Wired! Philippines

The Internet : Your Information Superhighway
By smbea E-mail : mabelle@msc.net.ph

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Imagine a car (a file, for instance) parked in parking lot A (a computer). The car needs to get to parking lot B (another computer located miles from the first computer). In order to get to the other parking lot, the car had to be driven (retrieved) on the highway. From the highway, the car gets on the freeway or interstate (the superhighway), and then gets on back to the smaller highway leading to parking lot B. While on the highways and freeways, that same car travels along with lots of other cars (other files being retrieved) on their way to other parking lots. The car reaches parking lot B and stays there.

What you've just thought is analogous to what goes on in the Internet. (Of course, you could also imagine heavy traffic, with millions of information that are available on the Internet and millions of internet users accessing and retrieving files.)

Simply put, the Internet is a worldwide computer network made up of thousands of autonomous networks run by no one. It's one vast superhighway formed by many converging highways (the computers or separate networks).

For these networks to be able to communicate with each other, they use a common set of protocols called the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or the TCP/IP. TCP/IP is what defines the language and rules that computers use in order for them to be able to exchange information and communicate within the network.

The Internet's history dates back to the 1960s when the United States government began an experiment called Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or ARPANET. This was restricted to the military and universities that were doing defense researches.

For a more comprehensive history of the Internet, click here or go to Robert Hobbes Zakon's website at http://www.isoc.org/zakon/Internet/History/HIT.html or you can send an e-mail to timeline@hobbes.mitre.com to receive the Hobbes' Internet Timeline.

On the Internet, there is also such as a thing as an Internet address. This is very similar to your postal address. The Internet address helps identify the exact location of a specific network or computer.

Hidden behind the Internet address (also called Fully Qualified Domain Name or FQDN) is the Internet Protocol address or IP address (a series of four numbers divided by dots), used by gateway systems to forward messages from one computer to another.


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