the networking business as the “client.” The simplest way to describe the workings of the internet is to say that it is a series of networks connecting with other networks in order to retrieve and send information. When a computer wants to connect to the internet it must use a modem to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) which would be nothing more than the company you have your internet service through. After this occurs the ISP connects to yet another, larger network and so on and so forth until the internet is accessed and your information is retrieved and sent back to you through the same channels. Major companies tend to have larger networks such as Points of Presence (POPs) which have no overall controlling network but can be accessed by Network Access Points (NAPs). In order for people from one company such as Comcast to communicate with people from another company such as Charter, both companies agree to NAPs connecting their networks in certain locations that way everyone can communicate much more easily.
In order to keep these communications in line and not mixed up one must look to the core of the internet process: the router. The router is responsible for directing information from computer A to the right places and directing the returning information back to computer A instead of computer B. Routers take the different packets of information that are separated as they leave the computer and directing every single piece to the right location and back. Not an easy task and not humanly possible as even the US Mail tends to lose people’s mail from time to time. Along with the router, Internet Backbones also play a major role in the internet infrastructure. Backbones are simply a large gathering of fiber optic lines gathered into what is known as a trunk and are able to transport data at different speeds depending on the classification of the...