HOME
TheInfoList



The Internet ( or internet) is the global system of interconnected
computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes. The interconnections between nodes are ...
s that uses the
Internet protocol suite The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
(TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked
hypertext Douglas Engelbart in 2009, at the 40th anniversary celebrations of "The Mother of All Demos" in San Francisco, a 90-minute 1968 presentation of the NLS (computer system)">NLS computer system which was a combination of hardware and softwa ...
documents and
applications Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks ** Application layer, an abstraction layer that specifies protocols and interface methods used in a co ...
of the
World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, such as ...
(WWW),
electronic mail upThe email_address.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_message ...

electronic mail
,
telephony Telephony ( ) is the field of technology involving the development, application, and deployment of telecommunication services for the purpose of electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data, between distant parties. The history of telephony is in ...
, and
file sharing File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia (audio, images and video), documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of ...
. The origins of the Internet date back to the development of
packet switching In telecommunications, packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into ''packets''. Packets are made of a header and a payload. Data in the header is used by networking hardware to direct the packet to ...

packet switching
and research commissioned by the
United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security ...
in the 1960s to enable
time-sharing In computing, time-sharing is the sharing of a computing resource among many users at the same time by means of multiprogramming and multi-tasking.DEC Timesharing (1965), by Peter Clark, The DEC Professional, Volume 1, Number 1 Its emergence as ...
of computers. The primary precursor network, the
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foun ...
, initially served as a backbone for interconnection of regional academic and military networks in the 1970s. The funding of the
National Science Foundation Network The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) was a program of coordinated, evolving projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1985 to 1995 to promote advanced research and education networking in the United States. The pr ...
as a new backbone in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial extensions, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The linking of commercial networks and enterprises by the early 1990s marked the beginning of the transition to the modern Internet, and generated a sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional,
personal Personal may refer to: Aspects of persons' respective individualities * Privacy * Personality * Personal, personal advertisement, variety of classified advertisement used to find romance or friendship Companies * Personal, Inc., a Washington, D. ...
, and mobile
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as programs. These programs enable computers to perform a wid ...

computer
s were connected to the network. Although the Internet was widely used by
academia An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary or tertiary higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the worldwide group composed of professors and researchers at in ...
in the 1980s,
commercializationCommercialization or commercialisation is the process of introducing a new product or production method into commerce—making it available on the market. The term often connotes especially entry into the mass market (as opposed to entry into earlier ...
incorporated its services and technologies into virtually every aspect of modern life. Most traditional communication media, including telephony, radio, television, paper mail and newspapers are reshaped, redefined, or even bypassed by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as email,
Internet telephony Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet te ...
,
Internet television Streaming television is the digital distribution of television content, such as TV shows, as streaming media delivered over the Internet. Streaming TV stands in contrast to dedicated terrestrial television delivered by over-the-air aerial system ...
,
online music A digital music store is a business that sells digital audio files of music recordings over the Internet. Customers gain ownership of a license to use the files, in contrast to a music streaming service, where they listen to recordings without gai ...
, digital newspapers, and
video streaming Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end user while being delivered by a provider over the Internet. The verb ''to stream'' refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in a continuous mann ...
websites. Newspaper, book, and other print publishing are adapting to
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable examples are wikipedia.org, google.com, and amazon.com. All publ ...
technology, or are reshaped into
blogging A blog (a truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so ...
,
web feed On the World Wide Web, a web feed (or news feed) is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. Content distributors ''syndicate'' a web feed, thereby allowing users to ''subscribe'' a channel to it by adding the feed r ...
s and online
news aggregator In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply an aggregator, is client software or a web application that aggregates syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts ...
s. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of personal interactions through
instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
,
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporari ...
s, and
social networking service A social networking service (also social networking site or social media) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backg ...
s.
Online shopping Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser or a mobile app. Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the ret ...
has grown exponentially for major retailers,
small business Small businesses are privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships which have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation. Businesses are defined as "small" in terms of being able ...
es, and
entrepreneur Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values than simply e ...
s, as it enables firms to extend their "
brick and mortar Brick and mortar (also bricks and mortar or B&M) refers to a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure. The term ''brick-and-mortar business'' is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases re ...
" presence to serve a larger market or even sell goods and services entirely online.
Business-to-business Business-to-business (B2B or, in some countries, BtoB) is a situation where one business makes a commercial transaction with another. This typically occurs when: * A business is sourcing materials for their production process for output (e.g., ...
and
financial services Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, cons ...
on the Internet affect
supply chain In commerce, a supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in supplying a product or service to a consumer. Supply chain activities involve the transformation of natural resources, raw materia ...

supply chain
s across entire industries. The Internet has no single centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies. The overreaching definitions of the two principal
name space In computing, a namespace is a set of signs (''names'') that are used to identify and refer to objects of various kinds. A namespace ensures that all of a given set of objects have unique names so that they can be easily identified. Namespaces a ...
s in the Internet, the
Internet Protocol address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.RFC 760, ''DOD Standard Internet Protocol'', DARPA, Information Sciences In ...
(IP address) space and the
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of th ...
(DNS), are directed by a maintainer organization, the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) is an American multistakeholder group and nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces a ...
(ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols is an activity of the
Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membershi ...
(IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise. In November 2006, the Internet was included on ''
USA Today ''USA Today'' (stylized as ''USA TODAY'') is an internationally distributed American daily middle-market newspaper that is the flagship publication of its owner, Gannett. Founded by Al Neuharth on September 15, 1982, it operates from Gannett's ...
s list of '' New Seven Wonders''.


Terminology

The word ''internetted'' was used as early as 1849, meaning ''interconnected'' or ''interwoven''. The word Internet was used in 1974 as the shorthand form of Internetwork. Today, the term ''Internet'' most commonly refers to the global system of interconnected
computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes. The interconnections between nodes are ...
s, though it may also refer to any group of smaller networks. When it came into common use, most publications treated the word as a capitalized
proper noun A proper noun is a noun that identifies a single entity and is used to refer to that entity, such as ''London'', ''Jupiter'', ''Sarah'', or ''Microsoft'', as distinguished from a common noun, which is a noun that refers to a class of entities ('' ...
; this has become less common. This reflects the tendency in English to capitalize new terms and move to lowercase as they become familiar. It is sometimes still capitalized to distinguish the global internet from smaller networks, though many publications, including the ''
AP Stylebook The ''AP Stylebook'', also known by its full name ''The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law'', is an American-English grammar style and usage guide created by American journalists working for or connected with the Associated Press ...
'', recommend the lowercase form in every case. In 2016, the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive res ...
'' found that, based on a study of around 2.5 billion printed and online sources, "Internet" was capitalized in 54% of cases. The terms ''internet'' and ''World Wide Web'' are often used interchangeably; it is common to speak of "going on the Internet" when using a
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web server and then dis ...
to view
web page#REDIRECT Web page#REDIRECT Web page {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

web pages. However, the
World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, such as ...
or ''the Web'' is only one of a large number of Internet services, a collection of documents (web pages) and other
web resource#REDIRECT Web resource {{R from other capitalisation ...
s, linked by
hyperlink In computing, a hyperlink, or simply a link, is a reference to data that the user can follow by clicking or tapping. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks. The text t ...
s and
URLs A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (U ...

URLs
.


History

In the 1960s, the
Advanced Research Projects Agency The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Adv ...
(ARPA) of the
United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security ...
funded research into
time-sharing In computing, time-sharing is the sharing of a computing resource among many users at the same time by means of multiprogramming and multi-tasking.DEC Timesharing (1965), by Peter Clark, The DEC Professional, Volume 1, Number 1 Its emergence as ...
of computers."So, who really did invent the Internet?"
, Ian Peter, The Internet History Project, 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
Research into
packet switching In telecommunications, packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into ''packets''. Packets are made of a header and a payload. Data in the header is used by networking hardware to direct the packet to ...

packet switching
, one of the fundamental Internet technologies, started in the work of
Paul Baran Paul Baran (born Pesach Baran ; April 29, 1926 – March 26, 2011) was a Polish-American engineer who was a pioneer in the development of computer networks. He was one of the two independent inventors of packet switching, which is today the domin ...
in the early 1960s and, independently,
Donald Davies Donald Watts Davies, (7 June 1924 – 28 May 2000) was a Welsh computer scientist who was employed at the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In 1965 he conceived of packet switching, which is today the dominant basis for data communicatio ...
in 1965.; After the
Symposium on Operating Systems PrinciplesThe Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), organized by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), is one of the most prestigious single-track academic conferences on operating systems. SOSP is held every other year, alternating with ...
in 1967, packet switching from the proposed
NPL network The NPL network or NPL Data Communications Network was a local area computer network operated by a team from the National Physical Laboratory in London that pioneered the concept of packet switching. Based on designs first proposed by Donald Davi ...
was incorporated into the design for the
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching network with distributed control and one of the first networks to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foun ...
and other resource sharing networks such as the
Merit Network Merit Network, Inc., is a nonprofit member-governed organization providing high-performance computer networking and related services to educational, government, health care, and nonprofit organizations, primarily in Michigan. Created in 1966, Merit ...
and
CYCLADES The Cyclades ( el, Κυκλάδες ) are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refer ...

CYCLADES
, which were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. ARPANET development began with two network nodes which were interconnected between the Network Measurement Center at the
University of California, Los Angeles The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA traces its early origins back to 1882 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San Jose State ...
(UCLA)
Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS), informally known as UCLA Engineering, is the school of engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It opened as the College of Engineering in 1945 and w ...
directed by
Leonard Kleinrock Leonard Kleinrock (born June 13, 1934) is an American computer scientist. A professor at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, he made several important contributions to the field of computer science, in particular to the ...
, and the NLS system at
SRI International SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit scientific research institute and organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The trustees of Stanford University established SRI in 1946 as a center of innovation to support economic de ...
(SRI) by
Douglas Engelbart Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an American engineer and inventor, and an early computer and Internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on founding the field of human–computer interaction, particularly ...
in Menlo Park, California, on 29 October 1969."Roads and Crossroads of Internet History"
by Gregory Gromov. 1995
The third site was the Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics Center at the
University of California, Santa Barbara The University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as ...
, followed by the
University of Utah The University of Utah (U of U, UofU, or simply The U) is a public research university in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the flagship institution of the Utah System of Higher Education. The university was established in 1850 as the University of Des ...

