The Internet (or internet) is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (often called TCP/IP, although not all applications use TCP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies.
The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email. Modern uses The Internet allows greater flexibility in working hours and location, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections. The Internet can be accessed almost anywhere by numerous means, including through mobile Internet devices.
Mobile phones, datacards, handheld game consoles and cellular routers allow users to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Within the limitations imposed by small screens and other limited facilities of such pocket-sized devices, the services of the Internet, including email and the web, may be available. Service providers may restrict the services offered and mobile data charges may be significantly higher than other access methods. Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites.
Examples range from CBeebies, through school and high-school revision guides and virtual universities, to access to top-end scholarly literature through the likes of Google Scholar. For distance education, help with homework and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time, or just looking up more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere. The Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education.
The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier, with the help of collaborative software. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and share ideas but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups more easily to form. An example of this is the free software movement, which has produced, among other things, Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and OpenOffice. org. Internet chat, whether using an IRC chat room, n instant messaging system, or a social networking website, allows colleagues to stay in touch in a very convenient way while working at their computers during the day. Messages can be exchanged even more quickly and conveniently than via email. These systems may allow files to be exchanged, drawings and images to be shared, or voice and video contact between team members. Content management systems allow collaborating teams to work on shared sets of documents simultaneously without accidentally destroying each other's work.
Business and project teams can share calendars as well as documents and other information. Such collaboration occurs in a wide variety of areas including scientific research, software development, conference planning, political activism and creative writing. Social and political collaboration is also becoming more widespread as both Internet access and computer literacy spread. The Internet allows computer users to remotely access other computers and information stores easily, wherever they may be. They may do this with or without computer security, i. . authentication and encryption technologies, depending on the requirements. This is encouraging new ways of working from home, collaboration and information sharing in many industries. An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth. These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information emailed to them from offices all over the world.
Some of these things were possible before the widespread use of the Internet, but the cost of private leased lines would have made many of them infeasible in practice. An office worker away from their desk, perhaps on the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can access their emails, access their data using cloud computing, or open a remote desktop session into their office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on the Internet.
This can give the worker complete access to all of their normal files and data, including email and other applications, while away from the office. It has been referred to among system administrators as the Virtual Private Nightmare, because it extends the secure perimeter of a corporate network into remote locations and its employees' homes Communication Email is an important communications service available on the Internet. The concept of sending electronic text messages between parties in a way analogous to mailing letters or memos predates the creation of the Internet.
Pictures, documents and other files are sent as email attachments. Emails can be cc-ed to multiple email addresses. Internet telephony is another common communications service made possible by the creation of the Internet. VoIP stands for Voice-over-Internet Protocol, referring to the protocol that underlies all Internet communication. The idea began in the early 1990s with walkie-talkie-like voice applications for personal computers. In recent years many VoIP systems have become as easy to use and as convenient as a normal telephone.
The benefit is that, as the Internet carries the voice traffic, VoIP can be free or cost much less than a traditional telephone call, especially over long distances and especially for those with always-on Internet connections such as cable or ADSL. VoIP is maturing into a competitive alternative to traditional telephone service. Interoperability between different providers has improved and the ability to call or receive a call from a traditional telephone is available. Simple, inexpensive VoIP network adapters are available that eliminate the need for a personal computer.
Voice quality can still vary from call to call, but is often equal to and can even exceed that of traditional calls. Remaining problems for VoIP include emergency telephone number dialing and reliability. Currently, a few VoIP providers provide an emergency service, but it is not universally available. Traditional phones are line-powered and operate during a power failure; VoIP does not do so without a backup power source for the phone equipment and the Internet access devices.
VoIP has also become increasingly popular for gaming applications, as a form of communication between players. Popular VoIP clients for gaming include Ventrilo and Teamspeak. Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 also offer VoIP chat features. Users Internet users per 100 inhabitants Source: ITU Internet users by language Website content languages See also: Global Internet usage, English on the Internet, and Unicode Overall Internet usage has seen tremendous growth. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users globally rose from 394 million to 1. 58 billion.  By 2010, 22 percent of the world's population had access to computers with 1 billion Google searches every day, 300 million Internet users reading blogs, and 2 billion videos viewed daily on YouTube.  The prevalent language for communication on the Internet has been English. This may be a result of the origin of the Internet, as well as the language's role as a lingua franca. Early computer systems were limited to the characters in the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), a subset of the Latin alphabet.
