To understand how the Internet works, we must first understand what a network is because the internet is a NETWORK.
A network is a group of interconnected devices, that are connected to transfer information from place to place. A computer network is much like a social circle, which is a group of people who all know each other, regularly exchange information, and coordinate activities together.
Any device that is connected to a network is known as a “node.” Most modern networks contain the following nodes: Network Adapters, switches, routers etc.
Network Interface Cards / Network Adapters: Is hardware that’s installed in computers, such as your laptop or PC. Though not a node themselves, they allow computers and electronic devices to join a network as a node
Switches: connect devices that share a single network. They use packet switching to forward packets to the correct devices. They also receive outbound packets from those devices and pass them along to the right destination. You can think of them as the managers of the network, maintaining the flow of information between the devices in a network, whether wireless or wired.
Router: forward packets to different computer networks based on their destination. Routers are like the traffic cops of the Internet, making sure that Internet traffic goes to the right networks.
Because the Internet is a global network of computers each computer connected to the Internet must have a unique address. Internet addresses are in the form nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn where nnn must be a number from 0 – 255. This address is known as an IP address (just like a home address every server has a unique address called an IP address, it allows a system to be recognized by other systems connected via internet protocols).
Using the description below let’s see how the internet works:
The Internet is a network that connects millions of computers worldwide. To send an email, you will first of all, get a computer or mobile device that is connected to the internet and make sure the receiver does the same. Once the connection is established, you will visit a website, using a browser to log in to your email account, and then type in your message, by clicking the sent button boom! It’s done. Yes! It sounds so easy and simple right it is more than just typing and sending. It is more complex than we see at a glance.
What happened behind the scene? You didn’t see letters and text flying in the air, how did your friend have the message?
When you send an email to someone, the message breaks up into packets that travel across the network with the help of an essentials device called a “Router”. With the help of an internet protocol or IP So when the router receives the packets it reads the IP address on it and sent it to the correct path to reach its destination by following certain rules. Different packets from the same message don’t have to follow the same path. That’s part of what makes the Internet so robust and fast. Packets will travel from one machine to another until they reach their destination.
As the packets arrive the computer receiving the data assembles the packet like a puzzle recreating the messages into a complete form (email) as the it was sent from you.