Everyone wants access to high-speed internet, nowadays, because, without it, we are practically stranded. The internet powers our day-to-day routines and enables us to complete our tasks on time. It transports us to the World Wide Web, which knows no time-space bounds, and is a virtual plane that is available to all users around the world 24/7. What do you require for internet access? A fast and reliable internet service, as offered in Cox internet plans, and a slew of devices to use the internet on.

How Does the Internet and Internet Technology Work?

For an average user, enabling the Wi-Fi option on the smartphone and opening an app that works online is all there is to the phenomenon of “the internet.” They know about a modem or a router, which brings internet signals from the service provider to their home and a wire that runs into the wall. Moreover, they pay a designated internet bill every month or so, which keeps their service connectivity intact. That’s about it.

Nevertheless, people aren’t particularly aware of how the internet loads their websites, transfers their information online, saves their files, and enables their streaming, gaming, surfing, shopping, or other activities. This is where we come in. Stay tuned to this post to know all about the inner operations of the internet, so you can further optimize and streamline your connection while gaining the ability to resolve networks issues quickly. Read on.

It All Begins With a Message

The internet is the place where users go to communicate with other users, websites, and networks. It is a collection of interconnected computers, which constantly exchange information. This information is where our story begins. Every interaction on the internet starts from a message, which could be a request for fetching information online or literally, a catch-up call to your friend on Facebook Messenger. The computer which initiates the conversation and sends the message is called a client. For instance, your smartphone connected to the in-home Wi-Fi is a client.

Data Breakdown & Tagging

Messages don’t travel on the internet in the form of alphabets or letters. Rather, they move as complex combinations of binary codes, called data. Everything from text to audio and even video constitutes data. Once you initiate the message from your wirelessly connected smartphone, it cruises over the Wi-Fi and reaches the router. The router is network hardware, which circulates internet signals wirelessly in an area and monitors the flow of data. There, the data is broken down into tiny pieces of information, known as data packets. These data packets are sorted and marked with the address of the destination. All thanks to the TCP or Transmission Control Protocol, which is a set of rules governing the assembly and route of the data packets.

The Role of Modem & IP Configuration

The router doesn’t perform on its own. It is a gateway device, which ultimately connects to the modem via an Ethernet cable. The modem is another fundamental network hardware that establishes a direct connection to the internet service provider through a coaxial, fiber, or DSL cable. When the tagged data packets travel to the modem from the router, the IP or Internet Protocol mechanism sets in, which assigns numerical addresses to the data and launches it on the network. IP addresses are just like residential addresses. Every computer on the internet has an IP address, which can be public or private.

Journey on the Last-Mile

Client computers need ISPs to open up their passage on the internet. ISPs host giant servers and computers, which makes the journey of the data packets seamless on the network highway. Once the modem tags each data packet with an IP address, it sends them forward to the internet service provider. These data packets move along the last-mile connection, which is the distance from a house to the ISP’s station, and head to the ISP’s local server. From there, they make their way to the long-distance network maintained by the provider remotely.

Data Exchange Hub as a Resting Point

A data exchange hub is like an airport, which houses different airlines taking you to different destinations around the world every minute of every day. The client’s ISP catapults the data packets from the long-distance network to the data exchange hub. The data exchange hub ensures a frictionless distribution of data among multiple sources. It acts as a centralized point, which stores data packets for a short time, before directing them to another ISP’s long-distance network at the receiving end.

Mirrored Process & Destination Arrival

The beauty of the internet is that it performs all these processes and transmits data packets here and there on the worldwide network in a flash. After the data exchange stage is over and the data packets arrive at the destination ISP’s long-range network, they, then, traverse to the local network of the internet service provider on the other end of the line. The local network catches these data packets and saves them on its server. The receiving ISP moves on to the next stage and sends the information along the last-mile connection.

Consequently, the data packets enter the modem, and then, the router, where they are re-assembled into a homogenous whole by the TCP/IP configurations. The data proceeds along the Wi-Fi channel or a wired Ethernet connection, and finally, set foot in the destination device, where it converts into displayable information and appeases the receiver.

The Bottom Line

The internet presents countless possibilities for data sharing and information exchange. The packet switching method covered in this article is just one of the routes that the internet takes to connect a sender with a receiver, regardless of where they are in the world. This is why the internet is called the ultimate network, hosting millions of computers, servers, and mini-networks. It is the backbone of the World Wide Web, and the technological infrastructure, which holds the web in place. Invented as a military communication tool, internet technology has certainly evolved into a public necessity.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.