Magazine article New Internationalist

The Internet Explained

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Internet Explained

Article excerpt

The Internet explained

Picture a maze - like garden of forking paths with each path connected to its neighbour and thousands of new paths being added daily. That's roughly how the internet looks. But how does a message travel along those pathways?

1 Suppose you're in Aotearoa/New Zealand and you want to send a message to your uncle in Boston. Whether it's a brief letter, a mathematical formula or a photo of your dog the 'information' is all treated in the same way. First it is digitized, that is, turned into the mathematical language that computers use to communicate.

2 The digitized data in the form of electronic blips then travels along phone lines to your local provider or 'server'. Here it's broken down into chunks called 'packets'. Each 'packet' is labelled with the address of the recipient, in this case something like myuncle@aol.com.

3 A computer called a 'router' next reads each addressed packet and sends your data in the right general direction to the next 'server'. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.