Whether it is healthcare, education, policy formation, commerce, agriculture, or manufacturing, everything runs on the internet, these days. Network technology is high in demand, which is why top companies like Charter Spectrum are handing out lucrative internet deals and how Internet Technologies Work plans for consumers to experience the best of connectivity at home or on the go.
While we’re more than satisfied with the benefits the internet provides us, only a few of us pluck up the courage to understand how this technology actually works. If you’re one of those curious few, then you’re in luck, because this post will show you how the internet and internet technologies work and function in essence. Stay tuned and read on.
What is the Internet?
Two or more connected computers, which exchange information or coordinate to perform tasks, create a “network.” A vast collection of these interconnected networks is called the “internet.” It is an umbrella term and encompasses all the networks in existence. Because of the internet, a computer on one network can communicate with another computer on a totally different network. This boundless and seamless connectivity is the prime feature of the internet.
The internet brings everyone together and acts as an information highway, whereon data travels as “bits” with lightning-fast speed, even while moving from one continent on the globe to another. This is how the internet converts the world into a digital village.
What does the Internet Work?
Generally, we use the internet to send information from our connected devices to a server or a target computer across the networks. This information does not soar haphazardly on the internet. Instead, it follows a set of rules to move between the sending and receiving computers.
What happens is that a data request is launched from a client device. This request is received by the router or modem in the LAN. There, it is broken down into tiny packets and plastered with the destination’s address by a transmission technology known as TCP or Transmission Control Protocol. The addressing mechanism is governed by another technology, Internet Protocol or IP, which gives numerical identifiers to every connected computer on the network and each packet of data that travels on the information highway.
Once the TCP and IP get the data ready, the packets shoot up to the ISP and then reach the data exchange hub, which further transmits them to the host ISP and finally, the target computer or server. This information exchange takes place within a matter of seconds, thus, making the internet a fast and reliable blessing for the progressive world of today.
How do Different Types of Internet Technologies Work?
The internet functions the way it does due to the transmission technologies, which enable smooth and stable data exchange between networks. To date, there are several transmission technologies or internet connection types in the market. The most common internet infrastructures and transmission mediums are:
DSL or Digital Subscriber Line uses twisted copper cables, otherwise known as telephone wires, to distribute data packets. A DSL system consists of several component technologies. First off, we have the DSL modem, which is installed in a subscriber’s home and translates electrical signals into web-ready data. The modem is connected to a DSL Filter that plugs into the phone jack and distinguishes Voice signals from the high-frequency bandwidth ones.
Over the last mile, data travels on copper telephone wires and arrives at the DSL provider’s station, where DSLAM or Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer receives, decodes, and transmits the packets to the internet backbone. So on and so forth. The connection quality of DSL internet depends on the distance between a subscriber’s home and the ISP’s station. The greater the distance, the greater the chances of signal deterioration.
Coaxial cable internet utilizes copper television wiring to transmit data packets from one connected computer to another. The TV cable is spacious and has a larger capacity than DSL, which allows for faster distribution of data on the network.
Coaxial cable connections of today are Hybrid Fiber Coaxial or HFC. The system components include a Fiber Trunk wire, which connects an ISP hub to an optical node. This optical node translates light pulses into copper-friendly electrical signals. From the node, these signals travel via different coaxial branches and amplifiers to the connected homes in a neighborhood, where they are converted yet again into web-ready data by the cable modem and fed into client devices and vice versa.
Copper-based systems have a traditional importance of their own and are found virtually in every suburb, but they cannot compete with the sophisticated internet transmission technology, called fiber-optic, which is the benchmark for high-speed broadband speed today.
Fiber-optic internet transmits data packets in the form of light pulses through super-thin glass or plastic fiber-optic cables. These cables run from the fiber provider’s station to a neighborhood, to a curb, to a building, and to a subscriber’s home directly, depending on the nature of the last mile.
The signals travel from a fiber-optic transmitter, which unleashes the light pulses, go through a fiber-optic amplifier that enhances their potency, and reach the fiber-optic receiver, which translates the light pulses into web-ready data for client devices to use. The innovation of fiber broadband is fantastic and futuristic but limited in footprint at the moment.
Heading the wireless transmission technology, especially in rural areas, is satellite internet, which has been around for a century now. Here is how this medium works: A satellite broadband provider beams internet signals as radio waves to a geostationary satellite in outer space about 22,000 miles above the equator. This satellite, in turn, pins down the subscriber’s location, and transmits the internet signals down to a parabolic dish affixed on their rooftop.
From there, the RF signals travel to a satellite receiver, which converts them into web-ready data that user’s devices can interpret and display as web pages, etc. Since it is a wireless connection, satellite internet signals have 100% availability in the country but they may be prone to interferences from the weather.
Therefore, we can say that the internet is not a one-man show run by a single unit or entity. As the aforementioned discussion elucidates, different networks, protocols, devices, transmission technologies, and components work together to create the space we all know as the internet. Knowing about the inner functionality of the internet can only help you in visualizing an uber-connected future and become an active part of it.