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The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected
computer network A computer network is a set of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operati ...
s that uses the
Internet protocol suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of s used in the and similar s. The current foundational protocols in the suite are the (TCP) and the (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Departm ...
(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 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 network, local-area networks (LAN) or Wide area network ...
technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked
hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a computer display A computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial or text form. A monitor usually comprises a electronic visual display, visual display, electronic circuit, ...

hypertext
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 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational ...
(WWW),
electronic mail Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physic ...

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 i ...
, and
file sharing File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital me ...
. The origins of the Internet date back to the development of
packet switching In telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or re ...
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 A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity ...
in the 1960s to enable
time-sharing In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
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 Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies ...
, 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 The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government Indepe ...
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, and mobile
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...

computer
s were connected to the network. Although the Internet was widely used by
academia An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociol ...

academia
in the 1980s,
commercialization Commercialization or commercialisation is the process A process is a series or set of activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: Business and management *B ...
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,
Internet television Streaming television is the digital distribution Digital distribution (also referred to as content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution (ESD), among others) is the delivery or distribution of digital media Dig ...
,
online music A digital music store is a business that sells digital audio files of music recordings over the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP ...
, digital newspapers, and
video streaming Streaming media is multimedia that is delivered and consumed in a continuous manner from a source, with little or no intermediate storage in network elements. ''Streaming'' refers to the delivery method of content, rather than the content its ...
websites. Newspaper, book, and other print publishing are adapting to
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hyperte ...
technology, or are reshaped into
blogging A blog (a Clipping (morphology), 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 ...

blogging
,
web feed On the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to ...
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 web syndication, syndicated web content such as online newspaper ...
s. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of personal interactions through
instant messaging Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat allowing real-time text transmission over the Internet or another computer network. Messages are typically transmitted between two or more parties, when each user inputs text and trigge ...

instant messaging
,
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online In computer technology and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin ...
s, and
social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship ...
s.
Online shopping Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and eff ...
has grown exponentially for major retailers,
small business Small businesses are privately owned corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and pu ...
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 ...

entrepreneur
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 r ...
" 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 Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contra ...
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 (business), product or service (business), service to a consumer. Supply chain activities involve the transfo ...

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 Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softw ...
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 A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digita ...
(IP address) space and the
Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and Decentralised system, decentralized naming system used to identify computers, Internet#Applications_and_services, services, and other resources reachable through the internet or other intern ...

Domain Name System
(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 A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or ...
(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 technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(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 in all uppercase) is an American daily middle-market newspaper A middle-market newspaper is a newspaper that caters to readers who like entertainment as well as the coverage of important news events. Middle-market sta ...
''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 set of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operati ...
s, though it may also refer to any group of smaller networks. When it came into common use, most publications treated the word ''Internet'' as a capitalized
proper noun A proper noun is a noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lingu ...
; this has become less common. This reflects the tendency in English to capitalize new terms and move to lowercase as they become familiar. The word 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 Pres ...
'' since 2016, recommend the lowercase form in every case. In 2016, the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' 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 (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
to view
web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hypertext documents are interconnected by hyperlinks, which are typically acti ...

web page
s. However, the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational ...
or ''the Web'' is only one of a large number of Internet services, a collection of documents (web pages) and other web resources, linked by
hyperlink In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and so ...

hyperlink
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 The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an United States federal executive depart ...
(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 A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity ...
funded research into
time-sharing In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
of computers. Research into
packet switching In telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or re ...
, 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 A computer scientist is a person who has acquired the knowledge of computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of informat ...

Donald Davies
in 1965.; After the
Symposium on Operating Systems PrinciplesThe Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), organized by the Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 and is the w ...
in 1967, packet switching from the proposed
NPL network The NPL network, or NPL Data Communications Network, was a local area computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These i ...
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 Internet protocol suite, TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies ...
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 Non-profit organization, nonprofit organizations, primarily in Michiga ...
and
CYCLADES The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of technologies, based on phys ...

