The Internet Infrastucture and How It Works

Internet InfrastructureThe Internet is a global collection of networks that connect together in many different ways.  The greatest quality of the Internet is that  NO ONE owns the Internet.  Groups like The Internet Society, a non profit group established in 1992 that oversees the formation of the policies and protocols that define how we use and interact on the Internet, may monitor the Internet but it is there for everyone that has the ability to access it to use it.

Every computer that is connected to the Internet is part of a network.   At work, you may be part of a local area network (LAN), but you most likely still connect to the Internet using an ISP that your company has contracted with. When you connect to your ISP, you become part of their network. The ISP may then connect to a larger network and become part of their network. The Internet is simply a network of networks.

Most large communications companies have their own dedicated backbones connecting various regions. In each region, the company has a Point of Presence (POP). The POP is a place for local users to access the company’s network, often through a local phone number or dedicated line. The amazing thing here is that there is no overall controlling network. Instead, there are several high-level networks connecting to each other through Network Access Points (NAPs).

In the Internet, dozens of large Internet providers interconnect at NAPs in various cities, and trillions of bytes of data flow between the individual networks at these points. The Internet is a collection of huge corporate networks that agree to all intercommunicate with each other at the NAPs. In this way, every computer on the Internet connects to every other.

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