What is the Internet? The simplest way to describe it is a collection of networks that connect people and organizations, allowing them to share information.

4 Billion out of the 7 Billion people on earth are already online.

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The Internet can be broken down into a few components:

  • Device: Your endpoint (i.e. computer, phone, etc.)

  • Network: A collection of devices that are able to speak to one another

  • Wide Area Network (WAN): Connections between Networks that allow devices in your network to speak to devices in another network

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Devices are electronic devices like mobile phones, computers, televisions, and printers.

When your devices get registered online they receive an address the same way you have an address on your house.

On the Internet your address represents who you are, and gives others a way to reach you.

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Networks are a collection of endpoints that can all speak to each other.

Similar to the way you have houses on a street, all the devices are connected in the same area. When you go outside and wave to your neighbour, it's very similar to the way two devices communicate.

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Wide Area Network

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a way to bring together a bunch of Private Networks.

As mentioned, a network is like a street with houses on it, so a Wide Area Network would be like a highway that is used to connect two areas together so that both devices can speak to one another from different areas.

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How Does This All Fit Together?

So, how do I get from one home (device) to another home (device) across town?

  1. The first thing you do if you don't know where you are going is to check a map (Domain System Name (DNS)).

  2. Leave your home and drive up the street (network). Then take the highway (wide-area-network) to the street (network) to the home (device) you want to visit.

  3. Check the address on the home (device), and knock on the door.

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Which of the following is NOT a component of the Internet?

Take Action

Can you think of anything that you may have already done on the Internet, without even realizing it? Hmmm...

How about:

  • Online banking

  • Ordering from an online menu at a restaurant

  • Using an automated teller at a bank branch that isn't your own

  • Sending a photo on your phone to a friend

Photo by Thomas Jensen on Unsplash

Take what you've learned and try explaining to a friend how the internet works!


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