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 university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA’s academic roots were established in 1882 as a teachers college then known ...
(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 The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a pu ...
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 ...
, and the NLS system at
SRI International SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit organization, nonprofit scientific research, scientific research institute and organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The trustees of Stanford University established SRI in 1946 as ...
(SRI) by
Douglas Engelbart Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, ...
in Menlo Park, California, on 29 October 1969. 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 university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara-Isla Vista, California. It is part of the Uni ...
, followed by the
University of Utah The University of Utah (U of U, UofU, or simply The U) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such ...

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 Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic gro ...

NORSAR
) via a satellite station in Tanum, Sweden, and to Peter Kirstein's research group at
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a major public university , public research university located in London, United Kingdom. UCL is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federa ...
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 The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of commun ...

Vint Cerf
and
Bob Kahn Robert Elliot Kahn (born December 23, 1938) is an American electrical engineer Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, e ...

Bob Kahn
used the term ''internet'' as a shorthand for ''
internetwork Internetworking is the practice of interconnecting multiple computer networks, such that any pair of Host (network), hosts in the connected networks can exchange messages irrespective of their hardware-level networking technology. The resulting syst ...
'' in ', and later RFCs repeated this use. Cerf and Kahn credit
Louis Pouzin Louis Pouzin (April 20, 1931 in Chantenay-Saint-Imbert Chantenay-Saint-Imbert is a Communes of France, commune in the Nièvre Departments of France, department in central France. Demographics At the 1999 census, the population was . See also *C ...

Louis Pouzin
with important influences on
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A commu ...
design. Commercial PTT providers were concerned with developing
X.25 X.25 is an ITU-T The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications and Information Communication Technology such as X.509 for cybersecurity, Y.3172 and Y.3173 for machine learning, and H.264/MPE ...
public data network A public data network (PDN) is a network Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 American film * ''Network'' (2019 film), an Indian film * ''Network'' (album), a 2004 album by Saga ...
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 Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...

National Science Foundation
(NSF) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In 1982, the
Internet Protocol Suite The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of s used in the and similar s. The current foundational protocols in the suite are the (TCP) and the (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Departm ...
(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 The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government Indepe ...
(NSFNet) provided access to
supercomputer upright=1.5, Computing power of the top 1 supercomputer each year, measured in FLOPS 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 mea ...

supercomputer
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 An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics) ...
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 Electrical resistivity (also called specific electrical resistance or volume resistivity) is a fundamental property of a material that measures how strongly it resists electric curre ...
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 network, local-area networks (LAN) or Wide area network ...
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 CompuServe (CompuServe Information Service, also known by its initialism CIS) was an American online service provider, the first major commercial one in the United States – described in 1994 as "the oldest of the Big Three information services ...
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 Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
and
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large la ...
, 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 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system ...

Tim Berners-Lee
would begin writing
WorldWideWeb WorldWideWeb (later renamed to Nexus to avoid confusion between the software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer ...

WorldWideWeb
, 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 (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
, 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 An application layer is an abstraction layerIn computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the ...
(HTTP) 0.9, the
HyperText Markup Language The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntacticall ...
(HTML), the first Web browser (which was also a
HTML editor An is a program for editing HTML The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in ...
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 Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of ...
newsgroups and
FTP 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 c ...

FTP
files), the first HTTP
server software In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softw ...
(later known as
CERN httpd The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large la ...
), the first
web server A web server is 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 Computer program, pr ...
, 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 The Internet protocol suite is the conceptual model A conceptual model is a representation of a system, made of the composition of ...
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 corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entit ...
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 Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west ...

