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The Internet

                              PART 5
                            LESSON 3
By now, you should be able to tell someone about basic Computer principles, without mincing words. Okay!

Today’s lesson is yet another exciting one. A topic that you may be familiar with but, have not fully grasp its content.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to do so. Let’s go then…

What is Internet?
The word internet was coined from two words; namely, ”international and network”. So, simply put, Internet is the international connection of Computer networks, linking people and computers together electronically, around the world for the purpose of sharing information and communication.

How the Internet works
Internet connection is made possible by a common protocol called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A protocol is a set of rules or control governing the use of the internet. This protocol allows different types of computers that run different kinds of Operating System, like Windows, Unix, Macintosh e.t.c. to communicate with one another.

Sending Internet information or data
To send the information or data electronically, TCP/IP break down the information or data into small units, known as Packets. Every packet has a destination address and this address is also sent through another device called Router.

The router plays the role of a Post Office from where the incoming and outgoing mails are dispatched or sent to their destination.

Even though the small pieces of data or units/packets take different routes through the internet, TCP/IP recovers or recollects them into the original information.

A brief history of Internet
Initially, Wide Area Computer networks (WACN) were only found in the military. In the US, the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (APRA) created the APRANET, to serve as a forerunner to the internet in the year, 1969.

The APRANET was a network of four University Computers, which were designed to administer military research. As time went on, it expanded to incorporate other universities and government agencies to enhance communications among defense Contractors and research fellows in the various universities.

The national Science Foundation (NSF) used APRANET technology to construct its own network, called the NSFNET in the mid-1980’s in order to satisfy the aim of making available five (5) regional super conductors for research for Computer Science students and Scientists in the major Universities.

As the above network experiment grew, the US government Contractors, employees, international Researchers and Educators later gained access into the system.

As at 1998, about 300 million people were using the internet for various businesses. People banking Online as at 2001, were 1.3 million.

In 2003, it increased to 23.2 million people. Today, well over 800 million people are using the internet across the world.

These connections have been made possible for individuals and businesses by commercial companies known as Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Uses of the Internet
The internet has lots and lots of uses; among which are the following:-
1. Used to send and receive messages and information via the e-mail (electronic mail) system.

2. The internet is used for communication; both locally and internationally.

3. It is used for entertainment.

4. The internet is used for Online shopping, banking and booking transactions or businesses.

5. Used to search for information via the Search Engine.

6. Students and Project Researchers can use the internet to access databases and copy lots of information.

Benefits and importance of the Internet
1). Through the use of the e-mailing system to send and receive messages, less time and money is spent compared to long distance telephone charges.

2). Communication, both locally and internationally is made faster and cost effective with the internet.

3). Job and employment applications are made possible through the use of the internet.

4). The internet promotes good businesses and relationships.

5). With the internet, students can have free access to educational materials as they stay at home to study.

Disadvantages of Internet
Despite the numerous uses and benefits of the internet, there are a number of disadvantages that come with it. The following are some examples:-
1. Students and innocent people are lured or prone to watching pornographic images or videos on the internet.

2. Students spend more time on the internet, rather than reading or studying their books.

3. There are lots and lots of misinformation or misleading articles on the internet by people who have little or no basic knowledge or information on such issues or topics.

4. Some people use the internet to fool or deceive other people.

5. The internet promotes or propagates violent scenes and acts.

Internet features
The following are some internet features:-
1). WWW. World Wide Web. This is an internet feature or component that makes it possible for you to gain access or make use of the available internet resources.

2). e-mail. Simply mean, electronic-mail. It is an electronic way of sending and receiving messages.

3). FTP (File Transfer Protocol) moderates the transfer of files on the internet.
Other internet features include Internet Relay Chat, Instant messaging and News Telnet.

Internet Services
The following are the available internet Services:-
1. WWW:- World Wide Web.
2. e-mail (electronic-mail).
3. Newsgroups Chat.
4. File Transfer Protocol.
5. Blogging.

What makes Internet Possible
In order to have access to the internet you need a number of items, which include the following:-
1). A set of Computer (Laptop or Desktop).

2). A telephone line.

3). A MODEM (modulator/demodulator).

4). Internet Service Provider (ISP)

5). A web browser. This an application software or program used to open or explore the internet or webpage/site; e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini e.t.c.

Internet Technologies or Tools
Internet technologies or tools are used to access the internet or WebPages. They include the following:-
1. Telephones

2. GPRS (Global Positioning Re-location System or General Packet/Pocket Radio Services)

3. EDGE ( Enhanced Data for Global Evolution)

Types of Networks
There are various types of network connections. However, the two major types of network are:-
1. WAN (Wide Area Network). The internet is the largest wide area network we have in the world because, it cuts across the whole wide world.

2. LAN (Local Area Network)
Local Area Network
LAN (Local Area Network). This connects or links computers within a restricted or limited geographical location; e.g. hospitals, schools, offices e.t.c.

Advantages of LAN
1). It is cheaper or less expensive to set-up or maintain.

2). High speed rate of data transfer is assured.

3). Smaller number of network components/devices is required.

Differences between LAN and WAN
1. LAN is slow to transfer data or information through the network.

2. WAN uses more network components/devices.

3. WAN is very expensive to maintain and to set up.

4. WAN covers a wide area of networks or large scale coverage.

What a good note to end this lesson. I do hope you have enjoyed every bit of it. Till we meet again, bye for now!

A professional teacher and Alumna of the University of Cape Coast. Also holds a diploma in Information Technology.

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