• María Belén Gómez

How does the Internet work?

As time goes by, there are more and more Internet users. In big cities, it would seem almost impossible to live without the Internet. But do we really know how the Internet works?

The Internet is a worldwide computer network consisting of a number of national, regional and private networks. All networks use the same communication protocol: TCP/IP.

The Internet offers three basic types of services:

  • The Web (pages with links and multimedia content of your its sites)

  • Data exchange via FTP (File Transfer Protocol

  • Telephone communication, live video and audio transmission (or streaming).

The purpose of the Internet

The purpose of the Internet can be described in one sentence: To connect all the networks in the world. Like the telephone, with which you can talk to anyone and whose number you know, the Internet is a global system for the exchange of virtual documents: texts, files, images, sounds and audiovisual sequences. It is an alliance of local networks and telecommunications: telematics in the strictest sense of the word.

It is very difficult to imagine the limits of the Internet, and this is because every user can become a sender of information, and no longer just a user that receives data.

There is no other system that can have such potential for creativity.

The recurring problem today is the capacity of the network in terms of performance as users and its uses multiply. The same person can surf the net in various ways through different Internet access points, especially smartphones and tablets, but also cars, cameras, appliances, even public or private Wi-Fi spaces.

The possible uses are also multiplying: As is already very common, the Internet is increasingly used to make phone and video calls. Movies or programs that were previously reserved only for television are broadcast.

The number of users is growing in parallel with the world's population and the proportion of those who have access to the Internet. The global governance that has managed the network so far works well, but the infrastructure needs to be further improved, and that requires building high-speed lines such as ADSL and fiber optics.

Addressing should be reviewed. Each connected subscriber has a number and the IPV4 protocol (version 4 of the IP protocol) does not provide for a sufficient number of possible addresses. Just as the telephone network had to integrate a different numbering system, the IPv6 protocol increases the number of digits in the address from 32 to 128 bits. The number of possible addresses thus increases from 232 in IPv4, i.e. about 4 billion, to 2128, i.e. 3.4 x 1038, an almost immeasurable number.

There are several hundred million websites, users and emails being sent every day. You can see the figures in real-time at Internet Live Stats.

The Internet is mainly used for sending emails, browsing websites and exchanging files and currently, cryptocurrency mining is on the rise.

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