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How does the Internet Work?

Internet concepts and how connections function

An Example Might Help


  • Your computer starts. Connects to the internet. - Establish IP Address ( For example, mine is:
  • Type in search engine bar - Query aka Question - "ducks"
  • Query moves to DNS for translation "ducks" turns into "1010001000100....." (Computers speak binary)
  • Translation of Query is converted into packets - Think of it as separating letters of the word ducks into individual envelopes.

("D" "U" "C" "K" "S" )

  • Packets bounce from server to server all over the world in no specific pattern.
  • Packets get to Google's server for information on the query "ducks"
  • Whichever packets come back first use other packets to translate webpage. "D" "U" C" "K" "S" becomes once again "DUCKS"
  • Webpage recieved - Screen shows results page of what google wants to tell you about ducks.

How is it All Connected?

These computers are connected through physical cables that exist primarily underground. To get internet from continent to continent, they also go under the ocean. The undersea cables are the veins that information flows through to circulate, similar to the veins of the human body distributing blood. Click here to see a visual map of these cables and who owns them.

Image of cables connected to router

Know all this? Check out this Stanford White Paper which goes more in depth.

Keyword Searches

internet + infrastructure; internet + architecture;  internet + undersea cables