An overview of how the Internet works and why it works the way it does. It provides both a technical introduction and covers some of the design principles that guided the Internet’s initial architecture. The conclusion outlines some implications for policy makers resulting from design: different types of service providers cannot always see the parts of the information that is not relevant to them. That is, an ISP cannot always see the higher level information in the packets (for example, it may be encrypted.); the higher-level service provider (a Web server, for example) cannot see the routing information in the routers, and cannot determine what the topology and capacity of the Internet is. This article also includes a glossary with key terms.
A graphical snapshot of the technological infrastructure, from routers to packets. This chapter provides a more conceptual understanding of the network and the transfer of data.
A technical, yet accessible illustrated overview of the main building blocks and connection types. The first section, Understanding the Internet’s Underlying Architecture, provides an overview of the Internet, and examines fundamental architectures, protocols, and general concepts. The second section, Connecting to the Internet, looks at the various ways computers can connect to the Internet, and has not been covered by other readings listed in this section. The main takeaway from this introduction is that connecting to the Internet will become increasingly easy—and will occur at increasingly higher speeds.