How does the internet work?


Pretty sure I’m still going on Ted Stevens’ “series of tubes” metaphor.

In: Technology

A bunch of big companies interconnect all their computers.

Then they let you connect to them and tell your computer how to get to fred’s computer over on Amsterdam Street so you can buy that special brownie

The Internet is one big giant game of pass the parcel, really.

Your computer writes a message and puts it in a data packet, then it looks around to see if anyone knows how to get the packet where it needs to go. If nobody does, your computer sends the packet to the next higher level, and this process repeats until either there is no higher level, or it gets somewhere that knows where to send it. Then, it walks back down until it gets to the computer you wanted to reach.

A good analogy to understand the internet is by comparing it to mailing letters.

You send a letter to a place requesting content. Maybe you send a letter to Sears asking for a catalog of all they have on sale. Your letter is delivered by your internet service provider (ISP) instead of the postal service. It gets sent to Sear’s IP address instead of their street address. Instead of someone opening your letter, reading your request, and responding by sending a catalog back to you, Sear’s servers do all of that. They send your requested information to your IP address instead of your street address, in the form of a web page your browser knows how to read rather than a letter.

Before understanding how internet works, we have understand the concept of “network of
all networks”. In a LAN ( Local area network) there is a server and clients are connected to that. This makes a simple network. When many of the LANs combine they make WAN ( wide area network) which is of specific place. All the WANs in the world combine and form global network that is called internet. That is the most basic concept of internet.

Science behind working of internet:

1 – Communication: All the servers in networks are interconnected and any type of information that is stored on server, anyone connected to internet through the network can access to that information in the form of website. In other words, we upload information or any thing on server and any other person connected to internet can access that. That is how, internet become medium of communication.

2 – Transmission of information: All the information that we upload on internet, is transmitted to the server whom we are connected. Suppose ethernet cable is connected into our computer, or we are using wifi on mobile phone, we are in the status of being connected to the internet ( I have already mentioned that how internet is formed above). So, when we upload information, it goes in the form of electric signals or radiowaves through the wires to the server whom we are connected. In case of mobile phone wifi, it goes wirelessly to the server.

3 – Connectivity and source of internet: The source of internet is our ISP ( internet service provider that provides us the service of internet. It is a company that setups our connectivity with the internet and provide the service of internet. We use various devices such as modem, router to setup connectivity and virtual device such as gateway, ip address.


It’s all about main things. The working of internet is very complex. So, i only talked about main things to help understand.