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Internet workings

Previous tutorials are listed in the left column.

How does the internet work?

First let me say that the internet and the World Wide Web (www) are two different things. The internet is a network of networks. Example: in your home you have three computers all connected to a router. Your network may consist of a printer and or a fax machine and so on. The internet has the same kind of networking but it may have many computer connected to a server instead of a router. Thousands of these servers or small networks connect to each other creating a very large network of smaller networks. Information travels over the internet via languages called protocols. http: (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is one of many languages used on the internet. Developed by W3C school http is what browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera just to name the top five browsers need to transfer data from a server to a computer or from computer to computer. The World Wide Web is all the information that travels over the internet, such as web pages, pictures, email, downloads, faxes and any other information sent over the internet.

TCP/IP Transport Protocol/ Internet Protocol is a sub protocol of http, which means that when you type http into the web address of your browser then the tcp/ip protocol is used. The ip internet protocol is also called ip address which is a number given to every computer, server, fax machine and so on. Example: this ip address is like a phone number on the phone network. Every phone in the world has its own phone number, the ip address for computer networks are the same. Example: when you send your friend an email. You write the email and click on send. Your computer goes to DNS server (Domain Name server) and requests the ip address of the person you are sending your email too. Say you are sending an email to my friend at aol. You computer goes to the DNS server and says ha I need the ip address for my friend at aol ,the DNS server looks up the ip address and then replies to your computer ok ip address is Then your computer sends the data from your email to this ip address and your friends receives it.

When you type in www.larryscomputerclasses.com the same thing happens. Your computer requests the ip address of my web page from the DNS server and received the ip address. Then your computer sends your request to the ip address and the host server (host server is a server that stores web pages) will send the data back to your computer and the browser translates the data and you can then view my webpage. If you go to a web page and click on down load this files TCP/IP will take the file and break it down into small packets(small sections of data). also see Then the packets are sent to your ip address or your computer. The advantage of these small packets is they can be sent in different directions on different networks. If a network is suddenly very busy the packets can be redirected through a different network avoiding a delay waiting for the busy network to clear. Data can be sent in any direction on any network because all the packets have your ip address attached to them so all the packets will end up at your computer. When all the packets are received by your computer via a temporary file, then your computer will install the file. Another function of TCP/IP is when downloading a file it will send a small packet at first then when your computer receives it, it will send another packet but a little bigger. Then your computer say ok I received that one ok the server will send a larger packet, and so on. This is to speed up downloads; as long as your computer is receiving the data correctly the packets will continue to get larger until all data packets are received. If for some reason a packet is not received correctly the server will start over sending a small packet again and getting larger until all data is downloaded.


For other articles also see previous tutorials.