Here, you’ll discover a brief guide on how information travels on the internet.
Where it all starts
All computers across the globe, along with web servers, have a unique IP address. These are ultimately the most important pieces of information required to send and receive information online.
When you visit a website, the information request is sent via a packet which is basically a virtual parcel containing a lot of essential information. Routers and switches are used to send the packet of information from your computer, to the web server where the website is located.
It does this, starting with communication cables, like the ones you can purchase from companies such as RS. The packets of information then travel to and from the server through fibre optic cables via satellites or under the sea.
Receiving the information
Once that little packet of information reaches the web server, the request is read and the information requested is split into many different packets ready to be sent back to you. There can be hundreds of thousands of packets in the request, each containing vital information for your computer to put them back together.
Routers will determine the fastest way to get the information back to you, and the packets may even arrive in a different order to how they were sent out.
How the information is displayed
Once all of the packets of information have arrived at your computer, it uses their contained instructions to put them back together. Once this is done, the information will be displayed upon your screen.
It sounds like a long process, particularly if the information is travelling across the world. However, it takes just seconds for this entire process to complete. When you really think about that, you realise just how amazing the internet really is!
This is just a very basic overview of how the internet works. For something we now take for granted, it’s surprising just how complex the whole thing is. We’ve certainly come a long way from when the internet was first introduced, and improvements are constantly being developed.