University of Utah
Graphics Department. In a sign of future growth, 15 sites were connected to the young ARPANET by the end of 1971. These early years were documented in the 1972 film '' Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing''. Early international collaborations for the ARPANET were rare. Connections were made in 1973 to the Norwegian Seismic Array (
NORSAR NORSAR or Norwegian Seismic Array was established in 1968 as part of the Norwegian-US agreement for the detection of earthquakes and nuclear explosions. Description Located at Kjeller, north of Oslo, NORSAR runs and maintains seismic arrays in Nor ...

NORSAR
) via a satellite station in Tanum, Sweden, and to Peter Kirstein's research group at
University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , established = , type = Public research university , endowment = £143 million , budget = £1.544 billion , chancellor = The Princess Royal , provost = Michael Spence , head_label ...
which provided a gateway to British academic networks. The ARPA projects and international working groups led to the development of various
protocols Protocol may refer to: Sociology and politics * Protocol (politics), a formal agreement between nation states * Protocol (diplomacy), the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state * Etiquette, a code of personal behavior Science and technology * ...
and standards by which multiple separate networks could become a single network or "a network of networks". In 1974,
Vint Cerf Vinton Gray Cerf (; born June 23, 1943) is an American Internet pioneer and is recognized as one of "the fathers of the Internet", sharing this title with TCP/IP co-developer Bob Kahn. He has received honorary degrees and awards that include the ...
and
Bob Kahn Robert Elliot Kahn (born December 23, 1938) is an American electrical engineer, who, along with Vint Cerf, first proposed the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental communication protocols at the heart ...
used the term ''internet'' as a shorthand for ''
internetwork Internetworking is the practice of interconnecting multiple computer networks, such that any pair of hosts in the connected networks can exchange messages irrespective of their hardware-level networking technology. The resulting system of interconne ...
'' in ',,
Vinton Cerf Vinton Gray Cerf (; born June 23, 1943) is an American Internet pioneer and is recognized as one of "the fathers of the Internet", sharing this title with TCP/IP co-developer Bob Kahn. He has received honorary degrees and awards that include the ...

Vinton Cerf
,
Yogen Dalal Instead of a single "inventor", the Internet was developed by many people over many years. The following are some Internet pioneers who contributed to its early development. These include early theoretical foundations, specifying original protocols ...
, Carl Sunshine, ''Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program'' (December 1974)
and later RFCs repeated this use. Cerf and Khan credit
Louis Pouzin Louis Pouzin (born 1931 in Chantenay-Saint-Imbert, Nièvre, France) is a French computer scientist. He designed an early packet communications network, CYCLADES. This network was the first actual implementation of the pure datagram model, initially ...
with important influences on
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
design. Commercial PTT providers were concerned with developing X.25
public data network A public data network (PDN) is a network established and operated by a telecommunications administration, or a recognized private operating agency, for the specific purpose of providing data transmission services for the public. The first network wa ...
s. Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the
National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Inst ...
(NSF) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In 1982, the
Internet Protocol Suite The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
(TCP/IP) was standardized, which permitted worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks. TCP/IP network access expanded again in 1986 when the
National Science Foundation Network The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) was a program of coordinated, evolving projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1985 to 1995 to promote advanced research and education networking in the United States. The pr ...
(NSFNet) provided access to
supercomputer by the largest supercomputer over time A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer. The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FL ...
sites in the United States for researchers, first at speeds of 56 kbit/s and later at 1.5 Mbit/s and 45 Mbit/s. The NSFNet expanded into academic and research organizations in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in 1988–89. Although other network protocols such as
UUCP UUCP is an acronym of Unix-to-Unix Copy. The term generally refers to a suite of computer programs and protocols allowing remote execution of commands and transfer of files, email and netnews between computers. A command named is one of the progr ...
had global reach well before this time, this marked the beginning of the Internet as an intercontinental network. Commercial
Internet service providers#REDIRECT Internet service provider {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
(ISPs) emerged in 1989 in the United States and Australia. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Steady advances in
semiconductor A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Its resistivity falls as its temperature rises; metals behave in the opposite way. Its co ...
technology and
optical networkingOptical networking is a means of communication that uses signals encoded in light to transmit information in various types of telecommunications networks. These include limited range local-area networks (LAN) or wide-area networks (WAN), which cross ...
created new economic opportunities for commercial involvement in the expansion of the network in its core and for delivering services to the public. In mid-1989, MCI Mail and
Compuserve#REDIRECT CompuServe#REDIRECT CompuServe {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
established connections to the Internet, delivering email and public access products to the half million users of the Internet. Just months later, on 1 January 1990, PSInet launched an alternate Internet backbone for commercial use; one of the networks that added to the core of the commercial Internet of later years. In March 1990, the first high-speed T1 (1.5 Mbit/s) link between the NSFNET and Europe was installed between
Cornell University Cornell University ( ) is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fiel ...
and
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborato ...
, allowing much more robust communications than were capable with satellites. Six months later
Tim Berners-Lee Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professo ...

Tim Berners-Lee
would begin writing
WorldWideWeb WorldWideWeb (later renamed to Nexus to avoid confusion between the software and the World Wide Web) is the first web browser and web page editor. It was discontinued in 1994. At the time it was written, it was the sole web browser in existence, a ...
, the first
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web server and then dis ...
, after two years of lobbying CERN management. By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web: the
HyperText Transfer Protocol The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web, where hypertext documents include hyper ...
(HTTP) 0.9, the
HyperText Markup Language The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript. ...
(HTML), the first Web browser (which was also a
HTML editor An HTML editor is a program for editing HTML, the markup of a web page. Although the HTML markup in a web page can be controlled with any text editor, specialized HTML editors can offer convenience and added functionality. For example, many HTML ed ...
and could access
Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was est ...
newsgroups and FTP files), the first HTTP
server software In computing, a server is a piece of computer hardware or software (computer program) that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model. Servers can provide various ...
(later known as
CERN httpd CERN httpd (later also known as W3C httpd) is an early, now discontinued, web server (HTTP) daemon originally developed at CERN from 1990 onwards by Tim Berners-Lee, Ari Luotonen and Henrik Frystyk Nielsen. Implemented in C, it was the first web se ...
), the first
web server A web server is computer software and underlying hardware that accepts requests via HTTP, the network protocol created to distribute web pages, or its secure variant HTTPS. A user agent, commonly a web browser or web crawler, initiates communica ...
, and the first Web pages that described the project itself. In 1991 the
Commercial Internet eXchange The Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX) was an early interexchange point that allowed the free exchange of TCP/IP traffic, including commercial traffic, between ISPs. It was an important initial effort toward creating the commercial Internet that we ...
was founded, allowing PSInet to communicate with the other commercial networks CERFnet and Alternet. Stanford Federal Credit Union was the first
financial institution Financial institutions, otherwise known as banking institutions, are corporations that provide services as intermediaries of financial markets. Broadly speaking, there are three major types of financial institutions: # Depository institutions ...
to offer online Internet banking services to all of its members in October 1994. In 1996,
OP Financial Group OP Financial Group is one of the largest financial companies in Finland. It consists of 180 cooperative banks and their central organization. “OP” stands for “osuuspankki” in Finnish, literally “cooperative bank”. The financial group ha ...
, also a
cooperative bank The Co-operative Bank plc is a retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom, with its headquarters in Balloon Street, Manchester. The Co-operative Bank is the only UK high street bank with a customer-led Ethical Policy which is incorporated ...
, became the second online bank in the world and the first in Europe. By 1995, the Internet was fully commercialized in the U.S. when the NSFNet was decommissioned, removing the last restrictions on use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic. As technology advanced and commercial opportunities fueled reciprocal growth, the volume of
Internet traffic Internet traffic is the flow of data within the entire Internet, or in certain network links of its constituent networks. Common traffic measurements are total volume, in units of multiples of the byte, or as transmission rates in bytes per certa ...
started experiencing similar characteristics as that of the scaling of
MOS transistor The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by the ...
s, exemplified by
Moore's law#REDIRECT Moore's law#REDIRECT Moore's law {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
, doubling every 18 months. This growth, formalized as
Edholm's law Edholm's law, proposed by and named after Phil Edholm, refers to the observation that the three categories of telecommunication, namely wireless (mobile), nomadic (wireless without mobility) and wired networks (fixed), are in lockstep and gradually ...
, was catalyzed by advances in
MOS technology The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by the ...
,
laser A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radia ...

laser
lightwave systems, and
noise Noise is unwanted sound considered unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing. From a physics standpoint, noise is indistinguishable from desired sound, as both are vibrations through a medium, such as air or water. The difference arises when the ...
performance. Since 1995, the Internet has tremendously impacted culture and commerce, including the rise of near instant communication by email,
instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
, telephony (
Voice over Internet Protocol Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet te ...
or VoIP), two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its
discussion forums An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporari ...
, blogs,
social networking service A social networking service (also social networking site or social media) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backg ...
s, and
online shopping Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce which allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser or a mobile app. Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the ret ...
sites. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1-Gbit/s, 10-Gbit/s, or more. The Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information and knowledge, commerce, entertainment and social networking services. During the late 1990s, it was estimated that traffic on the public Internet grew by 100 percent per year, while the mean annual growth in the number of Internet users was thought to be between 20% and 50%. This growth is often attributed to the lack of central administration, which allows organic growth of the network, as well as the non-proprietary nature of the Internet protocols, which encourages vendor interoperability and prevents any one company from exerting too much control over the network. , the estimated total number of
Internet users The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
was 2.095 billion (30.2% of
world population upright=1.3, Population growth graph In demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have reached 7,800,000,000 people . It took over 2 million years of human prehistory and history for ...

world population
). It is estimated that in 1993 the Internet carried only 1% of the information flowing through two-way
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasi ...
. By 2000 this figure had grown to 51%, and by 2007 more than 97% of all telecommunicated information was carried over the Internet.


