Friday, November 1, 2013

Internet defined simply

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life. - Andrew Brown

For most of us, this is true. Internet provides lots of information, lots of entertainment, lots of stuffs to pass time. But the original purpose of internet was to build an information network between computers and internet today really proved to be successful on this goal. Mitchell Kapor perfectly said "Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant."

This powerful weapon can be accessed from any corner of the world using a web browser. Many web site and web applications are available over internet to provide you with information. Beautiful web pages are what we can see in our PC/Mobile phones and more interestingly, whatever device you use, you always get the same information in each of them.

As the days passing by, the numbers of websites are increasing. We for our day to day basis, visit many websites. Many of us are having our own Mail accounts, Facebook Account, WhatsApp Account. World is moving and we call this era, 'Era of Internet'. Most of the world is connected with the giant called, 'Internet' by any means. May be its for entertainment purpose (FacebookYoutube etc), or for news ( or for health care purpose ( or may be for some knowledge gaining purpose ( or to connect professionally ( or to store your files on cloud( or to show off who you are ( or simply when you have nothing special and start building something ( and the list goes on, each one use internet for a purpose.

Now let's try to see how this is done.

This is achieved by a Server-Client Concept. Following is the graphical representation of the architecture,
Client-Server architecture
To define the different components in the diagram, we have to go through some definitions,

Server: This is a software component which can perform some operations based on requests sent by a Client.
Client: A client is a software which sends request to the server.
User: A user is a person using the Client.

I am a person, can I be a user ?
Yes you are a user at this point of time and you are using a web browser, may be Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera etc. These are applications which sends a request to the server; the server knows which information the client wants and does a beautiful job for you and finds the information you want and sends the information formatted as response back to the client you are using and the client application knows how to format the response and gives you a beautiful reading experience.

So, at its bare basic is a process of request-response communication.

So, we know how everything goes on. Now let's check how everything works.

Client application takes user input >> It then generates a request >> Client sends the request to Server

Server receives the request >> Server processes the request >> Server creates a response based on the processed output >> Sends back the response to client

To perform all these operations, Client and Server agrees upon a common language between them for communication. This language is known as HTTP. The communication takes place on a medium known as network. This network is responsible for all the communication taken place on it and also takes care of all the related hassles to ensure that the server and client should not bother about it and can perform their tasks at ease.

So, what is Internet ?
Internet is network of networks. Following diagram puts a more light on it.
Internet - network of networks
Now, its a bit tricky here. We know that network is responsible for a server and a client to communicate. Then we might think what is the use of Internet.

Well the answer is simple but it comes with a question. Suppose, you want a piece of information which is not available on the network you are connected (that happens in most cases), how would you fetch the information ?
Simple, I will connect to the network, it has the information in it.

Exactly, Internet does the same thing. It finds the network for you and connects your client to the network.

Definition from webopedia is 'The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers. More than 190 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions.'

What is data ?
Well, this defines data.

Hope, this article helps you understand the internet. Thanks for reading.

Palash Kanti Kundu

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