When the computing era took a major leap in the 80s, it was all just about the operating systems and the programming languages. People were getting gaga over the heavy technology revolution thinking that this is the one thing that the world needed to get over the bounds of time and space, and as usual, they were wrong. It was not long after the computer revolution that a tide, a blizzard of communication, arrived. This technology now makes the computers look lifeless if they don’t have it. Connecting the corners of the cobwebbed world even from its remotest corner is the ‘Internet‘.
Fig. 1: Pictorial Presentation of Internet
Internet: What is Internet?
Not confining itself to any particular definition, the Internet can be defined as the wired or wireless mode of communication through which one can receive, transmit information that can be used for single or multiple operations.
History of Internet
This marvelous tool has quite a history that holds its roots in the cold war scenario. A need was realized to connect the top universities of the United States so that they can share all the research data without having too much of a time lag. This attempt was a result of Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which was formed at the end of 1950s just after the Russians had climbed the space era with the launch of Sputnik. After the ARPA got success in 1969, it didn’t take the experts long to understand that how much potential can this interconnection tool have. In 1971 Ray Tomlinson made a system to send electronic maill. This was a big step in the making as this opened gateways for remote computer accessing i.e. telnet.
During all this time, rigorous paper work was being done in all the elite research institutions. From giving every computer an address to setting out the rules, everything was getting penned down. 1973 saw the preparations for the vital TCP/IP and Ethernet services. At the end of 1970s, Usenet groups had surfaced up. By the time the 80s had started, IBM came up with its PC based on Intel 8088 processor which was widely used by students and universities for it solved the purpose of easy computing. By 1982, the Defence Agencies made the TCP/IP compulsory and the term “internet” was coined. The domain name services arrived in the year 1984 which is also the time around which various internet based marked their debut. As the internet was coming out of its incubation period which was almost two and a half decades long, the world saw the first glitch that was not at all a part of planned strategy. A worm, or a rust the computers, attacked in 1988 and disabled over 10% of the computer systems all over the world. While most of the researchers regarded it as an opportunity to enhance computing as it was still in its juvenile phase, quite a number of computer companies became interested in dissecting the cores of the malware which resulted to the formation Computer Emergency Rescue Team (CERT). Soon after the world got over with the computer worm, World Wide Web came into existence. Discovered by Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web was seen as a service to connect documents in websites using hyperlinks.
By the time the 90s arrived, the larvae had started coming out as more than 40million computers had been sold out, an antivirus had already been launched as well as the graphical user interface was quite in its evolution. “Archie”, the first internet search marked beginning of a new era in internet computing. Categorizing the websites was in its most dynamic phase as commercialized email websites were getting on day by day. It was during this time that the term “spam” was coined which referred to fake emails or hoaxes. Read more about email and email working. In 1992, internet browser called “Mosaic” came into existence. One of the very popular internet browsers, Netscape Navigator made its debut in 1994 which ultimately went to compete with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. By this time the domain name registration had started to get exponential and was made commercial. In short the Internet Explosion had started to occur.
Coming years saw the launch of giants such as Google, Yahoo as well as strengthening of ultimate revolution creators i.e. Microsoft, Google, IBM etc.
Just like the dynamic history, the present of the internet is quite vigorous too. Wherever the electronic world has progressed, internet has been accompanying it. In fact, major trends in electronic world are to support the latest internet demands. From large computers to ultra light laptops and now almost paper weighing tablets and mobiles, all inventions are credited to the internet for it has certainly created a databank as well as a service. The concept of hard disk drives is almost to a departure as cloud computing is on a role. Taking internet as the base, controlling various appliances such as television or the refrigerator is possible now. High speed internet services are available on mobile phones which fit into the palm of an average human. For efficient worldwide communication, high speed information highways are being set up by various governments and private information technology firms. Through video chats and conferences, the need to travel has reduced quite a lot and people from all spheres of their lives are reaping the best of the internet services.
Operating Systems, which were once considered to be the whole soul of the computer, are losing their vitality as internet browsers are getting more into the advancement period with doing the entire important job irrespective of the fact that which operating system they are actually installed upon. Also, cloud computing, another important concept in the technological era of data exchange is totally having internet as its base. When one has access to the internet, he can access all his data stored on the cloud server and save considerable amount in finances and storage.
No device is manufactured without keeping the internet necessity in mind. Technologies such as GPRS, EDGE, HSPDA, HSUPA, GPS have been made keeping internet the foundation.