Governance

The Internet is a
global network The Global Television Network (more commonly called Global, or occasionally Global TV) is a Canadian English-language terrestrial television network. It is currently Canada's second most-watched private terrestrial television network after CTV, ...
that comprises many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body. The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (
IPv4 Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and other packet-switched networks. IPv4 was the first version dep ...
and
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet. IPv6 ...
) is an activity of the
Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membershi ...
(IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise. To maintain interoperability, the principal
name space In computing, a namespace is a set of signs (''names'') that are used to identify and refer to objects of various kinds. A namespace ensures that all of a given set of objects have unique names so that they can be easily identified. Namespaces a ...
s of the Internet are administered by the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) is an American multistakeholder group and nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces a ...
(ICANN). ICANN is governed by an international board of directors drawn from across the Internet technical, business, academic, and other non-commercial communities. ICANN coordinates the assignment of unique identifiers for use on the Internet, including
domain name A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes. ...
s, IP addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters. Globally unified name spaces are essential for maintaining the global reach of the Internet. This role of ICANN distinguishes it as perhaps the only central coordinating body for the global Internet.
Regional Internet registries A regional Internet registry (RIR) is an organization that manages the allocation and registration of Internet number resources within a region of the world. Internet number resources include IP addresses and autonomous system (AS) numbers. The ...
(RIRs) were established for five regions of the world. The African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) for
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
, the
American Registry for Internet Numbers The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is the regional Internet registry for Canada, the United States, and many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands. ARIN manages the distribution of Internet number resources, including IPv4 and IPv6 ...
(ARIN) for
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...

North America
, the
Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre APNIC (the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) is the regional Internet address registry (RIR) for the Asia-Pacific region. It is one of the world's five RIRs and is part of the Number Resource Organization (NRO). APNIC provides numbers ...
(APNIC) for
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with b ...
and the
Pacific region The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia ...
, the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) for
Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions = , demonym = Latin American , countries = 20 , dependencies = 14 , languages = Romance languages Ot ...
and the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
region, and the Réseaux IP Européens – Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) for
Europe Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlant ...
, the
Middle East The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes Western Asia (except for Transcaucasia), all of Egypt (mostly in North Africa), and Turkey (partly in Southeast Europe). The term has come into wider usa ...

Middle East
, and
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Russian-ruled, later Soviet ...

Central Asia
were delegated to assign IP address blocks and other Internet parameters to local registries, such as
Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s, from a designated pool of addresses set aside for each region. The
National Telecommunications and Information Administration The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves as the President's principal adviser on telecommunications policies pertaining to the United States' econo ...
, an agency of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision makin ...
, had final approval over changes to the
DNS root zone The DNS root zone is the top-level DNS zone in the hierarchical namespace of the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet. Before 1 October 2016, the root zone had been overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) whi ...
until the IANA stewardship transition on 1 October 2016. The
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy. Its mission is "to promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Int ...
(ISOC) was founded in 1992 with a mission to ''"assure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world"''. Its members include individuals (anyone may join) as well as corporations,
organizations An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an institution, or an association – comprising one or more people and having a particular purpose. The word is derived ...
, governments, and universities. Among other activities ISOC provides an administrative home for a number of less formally organized groups that are involved in developing and managing the Internet, including: the IETF,
Internet Architecture Board The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is "a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and an advisory body of the Internet Society (ISOC). Its responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, Internet Standards Pr ...
(IAB),
Internet Engineering Steering Group The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membershi ...
(IESG),
Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = , abbreviation = IRTF , motto ...
(IRTF), and
Internet Research Steering GroupThe Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = ...
(IRSG). On 16 November 2005, the United Nations-sponsored
World Summit on the Information Society The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was a two-phase United Nations-sponsored summit on information, communication and, in broad terms, the information society that took place in 2003 in Geneva and in 2005 in Tunis. One of its chief a ...
in
Tunis ''Tounsi'' french: Tunisois , population_note = , population_urban = , population_metro = 2869529 , population_density_km2 = , timezone1 = CET , utc_offset1 ...
established the
Internet Governance Forum The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multistakeholder governance group for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. It brings together all stakeholders in the Internet governance debate, whether they represent governments, the private ...
(IGF) to discuss Internet-related issues.


Infrastructure

The communications infrastructure of the Internet consists of its hardware components and a system of software layers that control various aspects of the architecture. As with any computer network, the Internet physically consists of routers, media (such as cabling and radio links), repeaters, modems etc. However, as an example of
internetworking Internetworking is the practice of interconnecting multiple computer networks, such that any pair of hosts in the connected networks can exchange messages irrespective of their hardware-level networking technology. The resulting system of interconne ...
, many of the network nodes are not necessarily internet equipment per se, the internet packets are carried by other full-fledged networking protocols with the Internet acting as a homogeneous networking standard, running across
heterogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the sciences and statistics relating to the uniformity of a substance or organism. A material or image that is homogeneous is uniform in composition or character (i.e. color, shape, size, we ...
hardware, with the packets guided to their destinations by IP routers.


Service tiers

Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s (ISPs) establish the worldwide connectivity between individual networks at various levels of scope. End-users who only access the Internet when needed to perform a function or obtain information, represent the bottom of the routing hierarchy. At the top of the routing hierarchy are the
tier 1 network A Tier 1 network is an Internet Protocol (IP) network that can reach every other network on the Internet solely via settlement-free interconnection (also known as settlement-free peering). Tier 1 networks can exchange traffic with other Tier 1 netw ...
s, large telecommunication companies that exchange traffic directly with each other via very high speed fibre optic cables and governed by
peering In computer networking, peering is a voluntary interconnection of administratively separate Internet networks for the purpose of exchanging traffic between the users of each network. The pure definition of peering is settlement-free, also known as ...
agreements. Tier 2 and lower level networks buy
Internet transit Internet transit is the service of allowing network traffic to cross or "transit" a computer network, usually used to connect a smaller Internet service provider (ISP) to the larger Internet. Technically, it consists of two bundled services: * The a ...
from other providers to reach at least some parties on the global Internet, though they may also engage in peering. An ISP may use a single upstream provider for connectivity, or implement
multihoming Multihoming is the practice of connecting a host or a computer network to more than one network. This can be done in order to increase reliability or performance. A typical host or end-user network is connected to just one network. Connecting to ...
to achieve redundancy and load balancing.
Internet exchange point#REDIRECT Internet exchange point {{R from other capitalisation ...
s are major traffic exchanges with physical connections to multiple ISPs. Large organizations, such as academic institutions, large enterprises, and governments, may perform the same function as ISPs, engaging in peering and purchasing transit on behalf of their internal networks. Research networks tend to interconnect with large subnetworks such as GEANT, GLORIAD,
Internet2 Internet2 is a not-for-profit United States computer networking consortium led by members from the research and education communities, industry, and government. The Internet2 consortium administrative headquarters are located in Ann Arbor, Mic ...

Internet2
, and the UK's
national research and education network#REDIRECT National research and education network {{R from other capitalisation ...
,
JANET Janet is a high-speed network for the UK research and education community provided by Jisc, a not-for-profit company set up to provide computing support for education. It serves 18 million users and is the busiest National Research and Education ...
.


Access

Common methods of
Internet access Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the World Wide Web. Internet access is sold by Internet ser ...
by users include dial-up with a computer
modem A modulator-demodulator, or simply a modem, is a hardware device that converts data from a digital format, intended for communication directly between devices with specialized wiring, into one suitable for a transmission medium such as telepho ...
via telephone circuits,
broadband In telecommunications, broadband is wide bandwidth data transmission which transports multiple signals and traffic types. The medium can be coaxial cable, optical fiber, radio or twisted pair. In the context of Internet access, broadband is used ...
over
coaxial cable Coaxial cable, or coax (pronounced ) is a type of electrical cable consisting of an inner conductor surrounded by a concentric conducting shield, with the two separated by a dielectric (insulating material); many coaxial cables also have a protec ...
,
fiber optics An optical fiber (or fibre in British English) is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass (silica) or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair. Optical fibers are used most often as a means to transmit ligh ...
or copper wires,
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi () is a family of wireless network protocols, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access, allowing nearby digital devices to exchange data by radio waves. ...

Wi-Fi
,
satellite In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally placed into orbit. These objects are called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon. On 4 October 1957 the Sovi ...
, and
cellular telephone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls over a radio frequency link while the user is ...
technology (e.g. 3G,
4G 4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G, and preceding 5G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP ...
). The Internet may often be accessed from computers in libraries and
Internet cafe The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
s. Internet access points exist in many public places such as airport halls and coffee shops. Various terms are used, such as ''public Internet kiosk'', ''public access terminal'', and ''Web
payphone A payphone (alternative spelling: pay phone) is typically a coin-operated public telephone, often located in a telephone booth or in high-traffic outdoor areas, with pre-payment by inserting money (usually coins) or by billing a credit or debit ...
''. Many hotels also have public terminals that are usually fee-based. These terminals are widely accessed for various usages, such as ticket booking, bank deposit, or online payment. Wi-Fi provides wireless access to the Internet via local computer networks.
Hotspots#REDIRECT Hotspot {{R from ambiguous term ...
providing such access include , where users need to bring their own wireless devices such as a laptop or
PDA The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widespread adoption of highly capable smartphones ...
. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based.
Grassroots A grassroots movement is one that uses the people in a given district, region, or community as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations use collective action from the local level to effect change at t ...
efforts have led to
wireless community network Wireless community networks (WCNs) or wireless community projects are organizations that take a grassroots approach to providing a viable alternative to municipal wireless networks for consumers. Many of these organizations set up wireless mesh ne ...
s. Commercial Wi-Fi services that cover large areas are available in many cities, such as
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * ''Ne ...

New York
,
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...
,
Vienna en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = W , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code = , timezone = CET , utc_offset ...
,
Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016, it is the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. The city is the anchor of the Golden ...
,
San Francisco San Francisco (/ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish for "Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern California. San Francisco is the 16th most populous city in ...
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2019 estimated population o ...
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivisio ...