After English (27%), the most requested languages on the World Wide Web are Chinese (23%), Spanish (8%), Japanese (5%), Portuguese and German (4% each), Arabic, French and Russian (3% each), and Korean (2%).  By region, 42% of the world's Internet users are based in Asia, 24% in Europe, 14% in North America, 10% in Latin America and the Caribbean taken together, 6% in Africa, 3% in the Middle East and 1% in Australia/Oceania.  The Internet's technologies have developed enough in recent years, especially in the use of Unicode, that good facilities are available for development and communication in the world's widely used languages.
However, some glitches such as mojibake (incorrect display of some languages' characters) still remain. In an American study in 2005, the percentage of men using the Internet was very slightly ahead of the percentage of women, although this difference reversed in those under 30. Men logged on more often, spent more time online, and were more likely to be broadband users, whereas women tended to make more use of opportunities to communicate (such as email). Men were more likely to use the Internet to pay bills, participate in auctions, and for recreation such as downloading music and videos.
Men and women were equally likely to use the Internet for shopping and banking.  More recent studies indicate that in 2008, women significantly outnumbered men on most social networking sites, such as Facebook and Myspace, although the ratios varied with age.  In addition, women watched more streaming content, whereas men downloaded more.  In terms of blogs, men were more likely to blog in the first place; among those who blog, men were more likely to have a professional blog, whereas women were more likely to have a personal blog.  Social impact
Main article: Sociology of the Internet The Internet has enabled entirely new forms of social interaction, activities, and organizing, thanks to its basic features such as widespread usability and access. In the first decade of the 21st century, the first generation is raised with widespread availability of Internet connectivity, bringing consequences and concerns in areas such as personal privacy and identity, and distribution of copyrighted materials. These "digital natives" face a variety of challenges that were not present for prior generations. Social networking and entertainment
See also: Social networking service#Social impact Many people use the World Wide Web to access news, weather and sports reports, to plan and book vacations and to find out more about their interests. People use chat, messaging and email to make and stay in touch with friends worldwide, sometimes in the same way as some previously had pen pals. The Internet has seen a growing number of Web desktops, where users can access their files and settings via the Internet. Social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have created new ways to socialize and interact.
Users of these sites are able to add a wide variety of information to pages, to pursue common interests, and to connect with others. It is also possible to find existing acquaintances, to allow communication among existing groups of people. Sites like LinkedIn foster commercial and business connections. YouTube and Flickr specialize in users' videos and photographs. The Internet has been a major outlet for leisure activity since its inception, with entertaining social experiments such as MUDs and MOOs being conducted on university servers, and humor-related Usenet groups receiving much traffic.
Today, many Internet forums have sections devoted to games and funny videos; short cartoons in the form of Flash movies are also popular. Over 6 million people use blogs or message boards as a means of communication and for the sharing of ideas. The internet pornography and online gambling industries have taken advantage of the World Wide Web, and often provide a significant source of advertising revenue for other websites.  Although many governments have attempted to restrict both industries' use of the Internet, in general this has failed to stop their widespread popularity. 57] Another area of leisure activity on the Internet is multiplayer gaming.  This form of recreation creates communities, where people of all ages and origins enjoy the fast-paced world of multiplayer games. These range from MMORPG to first-person shooters, from role-playing video games to online gambling. While online gaming has been around since the 1970s, modern modes of online gaming began with subscription services such as GameSpy and MPlayer.  Non-subscribers were limited to certain types of game play or certain games.
Many people use the Internet to access and download music, movies and other works for their enjoyment and relaxation. Free and fee-based services exist for all of these activities, using centralized servers and distributed peer-to-peer technologies. Some of these sources exercise more care with respect to the original artists' copyrights than others. Internet usage has been correlated to users' loneliness.  Lonely people tend to use the Internet as an outlet for their feelings and to share their stories with others, such as in the "I am lonely will anyone speak to me" thread.
Cybersectarianism is a new organizational form which involves: "highly dispersed small groups of practitioners that may remain largely anonymous within the larger social context and operate in relative secrecy, while still linked remotely to a larger network of believers who share a set of practices and texts, and often a common devotion to a particular leader. Overseas supporters provide funding and support; domestic practitioners distribute tracts, participate in acts of resistance, and share information on the internal situation with outsiders.
Collectively, members and practitioners of such sects construct viable virtual communities of faith, exchanging personal testimonies and engaging in collective study via email, on-line chat rooms and web-based message boards. " Cyberslacking can become a drain on corporate resources; the average UK employee spent 57 minutes a day surfing the Web while at work, according to a 2003 study by Peninsula Business Services.  Internet addiction disorder is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life.