As internet is the gateway for all sorts of information and there is no restriction on accessing it, it has been quite criticised for leaking sensitive information to the masses all over the world. Although there are internet regulatory committees in every country, putting a ban on specific kind of information is almost impossible as the dynamicity of the internet is quite high than the rate is checked.
Often a number of disagreements have been there between the internet service providers and governments of various nations. The most talked about is the conflict between internet giant Google inc. and the Government of People’s Republic of China. The government wanted to put strict implications on the search engine whereas the company didn’t want to keep its users deprived of any service they offered in any manner. Hence, within a few months of establishment, Google wrapped up its work in China and disinvested its Chinese project.
Also, it has been alleged that internet has been used as weapon by intelligence agencies of various countries to probe and spy into the sensitive matters of their enemy nations. Cyber war has been always in the on and off phase between various countries.
A linear increase in the cyber crimes has been reported since past one decade where illegal monetary transactions have been reported from various online banking accounts. Acquiring confidential data of various online services and modifying them without any permission is what we call hacking has created blunders. Sony’s PSN and FBI websites have incurred losses worth millions because of these mischievous activities.
A major concern that has come up with the internet is the psychological health of adolescents and the teenagers. Due to highly matured content easily available on the internet, they are exposed to unsuitable content quite a number of times which might result into unstable behaviour and reactions. Recent research reports that the adolescents who are exposed such content at a regular basis have a higher violence and physical attraction streak than those who are not that regular to internet surfing.
How does Internet works?
While the working of internet can get as complex as one can expect, making it similar to other day to day activities eases out the understanding process by quite a lot. Let us suppose that every house in our locality is equivalent to a device that uses internet, such as a smart phone or a tablet computer. The addresses that the houses have are just similar to the IP address, which is unique and unavailable for any other device all around the world. The posts and phone calls that arrive in the house are sources through which the world connects to the house and through the same medium the people in the houses communicate with the outside world. Writing down the mails or picking the phone instrument to make is quite similar to connecting to the internet or rather opening a web browser.
Fig. 2: Block Diagram Explainning Basic Internet Operation
To send and receive the posts or phone calls, exchange offices and post offices are there which are just similar to the servers that store all the data and make it dynamically available. The calls we make are first directed to the telephone exchange office that checks whether the number we have dialled is valid or not. It is quite similar to the protocols that are applied when user requests for data exchange. Just as the number of houses decide a place to be called as village, town, city or state; number of internet connected devices define an area to be categorized into LAN, MAN, WAN etc.
Fig. 3: Image of Google Search Engine Home Page
Interacting with various internet based services is fairly graphical interfaces which nowadays entertain the surfers with quality interactive multimedia content. The web pages are programmed in such a way so that the from highest quality videos to multi lingual texts, everything is available to the users.
Technical Details & Future
The Technical Way
Every device that connects to the internet needs an Internet Protocol address which is dynamically assigned by Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA). Every country has its own internet regulatory authority which synchronizes the IP address assignment with the IANA. For any internet device, the moment it connects to the internet, the Internet Service Provider or the ISP assigns an IP address which becomes the identity of the device and facilitated unrestricted data transfer from all over the world. You get the same IP address every time you connect from the same port. Apart from the devices, websites also have IP addresses which are decoded into meaningful words using the Domain Name System or the DNS. In fact the websites are opened by the IP address of the server, they are hosted on. Through DNS a website that has any random IP assigned, can get the desired name according to its business. Also, domain extensions such as .biz, .org, .me etc. are possible only because of the advanced DNS.
Whenever there is a web page opened, along with IP, other crucial protocols such as the HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) are also added up. HTTP classifies the content type while TCP makes sure that the information received is in the same state as it was sent. So, when you open a web page to access any information, you must know that adding to the internet are these two protocols which make sure that data sent to is of the expected type and is sent without any error.
Internet is one such tool or service that suddenly makes its way out of the papers and astonishes every one. It is the flow that drives various stock markets so that they can respond quickly; it is the technology that is responsible for generating trillion dollars every year with the revenue on an ever increasing streak. Websites, which are mere software applications, are earning a number of people their livelihood; it is the resource that makes companies establishes a wide market in a completely new area by just investing enough to establish an office and connect some high speed communication devices and an internet connection.
It is soon to be witnessed by the world that using LED lighting, high speed wireless internet services can be made available to various devices that access internet wirelessly. Converting usual LED into wireless LAN will be using visible light communication technology will enable high speed data transmission which will make possible transfer of HD movies in a more robust and efficient way.
With all these super technological developments that internet can provide, it is basically a few human thoughts of self conscience, belief and commitment that are going to shape the internet resources and their utilization.
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