What Is the Internet?

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What Is the Internet?

Post  adnanbahrian on Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:23 am

What Is the Internet?

It seems like everyone's talking about the Internet these days. But
what is it really? How does it work? How do you access it? And most important,
what can it do for you at work or at home?
Fortunately, accessing and using the Internet is fairly simple. Let this
tutorial be your guide to the Internet as you connect for the first time and
explore the network's vast and useful resources.

How Does the Internet
Work?



The Internet is a worldwide collection of computer networks,
cooperating with each other to exchange data using a common software standard.
Through telephone wires and satellite links, Internet users can share
information in a variety of forms. The size, scope and design of the Internet
allows users to:

  • connect easily through ordinary personal computers and local phone numbers;
  • exchange electronic mail (E-mail) with friends and colleagues with accounts
    on the Internet;
  • post information for others to access, and update it frequently;
  • access multimedia information that includes sound, photographic images and
    even video; and
  • access diverse perspectives from around the world.





The History of the
Internet



Many people think that the Internet is a recent innovation, when in
fact the essence of it has been around for over a quarter century. The Internet
began as ARPAnet, a U.S. Department of Defense project to create a nationwide
computer network that would continue to function even if a large portion of it
were destroyed in a nuclear war or natural disaster.
During the next two decades, the network that evolved was used primarily by
academic institutions, scientists and the government for research and
communications. The appeal of the Internet to these bodies was obvious, as it
allowed disparate institutions to connect to each others' computing systems and
databases, as well as share data via E-mail.
The nature of the Internet changed abruptly in 1992, when the U.S.
government began pulling out of network management, and commercial entities
offered Internet access to the general public for the first time. This change
in focus marked the beginning of the Internet's astonishing expansion.
According to a survey conducted by CommerceNet and Nielsen Media Research in
early 1997, nearly one out of every four Americans over the age of 16 is an
Internet user. And the number of users worldwide is believed to be well into
the tens of millions. Other statistics are equally startling:

  • A CNN report stated that Internet traffic in 1996 was 25 times what it was
    just two years earlier.
  • The market research group IntelliQuest pegged the number of Internet users
    in the U.S. in late 1996 at 47 million - a 34 percent increase over the first
    quarter of that year.
  • According to IBM, 146 countries currently have at least some level of
    Internet access.
  • The technology research firm IDG estimates that by century's end, one
    billion people worldwide will have access to personal
    computers—more than doubling the computer-savvy population of 1996.

The Internet explosion coincides with the advent of increasingly powerful
yet reasonably priced personal computers with easy-to-use graphical operating
systems. The result has been an attraction of recent computer
"converts" to the network, and new possibilities for exploiting a
wealth of multimedia
capabilities.






What Kinds of
Information are Available?



In addition to text documents, the Internet makes available graphics
files (digitized photographs and artwork), and even files
that contain digitized sound and video. Through the Internet, you can download
software, participate in interactive forums where users post and respond to
public messages, and even join "chats," in which you and other users
type (and, in some cases, speak) messages that are received by the chat
participants instantly.




How Do People Use
the Internet?



Obviously, the Internet can bring you a whole host of capabilities. But
how can they be put to practical use?
Among the ways that users like yourself are taking advantage of the Internet
are:

  • Sharing research and business data among colleagues and like-minded
    individuals.
  • Communicating with others and transmitting files via E-mail.
  • Requesting and providing assistance with problems and questions.
  • Marketing and publicizing products and services.
  • Gathering valuable feedback and suggestions from customers and business
    partners.

The Internet's potential is limited only by users' vision and creativity.
And as the Internet grows, new and innovative uses will surely follow.
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