The Internet, or ‘net, is a vast network of computers that connects
many of the world’s businesses, institutions, and individuals. The
Internet is composed of many parts, including the World Wide Web, FTP,
IRC, Newsgroups, Gopher, WAIS, Archie, and of course Electronic Mail
The Internet is mainly used for communication. Email is the most
heavily used resource of the Internet- over 40 million email messages
are sent through the Internet a day. The second most used resource,
called the World Wide Web, or WWW, consists of pages of words, images,
sounds, and video.
The Internet is continuing to grow at 40% a year, with about 20 million
users, mainly in USA, Canada, and Australia, but still many all over the
world. You can do many things on the Internet, such as shop for just
about anything, bank and manage money, watch and listen to live cable
televison and radio broadcasts, talk to other users with voice like a
telephone, conduct international meetings, and access all kinds of
information on any subject imaginable.
As mentioned earlier, the WWW consists of pages and pages of text,
images, sounds, and video. Unlike pages in a book, there is no maximum
size for a page, and there is HyperText Links. If you click on any one
of these links, the computer will automatically go to the page specified
by the link. The WWW is programmed in a computer language called Hyper
Text Markup Language, or HTML.
Searching the Web can be a difficult thing to do, or if you use a
search engine, it can be really easy. Since so many new web pages are
added to the Web a day, a very good index is hard to keep, and an
alphabetical listing of millions of web pages would be almost impossible
to navigate through. To help this problem, people developed search
engines that search the Web for you. Some search engines, like Yahoo,
search in a big web directory they have made of hundreds of thousands of
web pages, that is organized like a phonebook. Other search engines,
like Alta Vista, or Magellan, search in a list of Web pages it has
created as it surfed the web all by it’s self.
People usually access the Internet through a computer using a device
called a modem. Modems connect people to the ‘net through telephone
lines. Some companies, and the “heart” of the Internet, Use Fiber-Optic
cables to connect. Fiber-Optic cabled are made of hair-thin strands of
glass that carry information at the speed of light as pulses of light.
Fiber-Optics are thousands of times faster than standard copper
The Internet began in the 1960’s. In 1962, the Advanced Research
Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense
developed a network of computers called ARPAnet. At first, this network
only connected military and government computer systems. The purpose was
to make all information safe, so that in disaster or war, if one
computer was destroyed, it’s information would not be lost.
In 1966, the ARPAnet was expanded to include universities and other
institutions. One of the first universities to be added was Utah State
University. Soon, large companies and corporations were added, too. By
1990, anyone with a computer, a modem, and Internet software could
connect to the Internet.
There are many things in the future of the ‘net, including video
conferencing, online virtual reality worlds, and faster Internet