OP Financial Group
, also a
cooperative bank Cooperative banking is retail and commercial banking organized on a cooperative basis. Cooperative banking institutions take deposits and lend money in most parts of the world. Cooperative banking, as discussed here, includes retail banking carr ...
, 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 Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its ...
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 The field-effect tran ...
s, exemplified by
Moore's law Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistor upright=1.4, gate Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands of Java">Indonesia.html" ;"title="Candi bentar, a typical Indonesia">Candi be ...
, 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 Telecommunications network, networks (fixed), a ...
, was catalyzed by advances in
MOS technology MOS Technology, Inc. ("MOS" being short for Metal Oxide Semiconductor 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), i ...
,
laser A laser is a device that emits light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as h ...

laser
light wave systems, and
noise Noise is unwanted sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and t ...
performance. Since 1995, the Internet has tremendously impacted culture and commerce, including the rise of near instant communication by email,
instant messaging Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat allowing real-time text transmission over the Internet or another computer network. Messages are typically transmitted between two or more parties, when each user inputs text and trigge ...

instant messaging
, 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 Multimedia is a form of communication that ...
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 or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship ...
s, and
online shopping Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and eff ...
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 was 2.095 billion (30.2% of
world population In demography, demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion people . It took over 2 million years of prehistory, human prehistory and human history, history fo ...

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 A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gr ...
. 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 Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or c ...
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 The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer In the seven-layer OSI model The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a conceptual model A ...

IPv4
and
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communication protocol, communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic ...

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 technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(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 Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softw ...
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 A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or ...
(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 String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Film ...
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 (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 A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

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 IPv ...
(ARIN) for
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

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 numb ...
(APNIC) for
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and the
Pacific region The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...
, the
Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry The office building that houses LACNIC in Montevideo, Uruguay."> 250px LACNIC (Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre, Spanish: ''Registro de Direcciones de Internet para América Latina y Caribe'', Portuguese: ''Registro de Ender ...
(LACNIC) for
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
and the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
region, and the Réseaux IP Européens – Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) for
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

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, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
were delegated to assign IP address blocks and other Internet parameters to local registries, such as
Internet service provider An Internet service provider (ISP) is an organization that provides a myriad of services for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that ...
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 The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned w ...
, an agency of the
United States Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the Federal government of the United States, executive branch of the federal government of the U ...
, had final approval over changes to the
DNS root zone The DNS root zone is the top-level DNS zone A DNS zone is a specific portion of the DNS namespace in the Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and Decentralised system, decentralized naming system used to i ...
until the IANA stewardship transition on 1 October 2016. The
Internet Society The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a col ...
(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 (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such ...
, 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 The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organi ...
(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 technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(IESG),
Internet Research Task Force{{Infobox organization , name = Internet ResearchTask Force , image = Irtf-logo.svg , image_border = , size = 225px , caption = , map = , msize = , mcaption = , abbreviation = IRT ...
(IRTF), and
Internet Research Steering GroupThe Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) is managed by the IRTF chair in consultation with the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG). The IRSG membership includes the IRTF chair, the chairs of the various IRTF research groups and other individuals ...
(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 , neighboring_municipalities= Caro ...
in
Tunis Tunis ( ar, تونس ') is the and largest city of . The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as "", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants. , it is the fourth-largest city in the region (after , and ) and the in the . Situated on ...

Tunis
established the
Internet Governance Forum The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multistakeholder governance Multistakeholder governance is a practice of governance that employs bringing multiple stakeholders together to participate in dialogue, decision making, and implementation of ...
(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 network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnec ...
, 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 Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about th ...
hardware, with the packets guided to their destinations by IP routers.


Service tiers

Internet service provider An Internet service provider (ISP) is an organization that provides a myriad of services for accessing, using, or participating in the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that ...
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 net ...
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 A computer network is a set of 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 oper ...
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#REDIRECT Internet service provider {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capit ...
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 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 Hos ...

multihoming
to achieve redundancy and load balancing.
Internet exchange point Internet exchange points (IXes or IXPs) are common grounds of IP networking, allowing participant Internet service providers (ISPs) to exchange data destined for their respective networks. IXPs are generally located at places with preexisting ...
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 network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are mad ...

