Are You Online?
“Hey Shad, are you online?” “Of course, I am!” How many of us still think about whether or not we are “online”? We expect our devices, cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers to always be connected to the global Internet. We use this network to interact with our friends, shop, share pictures and experiences, and learn. The Internet has become such a part of everyday life that we almost take it for granted.
Normally, when people use the term Internet, they are not referring to the physical connections in the real world. Rather, they tend to think of it as a formless collection of connections. It is the “place” people go to find or share information.
Click Play in the figure to see a video about all the ways we are connected in the Human Network.
Who Owns “The Internet”?
The Internet is not owned by any individual or group. The Internet is a worldwide collection of interconnected networks (internetwork or Internet for short), cooperating with each other to exchange information using common standards. Through telephone wires, fiber-optic cables, wireless transmissions, and satellite links, Internet users can exchange information in a variety of forms, as shown in the figure.
Everything that you access online is located somewhere on the global Internet. Social media sites, multi-player games, messaging centers that provide email, online courses – all of these Internet destinations are connected to local networks that send and receive information through the Internet.
Local networks come in all sizes. They can range from simple networks consisting of two computers, to networks connecting hundreds of thousands of devices. Networks installed in small offices, or homes and home offices, are referred to as Small Office Home Office (SOHO) networks. SOHO networks enable the sharing of resources, such as printers, documents, pictures and music between a few local users.
In business, large networks can be used to advertise and sell products, order supplies, and communicate with customers. Communication over a network is usually more efficient and less expensive than traditional forms of communication, such as regular mail or long distance phone calls. Networks allow for rapid communication such as email and instant messaging, and provide consolidation and access to information stored on network servers.
Business and SOHO networks usually provide a shared connection to the Internet. The Internet is considered a “network of networks” because it is literally made up of thousands of local networks that are connected to each other.
Click each plus (+) in the figure to learn more information about these types of networks.
Making the Connections
The Internet connects more computing devices than just desktop and laptop computers. There are devices all around that you may interact with on a daily basis that are also connected to the Internet.
For example, people are using mobile devices more every day to communicate and accomplish daily tasks, such as checking the weather or sharing pictures. Click each Plus (+) sign in Figure 1 to learn more about mobile devices.
Many of the things in your home can also be connected to the Internet so that they can be monitored and configured remotely. Click the items shown in Figure 2 to learn more about connected household devices.
There are also many connected devices found in the world outside your home that provide convenience and useful or even vital information. Click the items shown in Figure 3 to learn more about these commonly found connected devices.
How many of these devices do you use on a daily basis?