A world-wide computer network that can be accessed via a computer, mobile telephone, PDA, games machine, digital TV, etc. The Internet access service can be provided through a fixed (wired) or mobile network: analogue dial-up modem via standard telephone line, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or ADSL, Cable modem, High speed leased lines, Fiber, Powerline, Satellite broadband network, WiMAX, Fixed CDMA, Mobile broadband network (3G, e.g. UMTS) via a handset or card, Integrated SIM card in a computer, or USB modem.
The Internet acts as a pipeline to transport electronic messages from one network to another network. At the heart of most networks is a server, a fast computer with large amounts of memory and storage space. The server controls the communication of information between the devices attached to a network, such as computers, printers, or other servers.
Basically Internet is free but one might ask why we pay for it? We have what we call an Internet Service Provider (ISP) allows the user access to the Internet through their server(Econet, Netone, Telecel etc). Many teachers use a connection through a local university as their ISP because it is free. Other ISPs, telephone companies (Telone, Africom, Powertel, etc) or cable companies (Liquid, Telco,ZOL) provide Internet access for their customers.
What makes up the World Wide Web?
The Internet is often confused with the World Wide Web. The misperception is that these two terms are synonymous. The Internet is the collection of the many different systems and protocols (rules). The World Wide Web, developed in 1989, is actually one of those different protocols. As the name implies, it allows resources to be linked with great ease in an seamless fashion.
The World Wide Web contains a vast collection of linked multimedia pages that is ever-changing. However, there are several basic components of the Web that allow users to communicate with each other. Below you will find selected components and their descriptions.
In order for a computer to communicate on the Internet, a set of rules or protocols computers must follow to exchange messages was developed. The two most important protocols allowing computers to transmit data on the Internet are Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP). With these protocols, virtually all computers can communicate with each other. For instance, if a user is running Windows on a PC, he or she can communicate with Smartphones.
Domain name system
An Internet address has four fields with numbers that are separated by periods or dots. This type of address is known as an IP address. Rather than have the user remember long strings of numbers, the Domain Name System (DNS) was developed to translate the numerical addresses into words. For example, the address www.eyetrodigital.com is really 22.214.171.124
Addresses for web sites are called URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). Most of them begin with http (HyperText Transfer Protocol), followed by a colon and two slashes. For example, the URL for Eyetro Digital is http://www.eyetrodigital.com/
Each part of a domain name contains certain information. The first field is the host name, identifying a single computer or organization. The last field is the top-level domain, describing the type of organization and occasionally country of origin associated with the address.
Top-level domain names include:
.gov US Government
.mil US Military
.net Networking Providers
.org Non-profit Organization
Domain name country codes include, but are not limited to:
.za. South Africa
.uk United Kingdom
.us United States