Chicago
and
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States and the county seat of Allegheny County. An estimated population of about 300,286 residents live within the city limits as of 2019, making it the 66th-largest city in th ...
, where the Internet can then be accessed from places such as a park bench. Experiments have also been conducted with proprietary mobile wireless networks like
Ricochet A ricochet ( ; ) is a rebound, bounce, or skip off a surface, particularly in the case of a projectile. Most ricochets are caused by accident and while the force of the deflection decelerates the projectile, it can still be energetic and almost as ...
, various high-speed data services over cellular networks, and fixed wireless services. Modern
smartphone A smartphone is a mobile device that combines cellular and mobile computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wid ...
s can also access the Internet through the cellular carrier network. For Web browsing, these devices provide applications such as
Google Chrome Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows built with free software components from Apple WebKit and Mozilla Firefox. It was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS, and Andr ...
,
Safari A safari () is an overland journey to hunt or (in more recent times) observe wild animals, especially in east or southern Africa. The so-called Big Five game animals of Africa – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo – partic ...
, and
Firefox Firefox Browser, also known as Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, ...
and a wide variety of other Internet software may be installed from app-stores. Internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October 2016.


Mobile communication


''World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018''
The
International Telecommunication Union 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies. Established in 1865 as the International Tele ...
(ITU) estimated that, by the end of 2017, 48% of individual users regularly connect to the Internet, up from 34% in 2012.
Mobile Internet The mobile web refers to browser-based World Wide Web services accessed from handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones or feature phones, through a mobile or other wireless network. History and development Traditionally, the World Wide Web ...
connectivity has played an important role in expanding access in recent years especially in Asia and the Pacific and in Africa. The number of unique mobile cellular subscriptions increased from 3.89 billion in 2012 to 4.83 billion in 2016, two-thirds of the world's population, with more than half of subscriptions located in Asia and the Pacific. The number of subscriptions is predicted to rise to 5.69 billion users in 2020. , almost 60% of the world's population had access to a
4G 4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G, and preceding 5G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP ...
broadband cellular network, up from almost 50% in 2015 and 11% in 2012. The limits that users face on accessing information via mobile applications coincide with a broader process of fragmentation of the Internet. Fragmentation restricts access to media content and tends to affect poorest users the most.
Zero-rating Zero-rating is the practice of providing Internet access without financial cost under certain conditions, such as by permitting access to only certain websites or by subsidizing the service with advertising or by exempting certain websites from t ...
, the practice of
Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider#REDIRECT Internet service provider {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s allowing users free connectivity to access specific content or applications without cost, has offered opportunities to surmount economic hurdles, but has also been accused by its critics as creating a two-tiered Internet. To address the issues with zero-rating, an alternative model has emerged in the concept of 'equal rating' and is being tested in experiments by
Mozilla Mozilla (stylized as moz://a) is a free software community founded in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards, with ...

Mozilla
and
Orange Orange most often refers to: *Orange (colour), occurs between red and yellow in the visible spectrum *Orange (fruit), the fruit of the tree species '' Citrus'' × ''sinensis'' ** Orange blossom, its fragrant flower *Some other citrus or citrus-li ...
in Africa. Equal rating prevents prioritization of one type of content and zero-rates all content up to a specified data cap. A study published by
Chatham House Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is an independent policy institute headquartered in London. Its mission is to provide authoritative commentary on world events and offer solutions to global challenges. It ...
, 15 out of 19 countries researched in
Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions = , demonym = Latin American , countries = 20 , dependencies = 14 , languages = Romance languages Ot ...
had some kind of hybrid or zero-rated product offered. Some countries in the region had a handful of plans to choose from (across all mobile network operators) while others, such as
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in South America with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east ...

Colombia
, offered as many as 30 pre-paid and 34 post-paid plans. A study of eight countries in the
Global South The Global South is a term often used to identify lower income countries on one side of the so-called global North–South divide, the other side being the countries of the Global North. As such the term does not inherently refer to a geograph ...
found that zero-rated data plans exist in every country, although there is a great range in the frequency with which they are offered and actually used in each. The study looked at the top three to five carriers by market share in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru and Philippines. Across the 181 plans examined, 13 per cent were offering zero-rated services. Another study, covering
Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It spans along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, sharing borders with the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east, the Gulf of Guine ...
,
Kenya Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya ( sw, Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Eastern Africa. At , Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 47.6 million people in the 2019 census, Kenya is the ...
,
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlanti ...
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
, found
Facebook Facebook (stylized as ) is an American online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, and a flagship service of the namesake company Facebook, Inc. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard ...

Facebook
's Free Basics and Wikipedia Zero to be the most commonly zero-rated content.


Internet Protocol Suite

The Internet standards describe a framework known as the
Internet protocol suite The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
(also called
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
, based on the first two components.) This is a suite of protocols that are ordered into a set of four conceptional
layers Layer or layered may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Albums *''Layers'' (Kungs album) *''Layers'' (Les McCann album) *''Layers'' (Royce da 5'9" album) Songs *"Layers", the title track of Royce da 5'9"'s sixth studio album Other us ...
by the scope of their operation, originally documented in and . At the top is the
application layer An application layer is an abstraction layer that specifies the shared communications protocols and interface methods used by hosts in a communications network. The application layer abstraction is used in both of the standard models of computer ...
, where communication is described in terms of the objects or data structures most appropriate for each application. For example, a web browser operates in a client–server application model and exchanges information with the
Hypertext Transfer Protocol The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web, where hypertext documents include hyper ...
(HTTP) and an application-germane data structure, such as the
Hypertext Markup Language The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript. ...
(HTML). Below this top layer, the
transport layer In computer networking, the transport layer is a conceptual division of methods in the layered architecture of protocols in the network stack in the Internet protocol suite and the OSI model. The protocols of this layer provide host-to-host ...
connects applications on different hosts with a logical channel through the network. It provides this service with a variety of possible characteristics, such ordered, reliable delivery (TCP), and an unreliable datagram service (UDP). Underlying these layers are the networking technologies that interconnect networks at their borders and exchange traffic across them. The
Internet layer The internet layer is a group of internetworking methods, protocols, and specifications in the Internet protocol suite that are used to transport network packets from the originating host across network boundaries; if necessary, to the destination ...
implements the
Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet. IP has th ...
(IP) which enables computers to identify and locate each other by
IP address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.RFC 760, ''DOD Standard Internet Protocol'', DARPA, Information Sciences In ...
, and route their traffic via intermediate (transit) networks. The internet protocol layer code is independent of the type of network that it is physically running over. At the bottom of the architecture is the
link layer In computer networking, the link layer is the lowest layer in the Internet protocol suite, the networking architecture of the Internet. The link layer is the group of methods and communications protocols confined to the link that a host is physic ...
, which connects nodes on the same physical link, and contains protocols that do not require routers for traversal to other links. The protocol suite does not explicitly specify hardware methods to transfer bits, or protocols to manage such hardware, but assumes that appropriate technology is available. Examples of that technology include
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi () is a family of wireless network protocols, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access, allowing nearby digital devices to exchange data by radio waves. ...

Wi-Fi
,
Ethernet Ethernet () is a family of wired computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 ...
, and
DSL Digital subscriber line (DSL; originally digital subscriber loop) is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data over telephone lines. In telecommunications marketing, the term DSL is widely understood to mean asymmetric digi ...
.


Internet protocol

Image:IP stack connections.svg, Conceptual data flow in a simple network topology of two hosts (''A'' and ''B'') connected by a link between their respective routers. The application on each host executes read and write operations as if the processes were directly connected to each other by some kind of data pipe. After establishment of this pipe, most details of the communication are hidden from each process, as the underlying principles of communication are implemented in the lower protocol layers. In analogy, at the transport layer the communication appears as host-to-host, without knowledge of the application data structures and the connecting routers, while at the internetworking layer, individual network boundaries are traversed at each router. The most prominent component of the Internet model is the Internet Protocol (IP). IP enables internetworking and, in essence, establishes the Internet itself. Two versions of the Internet Protocol exist, IPV4 and IPV6.


IP Addresses

For locating individual computers on the network, the Internet provides
IP address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.RFC 760, ''DOD Standard Internet Protocol'', DARPA, Information Sciences In ...
es. IP addresses are used by the Internet infrastructure to direct internet packets to their destinations. They consist of fixed-length numbers, which are found within the packet. IP addresses are generally assigned to equipment either automatically via
DHCP The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network management protocol used on Internet Protocol (IP) local area networks. A DHCP server must be present on the network. A device connected to the network requests an IP address from the DH ...
, or are configured. However the network also supports other addressing systems. Users generally enter
domain name A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes. ...
s (e.g. "en.wikipedia.org") instead of IP addresses because they are easier to remember, they are converted by the
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of th ...
(DNS) into IP addresses which are more efficient for routing purposes.


IPv4

Internet Protocol version 4 Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and other packet-switched networks. IPv4 was the first version dep ...
(IPv4) defines an IP address as a
32-bit 32-bit microcomputers are computers in which 32-bit microprocessors are the norm. Range for storing integers A 32-bit register can store 232 different values. The range of integer values that can be stored in 32 bits depends on the integer repre ...
number. Updated by IPv4 is the initial version used on the first generation of the Internet and is still in dominant use. It was designed to address up to ≈4.3 billion (109) hosts. However, the explosive growth of the Internet has led to
IPv4 address exhaustion IPv4 address exhaustion is the depletion of the pool of unallocated IPv4 addresses. Because the original Internet architecture had fewer than 4.3 billion addresses available, depletion has been anticipated since the late 1980s, when the Internet ...
, which entered its final stage in 2011, when the global IPv4 address allocation pool was exhausted.


