The term "Internet" has many meanings depending on what network a person uses. No one person, no one government, no one entity owns or controls the Internet. Instead, it consists of many networks cooperating and making alliances all over the world. Each organization monitors and maintains its own network. A group known as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets standards, oversees research, and gives guidance for many areas of the network. Best of all Tim Lee Burns who oversaw the majority of work on the early Internet is part of that group.
High speed on the Internet happens from local, regional, and international networks communicating on needs and hardware. Each group contributes to the internal structure of the Internet in a variety of ways. Companies lay down the infrastructure that carries the bits and bytes cable, satellite, fiber optics, and wireless. Organizations and governments create guidelines on use, bandwidth, and standards. Of course, most of the work is finding ways to make the bits and bytes flow as quickly as possible between home and the site a person is accessing. As a human enterprise, it ranks as the first global cooperation created solely for offering a means of communication for anyone anywhere.
A living breathing ecosystem comes as one of the best ways to describe the Net. It has an overarching framework that everything else connects on. It has niches for specialized needs in the ecosystem. What affects one part or section of the Net has effects on the rest of the Net. It changes daily and reacts differently every day. It is all determined by human interaction and communications with others either directly or indirectly.
Not for profit research since 1996 in 200 universities and 115 companies across the globe have been testing advanced network technology daily. All require high speed networks. Many of the wonders of technology a person experiences today came out of these universities and companies. Other entities pick the technology up, adapt it, and make money with it. Online books, music, movies, and magazines started out as ideas and seeds for use at the not for profit research facilities. Presently, these places are working on high definition video, quicker ways to resolve network problems, and enhanced detection of any problems.
What high speed Internet providers give to a consumer is an access point, not the Internet itself. A provider may have their niche and personal network where they give their brand of news, weather, financial data, games and storage. It pays to determine your needs and shop around. These providers come at different levels. An ISP (internet service provider) may cover a specific geographical area and offer the initial connection to that area. National ISP exists and serves cities and towns in a nationwide network.
Another access point is OSP (online service providers). OSP is like a club where one must become a member. It functions more as a large gateway to the Internet. These entities regulate what services members have access to. It customizes a version of the web to its companies vision and needs.
More and more wireless Internet service providers are becoming the norm. Smart phones, laptops, desktops or any device with wireless capability can access a hotspot. Some wireless access points are free, and others take a monthly fee for access. In urban areas, restaurants, colleges, community areas such as airports offer free wi-fi for the public use.
Internet has become one of the major means of communicating in business, in the news, in media and among many individuals. Every day across the globe it becomes a culture of its own and part of people’s lives. The astronomical amount of data streaming through it in its many forms ensures something is available for anyone in any format if they have a need.
Virginia Roy is a technology expert and internet safety advocate. She monitors internet service providers to ensure they are offering the latest safety features for kids.