Psychologist Nicolas Carr believe that Internet use has other effects on individuals, for instance improving skills of scan-reading and interfering with the deep thinking that leads to true creativity.  Politics and political revolutions The Internet has achieved new relevance as a political tool. The presidential campaign of Howard Dean in 2004 in the United States was notable for its success in soliciting donation via the Internet. Many political groups use the Internet to achieve a new method of organizing in order to carry out their mission, having given rise to Internet activism, most notably practiced by rebels in the Arab Spring. 64] The New York Times suggested that social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter helped people organize the political revolutions in Egypt where it helped certain classes of protesters organize protests, communicate grievances, and disseminate information.  The potential of the Internet as a civic tool of communicative power was thoroughly explored by Simon R. B. Berdal in his thesis of 2004: As the globally evolving Internet provides ever new access points to virtual discourse forums, it also promotes new civic relations and associations within which communicative power may flow and accumulate.
Thus, traditionally ... national-embedded peripheries get entangled into greater, international peripheries, with stronger combined powers... The Internet, as a consequence, changes the topology of the "centre-periphery" model, by stimulating conventional peripheries to interlink into "super-periphery" structures, which enclose and "besiege" several centres at once.  Berdal, therefore, extends the Habermasian notion of the Public sphere to the Internet, and underlines the inherent global and civic nature that intervowen Internet technologies provide.
To limit the growing civic potential of the Internet, Berdal also notes how "self-protective measures" are put in place by those threatened by it: If we consider China’s attempts to filter "unsuitable material" from the Internet, most of us would agree that this resembles a self-protective measure by the system against the growing civic potentials of the Internet. Nevertheless, both types represent limitations to "peripheral capacities". Thus, the Chinese government tries to prevent communicative power to build up and unleash (as the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising suggests, the government may find it wise to install "upstream measures").
Even though limited, the Internet is proving to be an empowering tool also to the Chinese periphery: Analysts believe that Internet petitions have influenced policy implementation in favour of the public’s online-articulated will ...  Philanthropy The spread of low-cost internet access in developing countries has opened up new possibilities for peer-to-peer charities, which allow individuals to contribute small amounts to charitable projects for other individuals. Websites such as DonorsChoose and GlobalGiving allow small-scale donors to direct funds to individual projects of their choice.
A popular twist on internet-based philanthropy is the use of peer-to-peer lending for charitable purposes. Kiva pioneered this concept in 2005, offering the first web-based service to publish individual loan profiles for funding. Kiva raises funds for local intermediary microfinance organizations which post stories and updates on behalf of the borrowers. Lenders can contribute as little as $25 to loans of their choice, and receive their money back as borrowers repay. Kiva falls short of being a pure peer-to-peer charity, in that loans are disbursed before being funded by lenders and borrowers do not communicate with lenders themselves. 68] However, the recent spread of low cost Internet access in developing countries has made genuine international person-to-person philanthropy increasingly feasible. In 2009 the US-based nonprofit Zidisha tapped into this trend to offer the first person-to-person microfinance platform to link lenders and borrowers across international borders without intermediaries. Members can fund loans for as little as a dollar, which the borrowers then use to develop business activities that improve their families' incomes while repaying loans to the members with interest.
Borrowers access the internet via public cybercafes, donated laptops in village schools, and even smart phones, then create their own profile pages through which they share photos and information about themselves and their businesses. As they repay their loans, borrowers continue to share updates and dialogue with lenders via their profile pages. This direct web-based connection allows members themselves to take on many of the communication and recording tasks traditionally performed by local organizations, bypassing geographic barriers and dramatically reducing the cost of microfinance services to the entrepreneurs. 70] As penetration and uptake of high-speed internet connections reaches more and more homes and the efficiency of data transfer increases, so the Internet will subsume all digital broadcasting mediums. It will also transmit household and business utility readings, convey automated dairy produce replenishment requests initiated by intelligent fridges triggered by microchip-embedded product sell-by dates, blow-away conventional phone traffic and, once wireless or wi-fi hotspots proliferate, eliminate cell phone congestion.
Multiplayer real-time online games have now taken off in a huge way now that broadband reception plus video compression techniques have reached a maturing plateau. Entire conceptual universes sprinkled with strange and wonderful planets populated by alien life forms occupy tens of thousands of people every month as they battle to win tokens, weapons and supremacy of these surreal landscapes. The Politics of the Internet But the enthusiasm and capability to deliver such technology, now practicable, may be blunted by the politics of the Internet.