Internet2
, and the UK's national research and education network,
JANET Janet may refer to: Names * Janet (given name) Janet is a feminine given name Image:FML names-2.png, Diagram of naming conventions, using John F. Kennedy as an example. "First names" can also be called given names; "last names" can also be ca ...
.


Access

Common methods of
Internet access Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the using s, s, and other devices; and to access services such as and the . Internet access is sold by s (ISPs) delivering connectivity at a wide range of via vari ...
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 telep ...

modem
via telephone circuits,
broadband In telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that fea ...
over
coaxial cable Coaxial cable, or coax (pronounced ) is a type of consisting of an inner surrounded by a concentric conducting , with the two separated by a ( material); many coaxial cables also have a protective outer sheath or jacket. The term ' refers t ...
,
fiber optics An optical fiber (or fibre in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codificati ...

fiber optics
or copper wires,
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi () is a family of wireless network A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installa ...

Wi-Fi
,
satellite In the context of spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spaceflight ...
, 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 A telephone is a telecommunications device that permits two or more use ...
technology (e.g. , 4G). 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 ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consists ...

Internet cafe
s. 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 prepayment by inserting money (usually coins) or by billing a credit card, cre ...
''. 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 providing such access include , where users need to bring their own wireless devices such as a laptop or
PDA PDA may refer to: Science and technology * Patron-driven acquisition, a mechanism for libraries to purchase books *Personal digital assistant, a mobile device * Photodiode array, a type of detector * Polydiacetylenes, a family of conducting polym ...
. 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 ...

Grassroots
efforts have led to
wireless community network Wireless community networks (WCNs) or wireless community projects are organizations that take a 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 movem ...
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 * New ...

New York
,
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
,
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
,
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

Toronto
,
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (dis ...

San Francisco
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
and
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States and the county seat of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County. A population of 302,971 residents lives within the city limit ...

Pittsburgh
, 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 A projectile is a missile propelled by the exertion of a force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (phys ...
, various high-speed data services over cellular networks, and fixed wireless services. Modern
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
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 An ...

Google Chrome
,
Safari A safari (; ) is an overland journey to or (in more recent times) observe , especially in or . The so-called animals of Africa – , , , , and – particularly form an important part of the safari market, both for and . Etymology The ...
, and
Firefox Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, ...

Firefox
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 The International Telecommunication Union is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communications technology, information and co ...

International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) estimated that, by the end of 2017, 48% of individual users regularly connect to the Internet, up from 34% in 2012.
Mobile Internet#REDIRECT Mobile web 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 A wireless network is a computer n ...
connectivity has played an important role in expanding access in recent years especially in
Asia and the Pacific Image:Asia-Pacific.png, 300px, Map showing the general definition of Asia-Pacific. Dark green refers to the core Asia-Pacific countries, while light green refers to regions that may be included. The Asia-Pacific is the part of the Earth, world in o ...

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 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 Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the using s, s, and other devices; and to access services such as and the . Internet access is sold by ...
, the practice of Internet service providers 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 Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any a ...

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. I ...
, 15 out of 19 countries researched in Latin America 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 transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conv ...

Colombia
, offered as many as 30 pre-paid and 34 post-paid plans. A study of eight countries in the
Global South The concept of Global North and Global South (or North–South divide in a global context) is used to describe a grouping of countries along socio-economic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies ho ...
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 West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as well as .Paul R. ...

Ghana
,
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...

Kenya
,
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
, found
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
's Free Basics and
Wikipedia Zero Wikipedia Zero was a project by the Wikimedia Foundation The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (WMF, or simply Wikimedia) is an United States, American non-profit and charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California. The Foundati ...

