The Internet (November 9, 1995)

By: Nitin Julka 



Information and communication have been in all civilizations. The telegraph was the first way of communicating between remote locations. Then came the telephone, fax, and modem. Now, the internet is a new way of distributing information. The Internet is a widely-used computer-based network of information that provides the user with tools such as E-mail and Telnet.


The internet has mostly been called a “Network of Networks.” A network is two or more systems in different locations that share the same programming or computers. The Internet really stands for Internetwork System. In 1985, 100 networks joined and formed the Internet. Since then the Internet has developed into the biggest information source. It consists of World Wide Web, which is the process of getting information super fast, using hypertext. The Internet is a connection computers world wide. New computer arrive in the Internet every day. Internet servers are at education, government, and corporate sites. Forty million people have access to the Internet.


The Internet is not dependent on one single system for its maintenance. Every system of the Internet maintains itself.


The Internet works with an Internal Protocol. A protocol is a set of conventions that determines how data will be exchanged between different programs. A wire takes data from place to place. Protocols enable taking in the data and sending it where it is needed. Information is broken down into packets with a size of about 1600 characters. TCP is another way protocols are used. TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol. TCP takes information, then breaks it down, and numbers each piece. Then the information goes through the network and TCP puts all the information back together again at the end.


Packet Switching is another way that information travels. Packet Switching requires no dedicated network. That means it requires no absolute connection. All the information sent as a whole, then sorted at the end.  A good analogy of this is the postal office. The phone is quite a bad analogy. The phone makes a direct connection between only two people or network. A Post Office takes all the mail it receives and sorts it at the end. An Internal Protocol passes packets from place to place.


Packet Switching and Protocols are specific ways which the Internet works. It also needs bridges, gateways, and routers. Bridges connect two networks so they appear as one big one. Gateways are converters that change it so different protocols can connect. Routers connect two or more networks.


There are many tools on the Internet. The three major tools are E-mail, remote login, and file transfer. E-mail is the sending of messages. Remote login is the accessing of information from another remote computer. File transfer is the transferring of files from one place to another. This uses FTP, or File Transfer Protocol. With TFP any file needed can be searched.


Other tools are Telnet, Fidonet, Archie, and WAIS. Telnet is also known as remote login; that is connecting of computers from remote locations. Fidonet is a system, not really a tool, on the Internet. Fidonet began in 1984. It is a message based system connected to BBSes. BBSes are Bulletin Board Systems. Archie is a service used to search files by description. WAIS is a server that is a directory of other servers.


Gopher is another tool that the Internet consist of. It helps you go from place to place across the Internet. It’s a lookup tool that lets you prowl through the Internet by selecting resources from menus. TELNET is available through gopher. File Transfer Protocol is also available through Gopher.


E-mail is the Internet’s most useful tool. Electronic Mail is the transfer of a message from one system to another. It is when a message is sent across a network to the person addressed to. E-mail is a fast, formal message that can be sent anywhere world wide. It’s instant communication. It can be used to send mail to a group of people simultaneously.


E-mail works with no direct connection to the destination of the message. Mail goes from place to place until it reaches its destination. There are two parts of an e-mail message ; the header and the actual message.  The header information is information about the sender, recipient, and subject. Then there is the actual message.


The e-mail address is a lot like a postal address because it tells the system or main body where the message should go. The address is setup a little differently though. The address is setup UserID@domain. Usually there is an ending such as com., edu, int, mil, or org. If there is, a COM then it means commercial organization, edu means educational organization, int means international organization (e.g. NATO), mil means military organization, org means anything else. The president’s address is: The Vice President’s address is For the president the mail is sent electronically is handled just like regular postal mail, but no postage stamp is needed.


Options on E-mail help make it Internet’s most useful tool. There are signature files, carbon copies, and attached documents, which are also known as attached files. Carbon Copies means the sending of a message to several addresses. Signature files are often used to say who you are. Attached documents are files sent along with the message.


The future of the Internet looks bright and is something everyone should look forward to. One thing that the future holds is standard protocols. There will be no need for converters. OSI right now is trying to become the standardized protocol. The problem with OSI is that some people would prefer other protocols. The future of Internet holds more international connections. Also there will be more commercial uses of Internet. Commercial businesses have always been on the Internet, but only for research and development. Now, commercial organizations are finding new and innovative uses for the Internet.


The Internet is a huge information source, and an ever-growing network. The Internet is something that everyone should learn how to use and something very simple. Instant communication is very useful. The connection of computers, the “network of networks,” the Internet truly is changing the world today.

Nitin Julka,
May 22, 2013, 10:06 AM