The United States effectively controls the Internet through ICANN who administer the IP addresses and root name servers for domains. Requests for an international domain governing body made at a three-day UN World Summit on the Information Society in November 2005 in Tunis went unresolved save for an agreement to form an Internet Governance Forum. There is no doubt the United States is reluctant to relinquish control of such a powerful medium as the Internet and perhaps distrustful of the competency of a mixed international body to administrate it efficiently or securely.
The coming decade will no doubt usher in the next generation of both ultra high-speed communications and the software and digital media able to exploit it. But for some it is a chilling thought that the Internet will become the communications platform of the world. Why? Because even though it is becoming ever more speedy and reliable, it is also prone to attack. Not as envisaged in the Cold War years from nuclear missiles whose electromagnetic pulses would render the router controlling microchips dead but by attacks from within, attacks by hackers, criminals or terrorist groups intent on crippling it.
The Internet does have an innate redundancy but the very speed with which files may be transmitted means it can take just milliseconds for thousands of computers to be infected by a virus. Firewalls and sophisticated anti-proliferation contingency firmware in routers go only so far to preventing such attacks. Internet Identities Perhaps the introduction of unique internet identities assigned to individuals would go some way to thwarting cyber criminals.
Internet access would be granted once the user could be identified personally and all originating packet traffic for the session duration would hold their encrypted signature in much the same way as the TCP/IP envelope contains addressing information. Attempts to commit malicious acts might then be traced to the individual and not the originating computer, and act as a deterrent. How contentious an issue internet identities is depends on an individual's stance The exponential growth of the Internet has been phenomenal. Or has it?
Perhaps it is only to be expected when the cumulative acts of creation culminate in the proliferation of Mankind's greatest achievement: the ability to communicate – but globally and with astonishing, lightning speed. Once the preserve of the scientific and military communities, the Internet has now blossomed into a vehicle of expression and research for the common person with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new pages being added to the World Wide Web every day and tens of millions of searches being performed through our ubiquitous search engines, the likes of Google, Yahoo! Bing and other portals to the Internet delivering results to queries in our incessant quest for information. In the Begining Some 45 years ago the search for knowledge was no less insatiable but the storage, collation, selection and retrieval technologies were rudimentary and the expense enormous by today's standards. 65 years past, with WWII at an end and the might, energy and focused intellect of galvanised nations waning war, the first computers were being built along with man-machine interfaces.
It is at this time that visionaries first hinted at the possibilities of extending human intellect by automating mundane, repetitive processes, devolving them to machines. One such man, Vannevar Bush, in his 1945 essay, 'As We May Think' envisaged a time when a machine called a 'memex' might enhance human memory by the storage and retrieval of documents linked by association, in much the same way as the cognitive processes of the brain link and enforce memories by association. Post War Development of the Internet
Bush's contribution to computing science, although remarkable, was far less critical than his efforts to unite the military and scientific communities together with business leaders, resulting in the birth of the National Defence Research Committee (NDRC) which was later to become the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). In short, Bush galvanised research into technology as the key determinant in winning the Second World War and established respect for science within the military.
A few years after the war the National Science Foundation (NSF) was setup, paving the way for subsequent government backed scientific institutions and ensuring the American nation's commitment to scientific research. Then in 1958, perhaps in direct response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was created, and, in 1962, employed a psychologist by the name of Joseph Licklider.
He built upon Bush's contributions by presaging the development of the modern PC and computer networking, and was responsible for penning 'Man Computer Symbiosis', a paper on the relationship of man and machine. Having acquired a computer from the US Air Force and heading up a couple of research teams, he initiated research contracts with leading computer institutions and companies who would later go on to form the ARPANET and lay down the foundations of the first networked computing group.
Together they overcame problems associated with connecting computers delivered from different manufacturers whose disparate communications protocols meant direct communications was unsustainable, if not impossible. It is interesting to note that Lick was not primarily a computer man; he was a psychologist interested in the functionality of human thought but his considerations on the working of the human mind brought him into the fold of computing as a natural extension of his interest.
Another key player, Douglas Engelbart, entered web history at this point. After gaining his Ph. D. in electrical engineering and an Assistant Professorship at Berkeley, he setup a research laboratory – the Augmentation Research Center – to examine the human interface and storage and retrieval systems, producing NLS (oNLine System) with ARPA funding, the first system to use hypertext (coined by Ted Nelson in 1965) for collation of documents – and is credited as the developer of the first mouse or pointing device.