IPv6

Because of the growth of the Internet and the depletion of available IPv4 addresses, a new version of IP
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet. IPv6 ...
, was developed in the mid-1990s, which provides vastly larger addressing capabilities and more efficient routing of Internet traffic. IPv6 uses 128 bits for the IP address and was standardized in 1998.
IPv6 deploymentDeployment of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), the next generation of the Internet Protocol, has been in progress since the mid-2000s. IPv6 was designed as a replacement for IPv4 which has been in use since 1982, and is in the final stages of exh ...
has been ongoing since the mid-2000s and is currently in growing deployment around the world, since Internet address registries ( RIRs) began to urge all resource managers to plan rapid adoption and conversion. IPv6 is not directly interoperable by design with IPv4. In essence, it establishes a parallel version of the Internet not directly accessible with IPv4 software. Thus, translation facilities must exist for internetworking or nodes must have duplicate networking software for both networks. Essentially all modern computer operating systems support both versions of the Internet Protocol. Network infrastructure, however, has been lagging in this development. Aside from the complex array of physical connections that make up its infrastructure, the Internet is facilitated by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts, e.g., peering agreements, and by technical specifications or protocols that describe the exchange of data over the network. Indeed, the Internet is defined by its interconnections and routing policies.


Subnetwork

A ''
subnetwork A subnetwork or subnet is a logical subdivision of an IP network. Updated by RFC 6918. The practice of dividing a network into two or more networks is called subnetting. Computers that belong to the same subnet are addressed with an identical ...
'' or ''subnet'' is a logical subdivision of an
IP network The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks. It is commonly known as TCP/IP because the foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Cont ...
. Updated by RFC 6918. The practice of dividing a network into two or more networks is called ''subnetting''. Computers that belong to a subnet are addressed with an identical most-significant bit-group in their IP addresses. This results in the logical division of an IP address into two fields, the ''network number'' or ''routing prefix'' and the ''rest field'' or ''host identifier''. The ''rest field'' is an identifier for a specific
host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may also refer to: Places *Host, Pennsylvania, a village in Berks County People *Jim Host (born 1937), American businessman *Michel Host (bor ...
or network interface. The ''routing prefix'' may be expressed in
Classless Inter-Domain Routing Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR ) is a method for allocating IP addresses and for IP routing. The Internet Engineering Task Force introduced CIDR in 1993 to replace the previous classful network addressing architecture on the Internet. Its go ...
(CIDR) notation written as the first address of a network, followed by a slash character (''/''), and ending with the bit-length of the prefix. For example, is the prefix of the
Internet Protocol version 4 Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and other packet-switched networks. IPv4 was the first version dep ...
network starting at the given address, having 24 bits allocated for the network prefix, and the remaining 8 bits reserved for host addressing. Addresses in the range to belong to this network. The IPv6 address specification is a large address block with 296 addresses, having a 32-bit routing prefix. For IPv4, a network may also be characterized by its ''subnet mask'' or ''netmask'', which is the
bitmask In computer science, a mask or bitmask is data that is used for bitwise operations, particularly in a bit field. Using a mask, multiple bits in a byte, nibble, word etc. can be set either on, off or inverted from on to off (or vice versa) in a sin ...
that when applied by a
bitwise AND In computer programming, a bitwise operation operates on a bit string, a bit array or a binary numeral (considered as a bit string) at the level of its individual bits. It is a fast and simple action, basic to the higher level arithmetic operatio ...
operation to any IP address in the network, yields the routing prefix. Subnet masks are also expressed in
dot-decimal notationDot-decimal notation is a presentation format for numerical data. It consists of a string of decimal numbers, using the full stop (''dot'') as a separation character. A common use of dot-decimal notation is in information technology where it is a me ...
like an address. For example, is the subnet mask for the prefix . Traffic is exchanged between subnetworks through routers when the routing prefixes of the source address and the destination address differ. A router serves as a logical or physical boundary between the subnets. The benefits of subnetting an existing network vary with each deployment scenario. In the address allocation architecture of the Internet using CIDR and in large organizations, it is necessary to allocate address space efficiently. Subnetting may also enhance routing efficiency, or have advantages in network management when subnetworks are administratively controlled by different entities in a larger organization. Subnets may be arranged logically in a hierarchical architecture, partitioning an organization's network address space into a tree-like routing structure.


Routing

Computers and routers use
routing tableIn computer networking a routing table, or routing information base (RIB), is a data table stored in a router or a network host that lists the routes to particular network destinations, and in some cases, metrics (distances) associated with those rou ...
s in their operating system to direct IP packets to reach a node on a different subnetwork. Routing tables are maintained by manual configuration or automatically by
routing protocol A routing protocol specifies how routers communicate with each other to distribute information that enables them to select routes between nodes on a computer network. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet; data packets ar ...
s. End-nodes typically use a
default route In computer networking, the default route is a configuration of the Internet Protocol (IP) that establishes a forwarding rule for packets when no specific address of a next-hop host is available from the routing table or other routing mechanisms. ...
that points toward an ISP providing transit, while ISP routers use the
Border Gateway Protocol Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is a standardized exterior gateway protocol designed to exchange routing and reachability information among autonomous systems (AS) on the Internet. BGP is classified as a path-vector routing protocol, and it makes ...
to establish the most efficient routing across the complex connections of the global Internet. The
default gateway A default gateway is the node in a computer network using the internet protocol suite that serves as the forwarding host (router) to other networks when no other route specification matches the destination IP address of a packet. Role A gateway is ...
is the
node In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a vertex). Node may refer to: In mathematics *Vertex (graph theory), a vertex in a mathematical graph *Node (autonomous system), behaviour for an ordinary different ...
that serves as the forwarding host ( router) to other networks when no other route specification matches the destination
IP address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.RFC 760, ''DOD Standard Internet Protocol'', DARPA, Information Sciences In ...
of a packet.


IETF

While the hardware components in the Internet infrastructure can often be used to support other software systems, it is the design and the standardization process of the software that characterizes the Internet and provides the foundation for its scalability and success. The responsibility for the architectural design of the Internet software systems has been assumed by the
Internet Engineering Task Force The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization, which develops and promotes voluntary Internet standards, in particular the standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal membershi ...
(IETF). The IETF conducts standard-setting work groups, open to any individual, about the various aspects of Internet architecture. Resulting contributions and standards are published as ''
Request for Comments A Request for Comments (RFC) is a publication from the Internet Society (ISOC) and its associated bodies, most prominently the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the principal technical development and standards-setting bodies for the Intern ...
'' (RFC) documents on the IETF web site. The principal methods of networking that enable the Internet are contained in specially designated RFCs that constitute the
Internet Standard#REDIRECT Internet Standard#REDIRECT Internet Standard {{R from other capitalization ...
{{R from other capitalization ...
s. Other less rigorous documents are simply informative, experimental, or historical, or document the best current practices (BCP) when implementing Internet technologies.


Applications and services

The Internet carries many applications and services, most prominently the World Wide Web, including
social media Social media are interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. While challenges to the definition of ''social media ...
,
electronic mail upThe email_address.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_message ...
,
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program or software application designed to run on a mobile device such as a phone, tablet, or watch. Apps were originally intended for productivity assistance ...
lications,
multiplayer online game A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally (e.g. ''New Super Mario Bros. Wii'') or online over the internet (e.g. ''World of Warcraft'', ''Call Of D ...
s,
Internet telephony Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet te ...
,
file sharing File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia (audio, images and video), documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of ...
, and
streaming media Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end user while being delivered by a provider over the Internet. The verb ''to stream'' refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in a continuous mann ...
services. Most servers that provide these services are today hosted in
data center A data center (American English) or data centre (British English)See spelling differences. is a building, dedicated space within a building, or a group of buildings used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunicati ...
s, and content is often accessed through high-performance
content delivery network A content delivery network, or content distribution network (CDN), is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The goal is to provide high availability and performance by distributing the service spatially rela ...
s.


World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is a global collection of
documents A document is a written, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of non-fictional, as well as fictional, content. The word originates from the Latin ''Documentum'', which denotes a "teaching" or "less ...
,
images An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white area on the lower right edge of the island. Lava flows a ...
,
multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed material or audio recordings. Popula ...

multimedia
, applications, and other resources, logically interrelated by
hyperlink In computing, a hyperlink, or simply a link, is a reference to data that the user can follow by clicking or tapping. A hyperlink points to a whole document or to a specific element within a document. Hypertext is text with hyperlinks. The text t ...
s and referenced with
Uniform Resource Identifier A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a unique sequence of characters that identifies a logical or physical resource used by web technologies. URIs may be used to identify anything, including real-world objects, such as people and places, concep ...
s (URIs), which provide a global system of named references. URIs symbolically identify services,
web servers A web server is computer software and underlying hardware that accepts requests via HTTP, the network protocol created to distribute web pages, or its secure variant HTTPS. A user agent, commonly a web browser or web crawler, initiates communica ...
, databases, and the documents and resources that they can provide.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web, where hypertext documents include hyper ...
(HTTP) is the main access protocol of the World Wide Web.
Web service The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web, or * a server running on a computer device, listening for requests at a particular p ...
s also use HTTP for communication between software systems for information transfer, sharing and exchanging business data and logistic and is one of many languages or protocols that can be used for communication on the Internet. World Wide Web browser software, such as
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related s ...

