The Internet is the global system of interconnected mainframe, personal, and wireless computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, Usenet newsgroups, telephony, and peer-to-peer networks for file sharing.
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 The interconnection of regional academic networks in the 1980s marks the beginning of the transition to the modern Internet. From the late 1980s onward, the network experienced sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional, personal, and mobile computers were connected to it.
Most traditional communications media, including telephony and television, are being reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as Internet telephony and Internet television. Newspaper, book, and other print publishing are adapting to website technology, or are reshaped into blogging and web feeds. The entertainment industry was initially the fastest growing segment on the Internet. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of personal interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has grown exponentially both for major retailers and small artisans and traders. Business-to-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.
The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System (DNS), are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols are an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.
The term Internet, when used to refer to the specific global system of interconnected Internet Protocol (IP) networks, is a proper noun and may be written with an initial capital letter. In common use and the media, it is often not capitalized, viz. the internet.Some guides specify that the word should be capitalized when used as a noun, but not capitalized when used as an adjective.
The Internet is also often referred to as the Net, as a short form of network.
Historically, as early as 1849, the word internetted was used uncapitalized as an adjective, meaning Interconnected or interwoven.The designers of early computer networks used internet both as a noun and as a verb in shorthand form of internetwork or internetworking, meaning interconnecting computer networks.
Research into packet switching started in the early 1960s and packet switched networks such as Mark I at NPL in the UK, ARPANET, CYCLADES, Merit Network,Tymnet, and Telenet, were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of protocols. The ARPANET in particular led to the development of protocols forinternetworking, where multiple separate networks could be...