Have you heard that the Internet is a network of networks? This means that companies, institutions, universities, banks, and other networks that make up the Internet are interconnected among themselves and it’s through them that this communication is possible.
A network is nothing more than a set of connected devices capable of communicating with each other. For example, your computer is connected to your ISP's network, which routes your packets until they reach their destination (the Internet Citizen site or YouTube, for example).
Your ISP, however, isn’t responsible for the “whole Internet,” let alone the Internet Citizen website. So what happens so that your packets get to their destination? Just like many other companies, your ISP is connected to one or more networks that are in turn connected to others, and so on. It’s in this way, by passing through several networks, that your packet reaches its destination.
All these interconnected networks form one large, worldwide network. When passing through intermediate networks, a data packet originating from any one of them always has one or more possible paths to reach any other network...
Note that all these thousands and thousands of networks, even if they belong to different companies or institutions, and use devices from many different manufacturers, agree to always use the same technological standards. That’s why communication between them is possible!
It’s as if each one of these companies and institutions were a city that connects to other cities by several roads. In this analogy, the packets would be the vehicles. For this to happen, these companies and institutions make several types of agreements, such as agreements to provide IP traffic, or agreements to exchange traffic with each other. These agreements can be commercial, like a toll in the middle of a road, or collaborative, whatever is most convenient for the networks participating in each case. That’s how the Internet works. 😊
Want to learn more? Go to:
How Does the Internet Work? Part 1: The IP Protocol
How does the Internet work? Part 2: Autonomous Systems, BGP, PTTs.
Internet Revealed: https://youtu.be/QXUpRg29iZQ
In the first scene, two children, a boy and a girl, are using a laptop on opposite sides of the globe. On the globe, the several networks that make up the Internet are represented by circles connected to each other. The boy is next to an orange circle and the girl is next to a purple circle, representing different networks. Above is the phrase “The Internet is a network of networks.”
In the second scene, the boy starts using the computer and a row of small squares comes out of it, representing data packets. These packets pass through several networks until they reach the girl, who replies, and so another row of packets leaves her computer and goes to the boy's computer.
The sentence changes to “Thousands of institutions are interconnected” and the children disappear. The phrase continues "using standards and making agreements" and in front of the globe handshakes appear on the paths connecting the different networks.
In the third scene, we read the phrase “To form a large global network.” The children reappear, various packets travel between the different networks, and around the globe icons representing Internet applications go around as the children clap their hands.
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