Microsoft
's
Internet Explorer Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer, commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included in the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, ...
/
Edge#REDIRECT Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
,
Mozilla Firefox Firefox Browser, also known as Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, ...
,
Opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, ''Ma ...
's
Safari A safari () is an overland journey to hunt or (in more recent times) observe wild animals, especially in east or southern Africa. The so-called Big Five game animals of Africa – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo – partic ...
, and
Google Chrome Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows built with free software components from Apple WebKit and Mozilla Firefox. It was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS, and Andr ...
, lets users navigate from one web page to another via the hyperlinks embedded in the documents. These documents may also contain any combination of
computer data Data (treated as singular, plural, or as a mass noun) is any sequence of one or more symbols. Datum is a single symbol of data. Data requires interpretation to become information. Digital data is data that is represented using the binary number ...
, including graphics, sounds,
text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory), any object that can be read, including: **Religious text, a writing that a religious tradition considers to be sacred **Textbook, a book of instruction in any branch of study Computing and ...

text
,
video Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media. Video was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were quickly replaced by cathode ray tube (CRT) systems wh ...
,
multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed material or audio recordings. Popula ...

multimedia
and interactive content that runs while the user is interacting with the page. Client-side software can include animations,
games with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) '', 1560, Pieter Bruegel the Elder File:Paul Cézanne, 1892-95, Les joueurs ...
,
office applications Productivity software (also called personal productivity software or office productivity software) is application software used for producing information (such as documents, presentations, worksheets, databases, charts, graphs, digital paintings, el ...
and scientific demonstrations. Through keyword-driven
Internet research Internet research is the practice of using Internet information, especially free information on the World Wide Web, or Internet-based resources (like Internet discussion forum) in research. Internet research has had a profound impact on the way ide ...
using
search engines A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a textual web search query. The search resu ...
like
Yahoo! Yahoo! (, styled as yahoo''!'') is an American web services provider. It is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and owned by Verizon Media, which acquired it in 2017 for $4.48 billion. It currently provides a web portal, search engine Yahoo ...
,
Bing Bing most often refers to: * Bing Crosby (1903–1977), American singer * Microsoft Bing, a web search engine Bing may also refer to: Food and drink * Bing (bread), a Chinese flatbread * Bing (soft drink), a UK brand * Bing cherry, a variety of ...
and
Google Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered ...
, users worldwide have easy, instant access to a vast and diverse amount of online information. Compared to printed media, books, encyclopedias and traditional libraries, the World Wide Web has enabled the decentralization of information on a large scale. The Web has enabled individuals and organizations to
publish Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works, such as books, newspapers, and mag ...
ideas and information to a potentially large
audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature (in which they are called "readers"), theatre, music (in which they are called "listeners"), video games (in which they are called "players"), or ...
online at greatly reduced expense and time delay. Publishing a web page, a blog, or building a website involves little initial
cost In production, research, retail, and accounting, a cost is the value of money that has been used up to produce something or deliver a service, and hence is not available for use anymore. In business, the cost may be one of acquisition, in which cas ...
and many cost-free services are available. However, publishing and maintaining large, professional web sites with attractive, diverse and up-to-date information is still a difficult and expensive proposition. Many individuals and some companies and groups use ''web logs'' or blogs, which are largely used as easily updatable online diaries. Some commercial organizations encourage
staff Staff may refer to: Pole * Staff, a weapon used in stick-fighting ** Quarterstaff, a European pole weapon * Staff of office, a pole that indicates a position * Staff (railway signalling), a token authorizing a locomotive driver to use a particular ...
to communicate advice in their areas of specialization in the hope that visitors will be impressed by the expert knowledge and free information, and be attracted to the corporation as a result.
Advertising Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.William J. Stanton. ''Fundamentals of Marketing''. McGraw-Hill (1984). Sponsors of advertising are t ...
on popular web pages can be lucrative, and
e-commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. The term was coined and first employed by Dr. Robert Jacobson, Principal Consultant to the California State ...
, which is the sale of products and services directly via the Web, continues to grow. Online advertising is a form of
marketing Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product, service, or good. It is one of the primary components of business management and commerce. Marketers can direct their product to other businesse ...
and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. It includes email marketing,
search engine marketing Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate search engine optimi ...
(SEM), social media marketing, many types of
display advertising Digital display advertising is graphic advertising on Internet websites, apps or social media through banners or other advertising formats made of text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general ...
(including
web banner A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web delivered by an ad server. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to ...
advertising), and
mobile advertising Mobile advertising is a form of advertising via mobile (wireless) phones or other mobile devices. It is a subset of mobile marketing, mobile advertising can take place as text ads via SMS, or banner advertisements that appear embedded in a mobile ...
. In 2011, Internet advertising revenues in the United States surpassed those of
cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fibre-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcas ...
and nearly exceeded those of
broadcast television Broadcast television systems (or terrestrial television systems outside the US and Canada) are the encoding or formatting standards for the transmission and reception of terrestrial television signals. There were three main analog television system ...
. Many common online advertising practices are controversial and increasingly subject to regulation. When the Web developed in the 1990s, a typical web page was stored in completed form on a web server, formatted in
HTML The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be assisted by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript. ...

HTML
, complete for transmission to a web browser in response to a request. Over time, the process of creating and serving web pages has become dynamic, creating a flexible design, layout, and content. Websites are often created using
content management Content management (CM) is a set of processes and technologies that supports the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. When stored and accessed via computers, this information may be more specifically referred to ...
software with, initially, very little content. Contributors to these systems, who may be paid staff, members of an organization or the public, fill underlying databases with content using editing pages designed for that purpose while casual visitors view and read this content in HTML form. There may or may not be editorial, approval and security systems built into the process of taking newly entered content and making it available to the target visitors.


Communication

Email upThe email_address.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_message ...

Email
is an important communications service available via the Internet. The concept of sending electronic text messages between parties, analogous to mailing letters or memos, predates the creation of the Internet. Pictures, documents, and other files are sent as
email attachmentAn email attachment is a computer file sent along with an email message. One or more files can be attached to any email message, and be sent along with it to the recipient. This is typically used as a simple method to share documents and images. His ...
s. Email messages can be cc-ed to multiple
email address An email address identifies an email box to which messages are delivered. While early messaging systems used a variety of formats for addressing, today, email addresses follow a set of specific rules originally standardized by the Internet Engineeri ...
es.
Internet telephony Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet te ...
is a common communications service realized with the Internet. The name of the principle internetworking protocol, the Internet Protocol, lends its name to
voice over Internet Protocol Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet te ...
(VoIP). The idea began in the early 1990s with
walkie-talkie A walkie-talkie, more formally known as a handheld transceiver (HT), is a hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver. Its development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, ...
-like voice applications for personal computers. VoIP systems now dominate many markets, and are as easy to use and as convenient as a traditional telephone. The benefit has been in substantial cost savings over traditional telephone calls, especially over long distances.
Cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable, an assembly of three or more ropes woven against the weave of the ropes, rendering it virtually waterproof * Wire rope, a type of rope which consists of several strands of metal wire laid into a hel ...
,
ADSL Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) is a type of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, a data communications technology that enables faster data transmission over copper telephone lines than a conventional voiceband modem can provide. A ...
, and
mobile data Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, USB wireless modem, or a tablet/smartphone or other mobile device. The first wireless Internet access became available in 1991 as part of the second ge ...
networks provide
Internet access Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the World Wide Web. Internet access is sold by Internet ser ...
in customer premises and inexpensive VoIP network adapters provide the connection for traditional analog telephone sets. The voice quality of VoIP often exceeds that of traditional calls. Remaining problems for VoIP include the situation that emergency services may not be universally available, and that devices rely on a local power supply, while older traditional phones are powered from the local loop, and typically operate during a power failure.


Data transfer

File sharing File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia (audio, images and video), documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of ...
is an example of transferring large amounts of data across the Internet. A
computer file A computer file is a computer resource for recording data in a computer storage device. Just as words can be written to paper, so can data be written to a computer file. Files can be edited and transferred through the Internet on that particular ...
can be emailed to customers, colleagues and friends as an attachment. It can be uploaded to a website or
File Transfer Protocol The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard communication protocol used for the transfer of computer files from a server to a client on a computer network. FTP is built on a client–server model architecture using separate control and data co ...
(FTP) server for easy download by others. It can be put into a "shared location" or onto a
file serverThe term server highlights the role of the machine in the traditional client–server scheme, where the clients are the workstations using the storage. A file server does not normally perform computational tasks or run programs on behalf of its clien ...
for instant use by colleagues. The load of bulk downloads to many users can be eased by the use of "
mirror Grange, East Yorkshire, UK, from World War I. The mirror magnified the sound of approaching enemy Zeppelins for a microphone placed at the focal point. A mirror is an object that Reflection (physics), reflects an image. Light that bounces off ...
" servers or
peer-to-peer 200px, A network based on the ''clients'' request services and resources from centralized servers_.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="server (computing)">servers ">server (computing)">servers Peer-to-peer (P2P) comput ...
networks. In any of these cases, access to the file may be controlled by user
authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proving an assertion, such as the identity of a computer system user. In contrast with identification, the act of indicating ...
, the transit of the file over the Internet may be obscured by
encryption In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can deciph ...
, and money may change hands for access to the file. The price can be paid by the remote charging of funds from, for example, a credit card whose details are also passed—usually fully encrypted—across the Internet. The origin and authenticity of the file received may be checked by
digital signature A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature, where the prerequisites are satisfied, gives a recipient very strong reason to believe that the message was cr ...
s or by
MD5#REDIRECT MD5 {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
or other message digests. These simple features of the Internet, over a worldwide basis, are changing the production, sale, and distribution of anything that can be reduced to a computer file for transmission. This includes all manner of print publications, software products, news, music, film, video, photography, graphics and the other arts. This in turn has caused seismic shifts in each of the existing industries that previously controlled the production and distribution of these products.
Streaming media Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end user while being delivered by a provider over the Internet. The verb ''to stream'' refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in a continuous mann ...
is the real-time delivery of digital media for the immediate consumption or enjoyment by end users. Many radio and television broadcasters provide Internet feeds of their live audio and video productions. They may also allow time-shift viewing or listening such as Preview, Classic Clips and Listen Again features. These providers have been joined by a range of pure Internet "broadcasters" who never had on-air licenses. This means that an Internet-connected device, such as a computer or something more specific, can be used to access on-line media in much the same way as was previously possible only with a television or radio receiver. The range of available types of content is much wider, from specialized technical
webcast A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webc ...
s to on-demand popular multimedia services.
Podcast A podcast is an episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that a user can download to a personal device for easy listening. Streaming applications and podcasting services provide a convenient and integrated way to manage a personal consu ...
ing is a variation on this theme, where—usually audio—material is downloaded and played back on a computer or shifted to a
portable media player A portable media player (PMP) or digital audio player (DAP) is a portable consumer electronics device capable of storing and playing digital media such as audio, images, and video files. The data is typically stored on a compact disc (CD), Digit ...
to be listened to on the move. These techniques using simple equipment allow anybody, with little censorship or licensing control, to broadcast audio-visual material worldwide. Digital media streaming increases the demand for network bandwidth. For example, standard image quality needs 1 Mbit/s link speed for SD 480p, HD 720p quality requires 2.5 Mbit/s, and the top-of-the-line HDX quality needs 4.5 Mbit/s for 1080p.
Webcam A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams an image or video in real time to or through a computer to a computer network, such as the Internet. Webcams are typically small cameras that sit on a desk, attach to a user's monitor, or are built ...
s are a low-cost extension of this phenomenon. While some webcams can give full-frame-rate video, the picture either is usually small or updates slowly. Internet users can watch animals around an African waterhole, ships in the
Panama Canal The Panama Canal ( es, Canal de Panamá, link=no) is an artificial waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. One of the largest a ...
, traffic at a local roundabout or monitor their own premises, live and in real time. Video
chat rooms The term chat room, or chatroom, is primarily used to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. The term can thus mean any technology ranging from real-time online chat and online interaction with ...
and
video conferencing Videotelephony comprises the technologies for the reception and transmission of audio-video signals by users in different locations, for communication between people in real time.McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of EngineeringVideotelephony McGra ...
are also popular with many uses being found for personal webcams, with and without two-way sound. YouTube was founded on 15 February 2005 and is now the leading website for free streaming video with more than two billion users. It uses an HTML5 based web player by default to stream and show video files. Registered users may upload an unlimited amount of video and build their own personal profile.
YouTube#REDIRECT YouTube {{R from miscapitalization ...
claims that its users watch hundreds of millions, and upload hundreds of thousands of videos daily.


