In the past few decades, no phenomenon has impacted the human race more than the internet. According to Internet World Stats – a renowned market research company, there are more than 5 billion internet users in the world today. If you divide this figure by the total number of people living on the face of this Earth, you will quickly decipher that two out of every three individuals use the internet! When it comes to the total number of computing devices connected to the global network, the figure, according to Strategy Analytics – a market researcher based out of Newton, Massachusetts, is even higher – thirty-five billion. Comparing it to the total population of the United States of America, it is more than a hundred times higher!
When a phenomenon grows in influence drastically, within the space of a couple of decades, it leads to a lot of discussion about it. Every household that has access to it discusses the internet in some shape or form. While some wonder about its effects on freedom movements in oppressed countries around the world, others inquire about the negative effects of certain aspects of the internet, such as social media. Some even get into philosophical discussions about the semantics of some terms linked to the internet.
If you are one of the latter, consider yourself lucky to have landed on this page! We say this with confidence with the knowledge that we will be discussing how the term “network” relates to the “internet.” In doing so, we will first breakdown what the two terms mean.
Do you know what would be a sheer disappointment? If you thought, the internet was only the websites you had visited since the Xfinity internet plans came out and you got online surfing with much more vigor.
Truth be told, the internet, according to the tech giant Google, holds as much as five million terabytes of data. Putting things into context, that is approximately five billion gigabytes and one gigabyte is as big as half a movie in data terms. So, in short, the internet is as big as 2, 500,000,000 movies! Let us now break down the different parts of the internet:
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is all the web pages on the internet. These web pages can be split into three parts:
- Surface web: includes all web pages that can be accessed by everyone. These pages are indexable on search engines
- Deep web: is the part of the web that is not indexable on search engines. It is also only accessible by entities with the required credentials
- Dark web: is the most anonymous part of the deep web. You will not see dark web pages on search engine results pages. In fact, they are often used for criminal activity.
Apart from web pages, the internet is also the foundation for countless online apps. These apps include gaming apps, such as Houseparty, as well as social media apps, such as LinkedIn. There are also weather apps like AccuWeather and news apps like The Economist’s app.
Broadly speaking, a network can be described as a collection of computing devices that send and receive information from and to one another. To clarify, computing devices do not just mean traditional personal computers, such as laptops and desktops; the term also includes all things that can run a program. With this parameter in mind, it is easy to decipher that smartwatches, smartphones, and even smart home devices, such as Alexa and Google Home, are all computing devices. Because of its broad meaning, we can categorize the term into a lot of different categories such as:
- PANs: As the name suggests, personal area networks (PANs) belong to an individual and are the littlest and most basic of all networks. A computer, a printer, and a modem joined together can be called a PAN.
- LANs: Local area networks (LANs) join multiple computers in the same or next-door buildings. LANs are ideal for connections across the same office or gaming zone. Thus, they are normally owned by firms.
- CANs: The rightly named campus area networks (CANs) provide connections across nearby buildings. Think of a college campus or a campus of a large company such as Google’s Googleplex. It is safe to conclude that CANs are owned by large organizations.
- MANs: As the name implies, metropolitan area networks (MANs) connect computers across a city.
- WANs: What is a network wider than a network that connects computers across a single city? A network that connects computers across multiple cities. That is exactly what wide area networks (WANs) do.
The Internet Is A Network Too!
From the above, we can conclude that the internet, as a phenomenon that connects computers, is a network too. As the internet links people over long distances, we can also conclude that it is a wide area network.