Internet called "the mother of all networks", or simply "the Net," is an
international network connecting approximately 140,000 smaller networks in more
than 200 countries. Educational, commercial, nonprofit, government, and military entities
form these networks. Each of the small
independent networks on the Internet makes its own decision
about what resources to make available on the Internet. There is no
single authority that controls the Net overall.
Try as you may, you cannot imagine how much data is available on the Internet.
Besides e-mail, chat rooms, message boards, games, and free software, there are
thousands of databases containing information of all sorts.
The Internet is growing faster than all other technologies that have preceded
it. Radio existed for 38 years before it had 50 million listeners, and
television took 13 years to reach that number of viewers. In 1994, only 3
million people were connected to the Internet. By the end of 1997, more than 100
million were using it. The number of personal computers hooked up to the
Internet is expected to triple to 268 million by 2001.
To connect with the Internet, you need a computer, modem and telephone line (or
other network connection), and appropriate communications software.
Created by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1969 (under the name ARPA Net ARPA was the department's Advanced Research Project Agency), the
Internet was built to serve two purposes. The first was to share research among
military, industry, and university sources. The second (a justification actually
developed later) was to provide a diversified system for sustaining
communication among military units in the event of nuclear attack. Thus, the
system was designed to allow many routes among many computers, so that a message
could arrive at its destination by many possible ways, not just a single path.
This original network system was largely based on the UNIX operating system.
With the many different kinds of computers being connected, engineers had to
find a way for the computers to speak the same language. The solution developed
was TCP/IP, the standard since 1983 and the heart of the Internet. TCP/IP, for
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, ,'S the standardized set of
computer guidelines (protocols) that allow (different computers on different
networks to communicate with each other efficiently. The effect is to make the
Internet appear to the user to operate as a single network.
||for commercial organizations
||for education and research organizations
||for certain types of businesses
||for governmental organizations
||for distributors of information
||for military organizations
||for gateway or host networks
||for individual users
||for nonprofit or miscellaneous organizations
||for groups involved in recreational
||for businesses related to the Web
a. Connecting to The Internet:
There are two ways to connect your computer with the Internet:
i. Through College or Work:
Universities, colleges, and most large businesses have high-speed phone lines
that provide a direct connection to the Internet, This type of connection is
known as dedicated access. Dedicated access means a communication line is used
that is designed for one purpose.
If you're a student, this may be the best deal because the connection is free
or low cost. However, if you live off-campus and want to get this Internet
connection from home, you probably won't be able to do so. To use a direct
connection, your microcomputer must have TCP/IP software and be connected to the
local network that has the direct-line connection to the Net.
ii. Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
(ISPs) are local or national companies that will provide public access to the
Internet (and World Wide Web) for a flat monthly
fee. Essentially an ISP is a small network connected to the high speed
communications links that make up the Internet's backbone, the major
supercomputer sites and educational and research foundations throughout the
Once you have contacted an ISP and paid the required fee, the ISP will
provide you with information about phone numbers for a server owned by the ISP.
The ISP also provides software for setting up your computer and modem to dial
into their network of servers, which involves acquiring a user name ("user ID")
and a password. After this, you can use a browser, such as Netscape Navigator or
Microsoft Explorer, to find your way around the World Wide Web, the graphical
part of the Internet.