The Internet

Many people confuse "The Internet" and "The World Wide Web," as if the two were the same. They are not. The Internet is larger, containing all the parts that make up the world-wide network of computers. The World Wide Web is one of many parts, or protocols, that make up the Internet. Email is another part, just like the WWW.

A lot of the Internet you know about; however, it is useful to know about some commonly used but little-understood facts about that very important part of lives.

What Is The Internet?

The Internet is, simply put, billions of computers worldwide connected together under the TCP/IP protocol. If your computer is connected to the Internet, that means that it is now a part of that network.

There are many ways you could represent or map the Internet; one way of doing it, representing many (but not even close to all) of the web servers on the main transmission lines of the Internet, is shown below. Now, keep in mind that our little lab here is not even on this map—it's too small. No, our server is one of many servers connected to a larger server which is at the very end of just one of the tiny lines somewhere on this map:

In this map, the end of every small thread is a server, which can host up to 256 other servers; each server can host hundreds more computers each. Each junction of lines is also a server. You get the idea of how big things are: there are a lot of computers linked together.

This is not a perfect representation, but it perhaps begins to give you an idea of what the mass of connections looks like. The important thing to remember, however, is that it is just a network—it is a lot of computers connected together. It may be impressive because of its size, but what makes the Internet work is protocols.

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