Essay by winlook007University, Master's June 2006

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ECommerce-- Overview & Processes

Brief History of the Internet

A network is two or more computers connected together so they can share information. The Internet is a huge network that connects many smaller networks all around the world. No one entity owns or runs the "Net". It is a resource shared by millions of people and organizations around the world. Anyone who has a computer and a modem (or has access to one) can plug into the Internet by phoning into one of the connected networks. Many companies act as Internet Service Providers (ISP's) by charging a monthly or hourly fee to call a local phone number and access the Internet.

Some people call the Internet, the "Information Superhighway". This is a good analogy because of the way it is set up and how it is used. Super-highways or "Interstates" connect smaller highways, which connect to streets and roads. Individual buildings and homes access the roads from private driveways.

The Information Superhighway or "Internet" connects thousands of WANS (wide-area networks) and LAN's (local area networks). Individual computers get on the Information Superhighway by phoning into the networks. All of these connections are made using cables, phone lines, fiber optics, satellites, and cellular and digital networks.

Messages are broken into "Internet Protocol Packets" which are like little numbered envelopes. Each of the packets is "addressed" to the same destination and identified as belonging to the same message. The packets can then be sent together or can be routed on completely different paths and even sent at different times. When the packets of information arrive at their destination, they are identified and reassembled. If a packet encounters an obstacle, or a computer is down, it is automatically rerouted. If one of the packets fails to arrive, the receiving computer recognizes which packet...