They key to how the Internet works is understanding what the Internet is: The Internetis actually a network of networks. It cant easily be defined as a single object, or run by justone computer or company. The Internet is basically the network of the world. Anythingyou can get off of the Internet from your home you can get it from any computer on theInternet around the world, countries like China and Japan.
The Internet is the worlds largest distributed system; it was designed and engineeredwith an abundance of routes, connections and easily recovers from a mishap. The Internet is nota single company or group of companies, and it's not even a singe network. It is a worldwidemesh or "matrix" of hundreds of thousands of people in hundreds of countries, all interconnectedby "ICP's". Not a single organization controls the internet; not the U.N. or the biggest "ISP's"such as America Online. Since the start of the Internet it has outgrown control by the U.Sgovernment.
The Internet is different from other major services. Electricity tends to be providedby a single company in each geographical area. The "last mile" of telephone service to thecustomer is usually owned by a single company. But in general there is more than oneInternet provider, and there are usually many paths from a local provider in one area to aprovider in another area. There are many different ways to connect to the Internet. A coupleexamples are either by a telephone line, or by a cable connection. The different connections allhave different speed in which they connect. The cable connection is much faster then thetelephone connection.
The internet is capable of many things, it can send pictures or letter, or you can even hold a fullconversatoin with someone. Things like this are done by chopping up the message or picture...