How Does the Internet Work?

by Charlie Bradley

Components of Internet Technology

The Internet allows users to exchange information instantly as well as receive up-to-the-minute updates on the latest news and other events in the world. A series of combined software and hardware protocols and communications come together to make possible the technology that allows immediate information exchange across the world.

How the Internet Connects

Most connections start with a modem, or modem and router, which connect through any combination of coaxial cable, Ethernet cables and phone lines. Each modem and computer connected to the Internet is assigned an an Internet protocol (IP) address. Data is transmitted over these lines, between two or more IP addresses, using a combination of protocols and programming languages, which display in the web browser as a web page, or allow you to download software, applications and other files from the Internet. Data transmitted over the Internet is assembled into packets which contain the data itself, as well as routing information including the source IP address and destination address, which are transmitted back and forth between one or more computers.

Protocols Used on the Internet

The Internet transmits information using a series of protocols, such as hypertext transfer protocol for web browser and web page information, file transfer protocol to transmit files such as documents, music files, video files, and audio files, and post office protocol and simple mail transfer protocol to send and receive email messages. The protocols determine how the data is formatted and routed over the Internet connection.

About the Author

Charlie Bradley has been a freelance writer since 2007. Bradley's work has been featured on various websites. He holds a certificate in personal computer repair and support from West Georgia Technical College.