Posted on November 18, 2010 by Jingles | 5 Comments
Having worked for an ISP in sales I was amazed that our customers don’t know what the internet really is. They think that the internet is just the World Wide Web, probably because they only browse the ‘web’ and send/receive emails. Sometimes I feel like I am getting dumbed down. So this is a general public service announcement.
There is a great episode of The IT Crowd (season 3 episode 4) where Jen wins Employee of the month. In the episode Jen borrows the internet for her speech. Hilarity ensures. I imagine that there are some people that would really believe that.
The internet isn’t the WWW. The WWW is a service that runs over the internet like File Transfer Protocol (FTP), multi player games, BBS’s (back in the day), BitTorent, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), or e-mail.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected private and public computer networks, a network of networks. These networks are interconnected using the TCP/IP protocol. The networks are made up of millions of bits of equipment like PCs, hubs, switches, routers, servers, and physical cables and a wide range of topologies. The internet is a physical and tangible thing.
I think that because the internet isn’t something that isn’t easily or commonly seen it makes it harder for people to understand what the internet is. So what does the internet look like? The internet can be visualised in any number of ways from a map of the submarine cables that make up the back bone of the internet like the Submarine Cable Map produced by TeleGeography. To a map of linked IP addresses that make up a map of networks.
If you are really interested in the history of the internet I’d recommend watching the History of the Internet.
For a more indepth look at the history of the internet then I’d recommend reading Where Wizards Stay Up Late.