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, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of s used in the and similar s. The current foundational protocols in the suite are the (TCP) and the (IP). During its development, versions of it were known as the Departm ...
(also called
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A commu ...
, 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 Othe ...

layers
by the scope of their operation, originally documented in and . At the top is the
application layer An application layer is an abstraction layerIn computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of ...
, 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 An application layer is an abstraction layerIn computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the ...
(HTTP) and an application-germane data structure, such as the
Hypertext Markup Language The HyperText Markup Language, or HTML is the standard markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntacticall ...
(HTML). Below this top layer, the
transport layer In computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of technologies, based on physic ...
connects applications on different hosts with a logical channel through the network. It provides this service with a variety of possible characteristics, such as 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 Internetworking is the practice of interconnecting multiple computer networks, such that any pair of Host (network), hosts in the connected networks can exchange messages irrespective of their h ...
implements the
Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer In the seven-layer OSI model The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a conceptual model A conceptual model is a representation of a system, made of the composition of concept C ...
(IP) which enables computers to identify and locate each other by
IP address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as that is connected to a computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communi ...
, and route their traffic via intermediate (transit) networks. Updated by 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 Abstraction layer, 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 th ...
, 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 A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installa ...

Wi-Fi
,
Ethernet Ethernet () is a family of wired computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of te ...

Ethernet
, and
DSL Digital subscriber line (DSL; originally digital subscriber loop) is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardwa ...

DSL
.


Internet protocol

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 such as that is connected to a computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communi ...
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 The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two ...

DHCP
, or are configured. However, the network also supports other addressing systems. Users generally enter
domain name A domain name is an identification string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, entertainment, and media Film ...
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 the hierarchical and Decentralised system, decentralized naming system used to identify computers, Internet#Applications_and_services, services, and other resources reachable through the internet or other intern ...

Domain Name System
(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 The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routi ...

Internet Protocol version 4
(IPv4) defines an IP address as a
32-bit 32-bit microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, Computer memory, memory and minimal input/output (I/O) circuitry mount ...
number. 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 address 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 me ...
, 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 communication protocol, communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic ...

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 deployment Deployment of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), the latest generation of the Internet Protocol, has been in progress since the mid-2000s. IPv6 was designed as a replacement for IPv4. IPv4 has been in use since 1982, and is in the final stages of ...
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, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A com ...
. 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 In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwa ...
-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 (19 ...
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 address An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as that is connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.R ...
(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 The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routi ...
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 Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of Algor ...
that when applied by a
bitwise AND In computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis, gen ...
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 The full stop ( Commonwealth English), period ( North American English) or full point is a punctuation mark. It is ...
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 table In computer networking A computer network is a set of computers sharing resources located on or provided by Node (networking), network nodes. The computers use common communication protocols over digital signal, digital Interconnection, inter ...

routing table
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 In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theo ...
s. End-nodes typically use a
default route In computer networking, the default route is a configuration of the Internet Protocol The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its ro ...
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 system (Internet), autonomous systems (AS) on the Internet. BGP is classified as a path-vector r ...
to establish the most efficient routing across the complex connections of the global Internet. The
default gateway A default gateway is the node In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot A knot is an intentional complication in Rope, cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitche ...
is the
node In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot A knot is an intentional complication in Rope, cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splic ...

node
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 such as that is connected to a computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communi ...
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 technical standards that comprise the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). It has no formal ...
(IETF). The IETF conducts standard-setting work groups, open to any individual, about the various aspects of Internet architecture. The resulting contributions and standards are published as ''
Request for Comments A Request for Comments (RFC) is a publication in a series, from the principal technical development and standards-setting bodies for the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks tha ...
'' (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 An Internet Standard in computer network engineering refers to the normative specification of a technology that is appropriate for the Internet. Internet Standards allow interoperation of hardware and software from different sources which allows t ...
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 facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
,
electronic mail Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physic ...
,
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements t ...
lications,
multiplayer online game A multiplayer video game is a video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing devic ...
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 Multimedia is a form of communication that co ...
,
file sharing File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital me ...
, and
streaming media Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different such as , , , , or into a single interactive presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media which ...
services. Most servers that provide these services are today hosted in
data center A data center (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Eng ...
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 rel ...
s.


