According to dictionaries the definition is:
a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
Technically, the Internet is a global system of connected computer networks. A network of networks, it allows computers to send each other small packets of information or data very quickly and over great distances.
When you use the internet to view a website your computer sends a request and recieves information in return, this is then displayed on your screen. The information you recieve is usually stored on a server that hosts the website.
The internet functions through the use of the Internet Protocol address (usually a series of numbers separated by full stops 188.8.131.52) and the Domain name system (the web address of a site http://www.nttn.co.uk). These allow the networked computers to be idendifed.
The internet is not centrally governed. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) directs the standardisation of protocols.
Traditional means of communication are being reshaped by the internet. Newspapers, books and other printed medium have become blogs and web feeds. Video calling using new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and media streaming
Beginning in the 1960s networked computers began to emerge in the US. Protocols were developed through the 70s by a series of companies using ever more powerful computers.
The Internet started a rapid expansion to Europe and Australia in the 1980s and to Asia in the early 1990s. By the mid 1990s the introduction of more services to the internet like the World Wide Web and VoIP, bringing with them discussion forums, social networks and online shopping has, and continues to have, a great impact on societies across the globe.
The internet should not be confused with the World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991 and is just one of the services runnning on the internet. Other services include Email, file trtansfer, online games, remote computer control and newsgroups.
- BBC Webwise
- Wikipedia article Internet
- Social Networking Service article on Wikipedia
- Internet Forum article on Wikipedia
- History of the World Wide Web