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What is the Internet?

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The internet is a global public computer network.

Internet vs Networks

A network is a series of interconnected computing devices. Any two devices that are connected can be considered a network. The internet is the result of connecting networks to networks in an open way such that billions of devices join the same network. The internet is the largest network on the planet with around 4 billion users at present.

Internet vs Private Network

It is common for firms and individuals to build private networks that are only accessible to authorized individuals and devices. These have several variations:
Personal Area Network
A network established by an individual to integrate their devices. For example, a person who connects a mobile phone, laptop, television, storage device and printer with a private network.
Home Network
A network shared by members of a household.
Local Area Network
A network that connects devices at a single geographical location such as an office.
Campus Network
Networks that connect multiple buildings in the same area.
Metropolitan Area Network
A network that connects multiple locations in the same city.
Wide Area Network
A network that connects multiple locations across a region or nation.
It is common for private networks to connect to the internet. This requires security measures such as firewalls that block internet access to your private resources. For example, a home network may not allow inbound connections from the internet.

Internet vs Intranet

Intranet is a common term for web resources that are available on a private network. For example, an office may have a variety of information pages and software tools that are accessible from a web browser when connected to a local area network. As such, an intranet can be considered a private version of the internet at the web page level.

Internet vs World Wide Web

The world wide web is one of the primary technologies behind the internet that allows resources to be located using web addresses such as:
The internet is a network and the world wide web is a system for addressing internet resources.

Internet vs Wifi

Wifi is a wireless networking technology that can be used to connect devices to a network. Wifi is commonly used to connect devices to the internet. It can also be used to create a private network.

Internet vs 5G

Mobile technologies such as 3G, 4G and 5G can be used to connect devices to the internet and non-internet telecom services such as mobile voice.

Internet vs Cloud

Cloud computing is a class of technology for using many physical computers as a single resource. This is a common way to build websites and software services to serve many users using many computers sitting in data centers. Cloud computing may connect to the internet to provide websites and software services to users. Alternatively, a cloud can be connected to a private network.

Internet vs Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are software tools that are installed on a mobile device. Such apps may require an internet connection to function normally as they may rely on cloud-based services.

Internet vs Deep Web

The deep web is the portion of the internet that does not appear in a search engine. For example, a company may have an employee section on their website that is not available to the public. Most content that requires authentication and authorization to view is part of the deep web.

Internet vs Overlay Network

An overlay network is a virtual network that is built on top of the internet using encryption and specialized networking protocols. For example, a company can use a virtual private network, better known as VPN, to create a private network without investing in its own networking infrastructure.

Internet vs Internet of Things

The internet of things is a class of physical thing that connects to internet services. This may be done to extend functionality. For example, a smart window might connect to a weather service to plan its day. This might be useful to services such as passive heating. Alternatively, the window might secure itself if a storm is coming. The internet of things uses the internet.
Overview: Internet
A global public computer network.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about networking.
Campus Network
Internet Backbone
Internet Of Things
Last Mile
Network Security
Personal Branding
Pervasive Networks
Point Of Presence
Private Network
Proxy Server
Public Network
Reverse Proxy
Space Network
More ...
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