World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is a global collection of
documents A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, content. The word originates from the Latin ''Documentum'', which ...

documents
,
images An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception, such as a photograph or other Two-dimensional space, two-dimensional picture, that resembles a subject—usually a physical physical body, object—and thus provides ...

images
,
multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different such as , , , , or into a single interactive presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media which featured little to no interaction fr ...

multimedia
, applications, and other resources, logically interrelated by
hyperlink In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and so ...

hyperlink
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, conce ...
s (URIs), which provide a global system of named references. URIs symbolically identify services,
web servers A web server is computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as ...
, databases, and the documents and resources that they can provide.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer An application layer is an abstraction layerIn computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the ...
(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 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information ...
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 corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
's
Internet Explorer Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer, (from August 16, 1995 to March 30, 2021) commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a discontinued series of graphical user interface, graphical web browsers develo ...
/
Edge Edge or EDGE may refer to: Technology Computing * Edge computing Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data. This is expected to improve response times and save bandw ...

Edge
,
Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, ...

Mozilla Firefox
,
Opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...
,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this fie ...
's
Safari A safari (; ) is an overland journey to or (in more recent times) observe , especially in or . The so-called animals of Africa – , , , , and – particularly form an important part of the safari market, both for and . Etymology The ...
, 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 An ...

Google Chrome
, 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 In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
, including graphics, sounds,
text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory) In literary theory, a text is any object that can be "read", whether this object is a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block, or styles of clothin ...

text
,
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
,
multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different such as , , , , or into a single interactive presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media which featured little to no interaction fr ...

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 to 1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of a ...
, office applications and scientific demonstrations. Through keyword-driven Internet research 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 upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), ...
like
Yahoo! Yahoo (, styled as yahoo''!'') is an American web services 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 run ...
,
Bing Bing most often refers to: * Bing Crosby Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer, comedian and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was one of the most popular and influential musical ...
and
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...
, 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 ...

publish
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 A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philoso ...

audience
online at greatly reduced expense and time delay. Publishing a web page, a blog, or building a website involves little initial
cost In production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (goods and services) * Production ...

cost
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 Stick-fighting, stickfighting, or stick fighting is a variety of martial arts which use simple long, slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden "sticks" for fighting, such as a gun ...

staff
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 Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...
on popular web pages can be lucrative, and
e-commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of Product (business), products on online services or over the Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, su ...

e-commerce
, which is the sale of products and services directly via the Web, continues to grow. Online advertising is a form of
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
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 Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected compu ...
(SEM), social media marketing, many types of
display advertising Digital display advertising is graphic advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; ...
(including
web banner A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical system ...
advertising), and
mobile advertising Mobile advertising is a form of 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''. M ...
. In 2011, Internet advertising revenues in the United States surpassed those of
cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black-and-white or in color, ...
and nearly exceeded those of
broadcast television Broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical noti ...
. 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 #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntacticall ...

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 t ...
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"_;"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_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

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. Hi ...
s. Email messages can be cc-ed to multiple
email address An email address identifies an email upThe email_address.html"_;"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_messages_("mail")_be ...
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 Multimedia is a form of communication that co ...
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 Multimedia is a form of communication that ...
(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 A two-way radio is a that can both transmit and receive s (a ), unlike a receiver which only receives content. It is an audi ...
-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 substantial cost savings over traditional telephone calls, especially over long distances.
Cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable A nautical cable is a band of tightly woven and clamped ropes, of a defined cable length, used during the age of sail for deep water anchoring, heavy lifting, ship to ship transfers and towing durin ...
,
ADSL Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) is a type of digital subscriber line Digital subscriber line (DSL; originally digital subscriber loop) is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data Digital usually refers to so ...

