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Lesson 3 Infrastructure of the Internet
Objective Describe the infrastructure of the Internet.

Infrastructure of the Internet

Internet Global Network

The Internet is a global network of computers that can communicate across different computer platforms using a standardized addressing scheme. Or put simply, a group of computers that can accomplish something because they share a common bond (TCP/IP). Local area networks (LANs) are connected to form the global Internet.
The internet is a global collection of networks, both big and small. These networks connect together in many different ways to form the single entity that we know as the Internet. The very name comes from this idea of interconnected networks since its beginning in 1969. By December 5, 1969, a 4-node network was connected by adding the University of Utah and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Building on ideas that were developed at ALOHAnet, the ARPANET grew rapidly.
However, just because nobody owns the Internet, this does not mean it is not monitored and maintained in different ways. The Internet Society, a non-profit group established in 1992, oversees the formation of the policies and protocols that define how we use and interact with the Internet. The figure below illustrates a historical representation of the Internet.
The Internet
The Internet


Internet activity requires an underlying infrastructure. That infrastructure is local hardware and software devices linked to distant, or global, hardware and software devices. We saw how the OSI model conceptually depicts this portion of the infrastructure. An example: Think of the differences between the components of a Mac and a PC. There's a combination of local and global parts. The same is true for the Internet and its component devices. Protocols and naming schemes in turn ensure that the operation among the devices is conducted smoothly. At a more physical level, there are two core structural components of the Internet, which you will learn about in a separate lesson. These components actually transport the Internet's data in a global setting:
  1. Backbone
  2. Network Access Points (NAPs)
In the next lesson, you will learn the purpose of backbones and Network Access Points and how they relate to each other.