What is the Internet in Technical and Practical Terms For the Lay-Person?

What is the Internet?In technical terms, the Internet is a system of hardware and software equipment, processes and procedures (called protocols) that standardize and make possible digital communication from computer network to computer network. A network is loosely speaking a closed group of computer users that are connected together within their respective communication loop. Networks can be local, national, and international is scope.The most common Internet protocol is TCP/IP which stands for Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the protocol communication system in the suite (grouping) of Internet protocols that allow for computer based inter-network communication. There are four layers to the TCP/IP suite. They are:

Link Layer (The inner most structural layer)
Internet LayerTransport Layer, andApplication Layer (Outer most structural layer)

The most common “inner most structural layer” above refers to the basic infrastructure of the TCP/IP suite of protocols. And, the “outer most structural layer” referred to here is the layer that end users most commonly come into direct contact with such as “http” (hypertext transfer protocol) found in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the Internet address of a respective website user. Http is used to facilitate data transfer requests between website browsers (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape) and Web pages.The term “digital” refers to electronic data units represented by zero (0) and one (1) which loosely refers to off and on respectively. The (0) and (1) base electronic data units are called bits. And, two or more bits combined together are called a “byte.” Bytes are combined together to form electronic statements which humans can interpret and understand. These electronic statements at the user level are the text statements that are read on a computer screen.What single activity do human beings do more than anything? The answer is communicate. The Internet enables people to communicate with speed and efficiency like no other resource in human history to date. The Internet is low cost and fast; two unbeatable combinations. Further, the Internet has transformed the way people communicate.The U.S. Postal Service is expected to lose somewhere in the area of $7 billion to $8 billion or more by year end of 2010, in large part, due to the Internet. People have shifted their communication away from physical (called snail) mail to Internet e-mail (electronic-mail). You can send a mail message to someone using the Internet anywhere in the world instantly, and without direct cost.What the Internet means to businesses, both large and small, is that there is a new way of communicating being used in the business, global economy. In order for businesses to keep up with literally everything going on and happening in the global business world business organizations must learn how to use the Internet in every facet of their business operations.The Internet has made it possible for a stay-at-home-mom or a grand-parent in a rural community to conduct major business activities over the Internet, and compete with Fortune 500 companies for customers in market niches (group with common characteristics). This can be done with minimal cost and physical hardware.A single business owner with no employees can outsource “employee” work to virtual assistants (online assistants) in other parts of the world in real time (now, in the current moment). The only major direct cost hiring a virtual assistant is paying for their services. There are no employee benefit costs, etc., associated with virtual assistants because they operate as independent contractors.The Internet was first created and used by the U.S. military as an intelligence storage and communication tool back in the late 1960s. It eventually found its way into commercial use in the early to mid 1990s. The Internet is constantly evolving, and roughly half of the world’s people are currently using it. There is still much more growth opportunity in the expansion of the Internet.The Internet has its own communication “personality.” You cannot read pages on a computer screen like you do in a physical book. The human eye scans text and images on a computer screen. The light and electronic rays projected by the computer screen monitor also alter human eye-to-perception dynamics.In conclusion, learning how to use the Internet effectively is a much in demand skill. It is needed by private and public organizations, and by personal and business users. The Internet has opened the doors of opportunity to everyone.

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