ADSL
, and
mobile data Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a ...
networks provide
Internet access Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the using s, s, and other devices; and to access services such as and the . Internet access is sold by s (ISPs) delivering connectivity at a wide range of via vari ...
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 Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital me ...
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 Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quant ...
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 A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A communications system or com ...
(FTP) server for easy download by others. It can be put into a "shared location" or onto a
file server In computing, a file server (or fileserver) is a computer attached to a network that provides a location for shared disk access, i.e. storage of computer files (such as text, image, sound, video) that can be accessed by the workstations that are abl ...
for instant use by colleagues. The load of bulk downloads to many users can be eased by the use of "
mirror A mirror is an object that reflects an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment Environment most often refers t ...
" servers or
peer-to-peer Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A ''distributed system'' is a system whose components are located on different co ...

peer-to-peer
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 proof (truth), proving an Logical assertion, assertion, such as the Digital identity, identity of a computer system user. In ...
, the transit of the file over the Internet may be obscured by
encryption In cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logy, -logia'', "study", respectively), is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in ...

encryption
, 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 ...

digital signature
s or by 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 Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different such as , , , , or into a single interactive presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media which ...
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 Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or ...
s to on-demand popular multimedia services.
Podcast A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio signal is typical ...

Podcast
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), Di ...
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 A video camera is a camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis ...

Webcam
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 Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a List of transcontinental countries#Nor ...

Panama Canal
, traffic at a local roundabout or monitor their own premises, live and in real time. Video
chat rooms The term chat room, or chatroom (and sometimes group chat; abbreviated as GC), is primarily used to describe any form of synchronous conferencing Synchronous conferencing is the formal term used in computing, in particular in computer-mediated ...
and video conferencing 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 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.


Users

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 searches every day, 300 million Internet users reading blogs, and 2 billion videos viewed daily on YouTube. 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 and as a world language. Early computer systems were limited to the characters in the ASCII, American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), a subset of the Latin alphabet. 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 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 Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
taken together, 6% in Africa, 3% in the Middle East and 1% in Australia/Oceania. The Internet's technologies have developed enough in recent years, especially in the use of Unicode, that good facilities are available for development and communication in the world's widely used languages. However, some glitches such as ''mojibake'' (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 List of countries by number of Internet users, 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 Telecommunication Union (Geneva), June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
Several neologisms exist that refer to Internet users: Netizen (as in "citizen of the net") refers to those online participation, actively involved in improving virtual community, online communities, the Internet in general or surrounding political affairs and rights such as Freedom of speech#The Internet and information society, free speech, 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
File:WebsitesByLanguagePieChart.svg,
Languages used on the Internet, Website content languages


Usage

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 Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, ...

Mozilla Firefox
, and OpenOffice.org (later forked into LibreOffice). Internet chat, whether using an IRC chat room, an
instant messaging Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat allowing real-time text transmission over the Internet or another computer network. Messages are typically transmitted between two or more parties, when each user inputs text and trigge ...

instant messaging
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 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 is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
have created new ways to socialize and interact. Users of these sites are able to add a wide variety of information to pages, pursue common interests, and 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 that 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 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 Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of ...
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 is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
, 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 r ...
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 facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

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 that 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 set of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operati ...
. 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 Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its ...
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 gigawatt, 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 Wi-Fi () is a family of wireless network A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installa ...

Wi-Fi
transmitters and cloud storage devices use when transmitting
Internet traffic Internet traffic is the flow of data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its ...
. 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 carbon dioxide emissions, 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 * Internet industry jargon * Index of Internet-related articles * Internet metaphors * Internet video * "Internets" * Open Systems Interconnection * Outline of the Internet


Notes


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 {{Authority control Internet, 1969 establishments in the United States American inventions Computer-related introductions in 1969 Computer-related introductions in 1989 Cultural globalization Digital technology Mass media technology New media Promotion and marketing communications Public services Telegraphy Transport systems Virtual reality Main topic articles