Social impact

The Internet has enabled new forms of social interaction, activities, and social associations. This phenomenon has given rise to the scholarly study of the
sociology of the Internet The sociology of the Internet involves the application of sociological theory and method to the Internet as a source of information and communication. Sociologists are concerned with the social implications of the technology; new social networks, ...
.


Users

per capita for selected countries. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users globally rose from 394 million to 1.858 billion. By 2010, 22 percent of the world's population had access to computers with 1 billion
Google Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered ...
searches every day, 300 million Internet users reading blogs, and 2 billion videos viewed daily on
YouTube#REDIRECT YouTube {{R from miscapitalization ...
. In 2014 the world's Internet users surpassed 3 billion or 43.6 percent of world population, but two-thirds of the users came from richest countries, with 78.0 percent of Europe countries population using the Internet, followed by 57.4 percent of the Americas. However, by 2018, Asia alone accounted for 51% of all Internet users, with 2.2 billion out of the 4.3 billion Internet users in the world coming from that region. The number of China's Internet users surpassed a major milestone in 2018, when the country's Internet regulatory authority, China Internet Network Information Centre, announced that China had 802 million Internet users. By 2019, China was the world's leading country in terms of Internet users, with more than 800 million users, followed closely by India, with some 700 million users, with the United States a distant third with 275 million users. However, in terms of penetration, China has a 38.4% penetration rate compared to India's 40% and the United States's 80%. As of 2020, it was estimated that 4.5 billion people use the Internet, more than half of the world's population. The prevalent language for communication via the Internet has always been English. This may be a result of the origin of the Internet, as well as the language's role as a
lingua franca A lingua franca is a language used for communication between speakers of different languages. Lingua Franca or lingua franca may also refer to: * Mediterranean Lingua Franca, the lingua franca of the Mediterranean Basin for which the term is orig ...
and as a
world language In sociolinguistics, a world language (sometimes global language, rarely international language) is a language that extends far beyond its national boundaries and makes it possible for members of different language communities to communicate. The ...
. Early computer systems were limited to the characters in the
American Standard Code for Information Interchange ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding standard for electronic communication. ASCII codes represent text in computers, telecommunications equipment, and other devices. Most moder ...
(ASCII), a subset of the
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language and its extensions used to write modern languages. Etymology The term ''Latin alphabet'' may refer to either ...
. After English (27%), the most requested languages on the World Wide Web are Chinese (25%), 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 The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...
are based in Asia, 24% in Europe, 14% in North America, 10% in Latin America and the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
taken together, 6% in Africa, 3% in the Middle East and 1% in Australia/Oceania.World Internet Usage Statistics News and Population Stats
updated for 30 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
The Internet's technologies have developed enough in recent years, especially in the use of
Unicode Unicode is an information technology standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, and , it has a total of (th ...
, that good facilities are available for development and communication in the world's widely used languages. However, some glitches such as ''
mojibake Mojibake (; ) is the garbled text that is the result of text being decoded using an unintended character encoding. The result is a systematic replacement of symbols with completely unrelated ones, often from a different writing system. This disp ...
'' (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 services, 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. Splitting by country, in 2012 Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark had the highest Internet penetration by the number of users, with 93% or more of the population with access."Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000–2012"
, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
Several neologisms exist that refer to Internet users:
Netizen The term netizen is a portmanteau of the English words internet and citizen, as in a "citizen of the net" or "net citizen". It describes a person actively involved in online communities or the Internet in general.''The Net and Netizens by Michael Hauben''
, Columbia University.
Internaut refers to operators or technically highly capable users of the Internet, digital citizen refers to a person using the Internet in order to engage in society, politics, and government participation. File:InternetUsersByLanguagePieChart.svg,
Languages used on the Internet, Internet users by language"Number of Internet Users by Language"
, ''Internet World Stats'', Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 May 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
File:WebsitesByLanguagePieChart.svg,
Languages used on the Internet, Website content languages


Usage

File:FixedBroadbandInternetPenetrationWorldMap.svg, thumb , 360px ,
List of countries by number of broadband Internet subscriptions, Fixed broadband Internet subscriptions in 2012
as a percentage of a country's population
Source: International Telecommunications Union."Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012"
, Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE,
International Telecommunication Union 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies. Established in 1865 as the International Tele ...
. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
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 university, 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 Education, formal and informal education. Further, the Internet allows universities, in particular, researchers from the social and behavioral sciences, to conduct research remotely via virtual laboratories, with profound changes in reach and generalizability of findings as well as in communication between scientists and in the publication of results. The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills have made collaboration, 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 Firefox Browser, also known as Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, ...
, and OpenOffice.org (later forked into LibreOffice). Internet chat, whether using an IRC chat room, an
instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging#REDIRECT Instant messaging {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
system, or a social networking service, 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 from any access point. Access may be with computer security, i.e. 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 (computing), 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 Protocol, 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. By late 2010s Internet has been described as "the main source of scientific information "for the majority of the global North population".


Social networking and entertainment

Many people use the World Wide Web to access news, weather and sports reports, to plan and book vacations and to pursue their personal interests. People use online chat, chat, messaging and email to make and stay in touch with friends worldwide, sometimes in the same way as some previously had pen pals. Social networking services such as
Facebook Facebook (stylized as ) is an American online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, and a flagship service of the namesake company Facebook, Inc. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard ...

Facebook
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. Social networking services are also widely used by businesses and other organizations to promote their brands, to market to their customers and to encourage posts to "Viral marketing, go viral". "Black hat" social media techniques are also employed by some organizations, such as Spamming, spam accounts and astroturfing. A risk for both individuals and organizations writing posts (especially public posts) on social networking services, is that especially foolish or controversial posts occasionally lead to an unexpected and possibly large-scale backlash on social media from other Internet users. This is also a risk in relation to controversial ''offline'' behavior, if it is widely made known. The nature of this backlash can range widely from counter-arguments and public mockery, through insults and hate speech, to, in extreme cases, rape and death Computer crime#Threats, threats. The online disinhibition effect describes the tendency of many individuals to behave more stridently or offensively online than they would in person. A significant number of feminist women have been the target of various forms of harassment in response to posts they have made on social media, and Twitter in particular has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to aid victims of online abuse. For organizations, such a backlash can cause overall public relations, brand damage, especially if reported by the media. However, this is not always the case, as any brand damage in the eyes of people with an opposing opinion to that presented by the organization could sometimes be outweighed by strengthening the brand in the eyes of others. Furthermore, if an organization or individual gives in to demands that others perceive as wrong-headed, that can then provoke a counter-backlash. Some websites, such as Reddit, have rules forbidding the posting of personal information of individuals (also known as doxxing), due to concerns about such postings leading to mobs of large numbers of Internet users directing harassment at the specific individuals thereby identified. In particular, the Reddit rule forbidding the posting of personal information is widely understood to imply that all identifying photos and names must be censored in Facebook screenshots posted to Reddit. However, the interpretation of this rule in relation to public Twitter posts is less clear, and in any case, like-minded people online have many other ways they can use to direct each other's attention to public social media posts they disagree with. Children also face dangers online such as cyberbullying and Child grooming, approaches by sexual predators, who sometimes pose as children themselves. Children may also encounter material which they may find upsetting, or material which their parents consider to be not age-appropriate. Due to naivety, they may also post personal information about themselves online, which could put them or their families at risk unless warned not to do so. Many parents choose to enable Content-control software, Internet filtering, and/or supervise their children's online activities, in an attempt to protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet. The most popular social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter, commonly forbid users under the age of 13. However, these policies are typically trivial to circumvent by registering an account with a false birth date, and a significant number of children aged under 13 join such sites anyway. Social networking services for younger children, which claim to provide better levels of protection for children, also exist. 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 Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was est ...
groups receiving much traffic. Many Internet forums have sections devoted to games and funny videos. The Internet pornography and online gambling industries have taken advantage of the World Wide Web. Although many governments have attempted to restrict both industries' use of the Internet, in general, this has failed to stop their widespread popularity. 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 Arcade, GameSpy and MPlayer.com, 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. A 2017 book claimed that the Internet consolidates most aspects of human endeavor into singular arenas of which all of humanity are potential members and competitors, with fundamentally negative Digital media use and mental health, impacts on mental health as a result. While successes in each field of activity are pervasively visible and trumpeted, they are reserved for an extremely thin sliver of the world's most exceptional, leaving everyone else behind. Whereas, before the Internet, expectations of success in any field were supported by reasonable probabilities of achievement at the village, suburb, city or even state level, the same expectations in the Internet world are virtually certain to bring disappointment today: there is always someone else, somewhere on the planet, who can do better and take the now one-and-only top spot. 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 the collective study via email, on-line chat rooms, and web-based message boards." In particular, the British government has raised concerns about the prospect of young British Muslims being indoctrinated into Islamic extremism by material on the Internet, being persuaded to join terrorist groups such as the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State", and then potentially committing acts of terrorism on returning to Britain after fighting in Syria or Iraq. 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. Nicholas G. Carr believes that Internet use has other Psychological effects of Internet use, effects on individuals, for instance improving skills of scan-reading and Interference theory, interfering with the deep thinking that leads to true creativity.