All the while visionary minds were laying the groundwork for the Internet, the hardware giants were consolidating their computing initiatives: Bell produced the first 300 baud commercial modem, the Bell 103, sold by ATT; DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) released the PDP-8 mass-produced minicomputer; and the first live transatlantic TV broadcast took place via ATT's Telstar 1 satellite. Credit must be afforded another thinker, Paul Baran, for conceiving the use of packets, small chunks of a message which could be reconstituted at destination, upon which current internet transmission and reception is based.
Working at the RAND Corporation and with funding from government grants into Cold War technology, Baran examined the workings of data transmission systems, specifically, their survivability in the advent of nuclear attack. He turned to the idea of distributed networks comprising numerous interconnected nodes. Should one node fail the remainder of the network would still function. Across this network his packets of information would be routed and switched to take the optimum route and reconstructed at their destination into the original whole message.
Modern day packet switching is controlled automatically by such routers. Article: The Internet Explained written by Vincent Zegna and Mike Pepper for Sonet Digital November 2005 So how does the Internet work? It is important to remember the Internet is a network of computer networks interconnected by communications lines of various compositions and speeds. Interspersed across this immense network are routers which either guide traffic to specific destinations or keep it within well defined areas.
This vastness of scale can be distilled into two basic actions: requests for information and the servicing of such requests, which forms the relationship between the two types of computer using the Internet: clients and servers. Whether connected to a local area network (LAN) at a place of business or attached by cable modem from home, computers requesting information across a network or the Web are generally regarded as clients; machines supplying the information are servers.
In practice the distinction is less polarised, with many computers both requesting and delivering information, but the premise forms the basis of the Internet. Servers often perform specific duties: web servers hosting websites, email servers forwarding and collecting email, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers uploading and downloading files. Acess to the World Wide Web Access to the Web for home users is achieved by dial-up modem, cable (broadband or ADSL), Fibre-Optic, or wireless connection to their ISP (Internet Service Provider); business users will typically be connected to a ocal area network and gain access via a communications server or gateway, which is again linked through an ISP to the Web. ISPs themselves may be connected to larger ISPs, leasing high speed fibre-optic communications lines. Each of these forms a gateway to the Web with the largest maintaining the 'backbones' of the Web through which run the international 'pipes' connecting the world's networks. Addressing the Web
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is the governing set of protocols used for transmitting information over the Internet. It establishes and manages the connection between two computers and the packets of data sent between them. Each computer connected to the Internet has a unique IP address assigned to it, either dynamically at the moment of connection or for a period of a day or so, or (for all intents and purposes) a fixed or static address like that assigned to a web or name server hosting websites.
The current version of IP, version 4, allows for 4. 3 billion unique addresses – thought more than adequate a few years ago but, as there are now only a billion left, no longer sufficient to address not only the volume of new users and hosts coming online but also the influx of new technologies demanding attendant IP addresses such as those associated with smart internet-enabled machines like auto-ordering fridges, Pepsi dispensers and media centres and now internet phones.
However, the shortfall is being remedied with the emergence of IPv6 and its 340 billion billion billion address slots which not guarantees practically limitless web access but also offers intrinsic unbreakable security encryption levels. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers is the non-profit North American organisation responsible for Internet IP address space allocation and DNS management, among other technical management functions.
Most users have no need to know the unique identities of computers with which they communicate since software deals with this on their PC, they simply address their email to whomever or logon to their shared network drive and drill down folders to load a file to work on. An IP address looks like 194. 79. 28. 133, a cluster of four numbers known as octets. People don't think of addresses in such a way – although they have been forced to for some time with phone and cell numbers and their PINs for credit cards – but, as with email, use names as mnemonics.
As the Internet grew, it became obvious users seeking specific machines would need some method of identifying and recalling computers quite apart from IP addresses. Article: The Interent Explained - Part 4: The Internet in Practice written by Vincent Zegna and Mike Pepper for Sonet Digital November 2005 Positive effects have been instant communication; being able to meet people you generally would not have without it.
Negative effects, more people get into pornography to make money,, children are stalked and abused/kidnapped, we are becoming a less physically interactive society. Positive effects include being able to talk to people from other countries, being able to talk to your friends, it makes sending and receiving information easier. The negative affects of the computer included older men being able to rape children easier, identity theft, instructions on how to do bad things, porn, and it makes people lazy. Negative... fewer people interact with people in person.