What is the Internet?
What is the internet? Short answer: a distributed packet-switched network. This is the introduction video to the series, "How the Internet Works". Vint Cerf, one of the "fathers of the internet" explains the history of the net and how no one person or organization is really in charge of it.
Want to join the conversation?
- Since the internet started as a defense department project, what is the government's ownership portion of the Internet as it currently exists?(34 votes)
- Government does not own Internet. Almost all the cables making up the internet are owned by private companies. And most of the companies are public too.(11 votes)
- Are big companies like search engines able to manipulate or control more of the internet than the average person?(7 votes)
- It depends on what you mean by "manipulate or control". The entire Internet is technically accessible to any individual, be it a person or organization, but to a varying degree, depending on things like disabilities, technological proficiency, financial situation, etc. In terms of "control", yes, companies and organizations have control over websites, accounts, passwords, software, information, content, etc. that individuals just don't have access to. Think about what might happen if, say, Google moved a search result from front page to the second page or made Gmail no longer available for free.(13 votes)
- Does the government have any role in regulating our internet.(7 votes)
- Which government? Internet surrounds the whole planet so there's a problem with regulation there already. But in China there is no youtube for example (there it's called Youku https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youku). So it certainly IS possible. Importantly institutions like W3.org have standardised many things to make internet compatible. I think there is some of cooperation (with banks and companies) about cybersecurity, but it certainly is not transparant.(7 votes)
- When was the Internet invented? When it first was, did people accept the new ability they had to talk to people all around the world?(5 votes)
- The Internet evolved from the ARPANET, a U.S. military project developed during the Cold War to promote decentralized communication (mainly around the 1960s). Military leaders were concerned about foreign nations taking out communications in the U.S., so a branch of the government called ARPA contracted companies and universities to develop technology that would link the major supercomputers around the U.S. together using existing telephone lines, thus creating a wide-scale network for communication and resource sharing . By the late 1970s, the ARPANET split into two sections, one was purely for government purposes (called MILNET), while the other was for academic research and was open to the public. The public was stilled called ARPANET, and, in the 1980s, this was integrated with other networks around the U.S. and the world to form the Internet.
As to whether people accepted the Internet, in regards to the ARPANET, it was expensive and difficult to set up a connection to the ARPANET, so it really wasn't until ARPA and existing users improved the network enough that knowledge of its existence became widespread. Email was actually one of the biggest breakthroughs of the ARPANET, as resource sharing was not as used as ARPA had hoped (this was partly due to the incompatibility of computers for distributed computing). As for the rest of the U.S., there were groups that protested the government's funding of university research for military objectives, while others celebrated the innovation of a "nonhierarchical organized social form in which scattered individuals are linked to one another by an information technology and through it the experience of a shared mindset."(9 votes)
- So everyone is not in charge over the Internet or we are in charge of the Internet?(6 votes)
- The internet is made up of contributors' posting and content, and each website has someone else (typically different companies) in charge of that specific website.(5 votes)
- How came nobody owns the internet, if somebody were to who?(4 votes)
- It’s impossible!! Nobody owns nor controls the entire internet.(4 votes)
- Does everybody control the internet?(5 votes)
- There is no single owner of the Internet, so in a way, yes. Numerous different organizations, companies, and individuals may have control over certain parts of it.(3 votes)
- what is the internet and how does it work?(3 votes)
- Well, the internet is a worldwide computer network that transmits a variety of data and media across interconnected devices. It works by using a packet routing network that follows Internet Protocol (IP) and Transport Control Protocol (TCP) . It also allows websites like Khan Academy to be accessed.(5 votes)
- I still believe someone governs the internet ,not so?(3 votes)
- Well, if you are in a country without free speech, like China or North Korea, then the internet there is heavily censored. You can only see a portion of it. In that sense, those governments control the internet for its citizens.(3 votes)
[woosh] [ding] [buildup sound] [music] What is the internet? The internet is like a popular thing. Some satellites up there. I picture it in my head with like waves of internet going to the phone. Somebody told me a cloud once. The internet is a lot like plumbing it's always moving. Most people don't have any idea where the internet came from and doesn't matter, they don't need to. It's sort of like asking who invented the ballpoint pen, or the flush toilet or the zipper. These are all things we just use every day we don't even think about the fact that one day somebody invented them. So the internet is just like that. Many, many years ago in the early 1970s my partner Bob Kahn and I began working on the design of what we now call the internet. It was a result of another experiment called the ARPANET which stood for Advanced Research Project Agency Network. It was a Defense Department research project. Paul Baran was trying to figure out how to build a communication system that might actually survive a nuclear attack. So he had this idea of breaking messages up into blocks and sending them as fast as possible in every possible direction through the mesh network. [whoosh] So we built what eventually became a nationwide experimental packet network, and it worked. [electronic music with heavy beats] Is anybody in charge of the internet? The government controls it. Elves, obviously elves! The people to control the Wi-Fi because then no Wi-Fi, no internet. T-mobile, um, Xfinity, Bill Gates [pause] Right?! The honest answer is well nobody and maybe another answer is everybody. The real answer is that the internet is made up of an incredibly large number of independently operated networks. What's interesting about the system is that it's fully distributed. There's no central control that is deciding how packets are routed or where pieces of the network are built or even who interconnects with whom. These are all business decisions that are made independently by the operators. They are all motivated to assure that there is end-to-end connectivity of every part of the network because the utility of the net is that any device can communicate with any other device; just like you want to be able to make phone calls to any other telephone in the world. There's nothing like this that has ever been built before. The idea that what you know might be useful to somebody else or vice versa is a very powerful motivator for sharing information. By the way that's how science gets done, people share information. So this is an opportunity for people to think up new applications, maybe program them as apps on a mobile phone, maybe become part of the continued growth of the infrastructure of the network to bring it to people who don't have access to it yet; or just make use of it on a day-to-day basis. You can't escape from contact with the internet so why not get to know it and use it. [swirling sound effect] [ding] Subtitles by the Amara.org community