Electronic business

Electronic business (''e-business'') encompasses business processes spanning the entire value chain: purchasing, supply chain management,
marketing Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product, service, or good. It is one of the primary components of business management and commerce. Marketers can direct their product to other businesse ...
, sales, customer service, and business relationship. E-commerce seeks to add revenue streams using the Internet to build and enhance relationships with clients and partners. According to International Data Corporation, the size of worldwide e-commerce, when global business-to-business and -consumer transactions are combined, equate to $16 trillion for 2013. A report by Oxford Economics added those two together to estimate the total size of the digital economy at $20.4 trillion, equivalent to roughly 13.8% of global sales. While much has been written of the economic advantages of electronic commerce, Internet-enabled commerce, there is also evidence that some aspects of the Internet such as maps and location-aware services may serve to reinforce economic inequality and the digital divide. Electronic commerce may be responsible for Consolidation (business), consolidation and the decline of mom-and-pop,
brick and mortar Brick and mortar (also bricks and mortar or B&M) refers to a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure. The term ''brick-and-mortar business'' is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases re ...
businesses resulting in increases in income inequality. Author Andrew Keen, a long-time critic of the social transformations caused by the Internet, has focused on the economic effects of consolidation from Internet businesses. Keen cites a 2013 Institute for Local Self-Reliance report saying brick-and-mortar retailers employ 47 people for every $10 million in sales while Amazon employs only 14. Similarly, the 700-employee room rental start-up Airbnb was valued at $10 billion in 2014, about half as much as Hilton Worldwide, which employs 152,000 people. At that time, Uber employed 1,000 full-time employees and was valued at $18.2 billion, about the same valuation as Avis Rent a Car and The Hertz Corporation combined, which together employed almost 60,000 people.


Telecommuting

Telecommuting is the performance within a traditional worker and employer relationship when it is facilitated by tools such as groupware, virtual private networks, conference calling, videoconferencing, and VoIP so that work may be performed from any location, most conveniently the worker's home. It can be efficient and useful for companies as it allows workers to communicate over long distances, saving significant amounts of travel time and cost. As broadband Internet connections become commonplace, more workers have adequate bandwidth at home to use these tools to link their home to their corporate intranet and internal communication networks.


Collaborative publishing

Wikis have also been used in the academic community for sharing and dissemination of information across institutional and international boundaries. In those settings, they have been found useful for collaboration on grant writing, strategic planning, departmental documentation, and committee work. The United States Patent and Trademark Office uses a wiki to allow the public to collaborate on finding prior art relevant to examination of pending patent applications. Queens, New York has used a wiki to allow citizens to collaborate on the design and planning of a local park. The English Wikipedia has the largest user base among wikis on the World Wide Web and ranks in the top 10 among all Web sites in terms of traffic.


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 for carrying out their mission, having given rise to Internet activism, most notably practiced by rebels in the Arab Spring. ''The New York Times'' suggested that
social media Social media are interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. While challenges to the definition of ''social media ...
websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, helped people organize the political revolutions in Egypt, by helping activists organize protests, communicate grievances, and disseminate information. Many have understood the Internet as an extension of the Jürgen Habermas, Habermasian notion of the ''public sphere'', observing how network communication technologies provide something like a global civic forum. However, incidents of politically motivated Internet censorship have now been recorded in many countries, including western democracies.


Philanthropy

The spread of low-cost Internet access in developing countries has opened up new possibilities for Social peer-to-peer processes, 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 (organization), 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.


Security

Internet resources, hardware, and software components are the target of criminal or malicious attempts to gain unauthorized control to cause interruptions, commit fraud, engage in blackmail or access private information.


Malware

Malware is malicious software used and distributed via the Internet. It includes computer viruses which are copied with the help of humans, computer worms which copy themselves automatically, software for denial of service attacks, ransomware, botnets, and spyware that reports on the activity and typing of users. Usually, these activities constitute cybercrime. Defense theorists have also speculated about the possibilities of hackers using cyber warfare using similar methods on a large scale.


Surveillance

The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data mining, data and traffic analysis, traffic on the Internet. In the United States for example, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic (emails, web traffic, instant messaging, etc.) are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by Federal law enforcement agencies. Packet capture is the monitoring of data traffic on a
computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes. The interconnections between nodes are ...
. Computers communicate over the Internet by breaking up messages (emails, images, videos, web pages, files, etc.) into small chunks called "packets", which are routed through a network of computers, until they reach their destination, where they are assembled back into a complete "message" again. Packet Capture Appliance intercepts these packets as they are traveling through the network, in order to examine their contents using other programs. A packet capture is an information ''gathering'' tool, but not an ''analysis'' tool. That is it gathers "messages" but it does not analyze them and figure out what they mean. Other programs are needed to perform traffic analysis and sift through intercepted data looking for important/useful information. Under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act all U.S. telecommunications providers are required to install packet sniffing technology to allow Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to intercept all of their customers' broadband Internet and VoIP traffic. The large amount of data gathered from packet capturing requires surveillance software that filters and reports relevant information, such as the use of certain words or phrases, the access of certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or chat with certain parties. Agencies, such as the Information Awareness Office, NSA, GCHQ and the FBI, spend billions of dollars per year to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems for interception and analysis of data. Similar systems are operated by Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran, Iranian secret police to identify and suppress dissidents. The required hardware and software was allegedly installed by German Siemens AG and Finnish Nokia.


Censorship

Some governments, such as those of Burma, Iran, Censorship in North Korea, North Korea, Censorship in China, Mainland China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, restrict access to content on the Internet within their territories, especially to political and religious content, with domain name and keyword filters. In Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, major Internet service providers have voluntarily agreed to restrict access to sites listed by authorities. While this list of forbidden resources is supposed to contain only known child pornography sites, the content of the list is secret. Many countries, including the United States, have enacted laws against the possession or distribution of certain material, such as child pornography, via the Internet, but do not mandate filter software. Many free or commercially available software programs, called content-control software are available to users to block offensive websites on individual computers or networks, in order to limit access by children to pornographic material or depiction of violence.


Performance

As the Internet is a heterogeneous network, the physical characteristics, including for example the Bit rate, data transfer rates of connections, vary widely. It exhibits Emergence#World Wide Web and the Internet, emergent phenomena that depend on its large-scale organization.


Traffic volume

The volume of
Internet traffic Internet traffic is the flow of data within the entire Internet, or in certain network links of its constituent networks. Common traffic measurements are total volume, in units of multiples of the byte, or as transmission rates in bytes per certa ...
is difficult to measure, because no single point of measurement exists in the multi-tiered, non-hierarchical topology. Traffic data may be estimated from the aggregate volume through the peering points of the Tier 1 network providers, but traffic that stays local in large provider networks may not be accounted for.


Outages

An Internet blackout or outage can be caused by local signalling interruptions. Disruptions of submarine communications cables may cause blackouts or slowdowns to large areas, such as in the 2008 submarine cable disruption. Less-developed countries are more vulnerable due to a small number of high-capacity links. Land cables are also vulnerable, as in 2011 when a woman digging for scrap metal severed most connectivity for the nation of Armenia. Internet blackouts affecting almost entire countries can be achieved by governments as a form of Internet censorship, as in the blockage of the Internet in Egypt, whereby approximately 93% of networks were without access in 2011 in an attempt to stop mobilization for Egyptian Revolution of 2011, anti-government protests.


Energy use

Estimates of the Internet's electricity usage have been the subject of controversy, according to a 2014 peer-reviewed research paper that found claims differing by a factor of 20,000 published in the literature during the preceding decade, ranging from 0.0064 kilowatt hours per gigabyte transferred (kWh/GB) to 136 kWh/GB. The researchers attributed these discrepancies mainly to the year of reference (i.e. whether efficiency gains over time had been taken into account) and to whether "end devices such as personal computers and servers are included" in the analysis. In 2011, academic researchers estimated the overall energy used by the Internet to be between 170 and 307 GW, less than two percent of the energy used by humanity. This estimate included the energy needed to build, operate, and periodically replace the estimated 750 million laptops, a billion smart phones and 100 million servers worldwide as well as the energy that routers, cell towers, optical switches, Wi-Fi transmitters and cloud storage devices use when transmitting Internet traffic. According to a non-peer reviewed study published in 2018 by The Shift Project (a French think tank funded by corporate sponsors), nearly 4% of global CO2 emissions could be attributed to global data transfer and the necessary infrastructure. The study also said that Internet video, online video streaming alone accounted for 60% of this data transfer and therefore contributed to over 300 million tons of CO2 emission per year, and argued for new "digital sobriety" regulations restricting the use and size of video files.


See also

* Crowdfunding * Crowdsourcing * Darknet * Deep web * Freenet * Index of Internet-related articles * Internet metaphors * Internet video * "Internets" * Open Systems Interconnection * Outline of the Internet


References


Sources

*


Further reading


''First Monday''
a peer-reviewed journal on the Internet by the University Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago,
''The Internet Explained''
Vincent Zegna & Mike Pepper, Sonet Digital, November 2005, pp. 1–7. * * *


External links


The Internet Society

Living Internet
Internet history and related information, including information from many creators of the Internet {{Commons category-inline Internet, American inventions Digital technology Mass media technology New media Promotion and marketing communications Cultural globalization Telegraphy Public services Transport systems Virtual reality 1969 establishments in the United States Computer-related introductions in 1969 Computer-related introductions in 1989