The internet is a globally connected network system that uses TCP/IP to transmit data via various types of media. The internet is a network of global exchanges – including private, public, business, academic and government networks – connected by guided, wireless and fibre-optic technologies. The terms internet and World Wide Web are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing; the internet refers to the global communication system, including hardware and infrastructure, while the web is one of the services communicated over the internet. As computing advanced, peer-to-peer (P2P) communication was gradually delivered and enhanced. Since the 1990s, the internet has greatly influenced and upgraded networking to global standards. Billions of internet users rely on multiple application and networking technologies, including:
Internet Protocol (IP): The internet’s primary component and communications backbone. Because the internet is comprised of hardware and software layers, the IP communication standard is used to address schemes and identify unique connected devices. Prominent IP versions used for communications include Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
Communications: The internet is the most cost-effective communications method in the world, in which the following services are instantly available:
- Web-enabled audio/video conferencing services
- Online movies and gaming
- Data transfer/file-sharing, often through File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Instant messaging
- Internet forums
- Social networking
- Online shopping
- Financial services
The internet originated with the U.S. government, which began building a computer network in the 1960s known as ARPANET. In 1985, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) commissioned the development of a university network backbone called NSFNET. The system was replaced by new networks operated by commercial internet service providers in 1995. The internet was brought to the public on a larger scale at around this time.
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