Planning & Managing an Internet Service
By Pauline M. Berry
- INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNET
1.1 What is the Internet?
1.2 History and Growth of the Internet
1.3 Basic Internet Concepts
1.4 Principal Internet Applications
1.5 Introduction to the World Wide Web
- Real Business Opportunities
- Internet Access - build or buy?
- Site Construction
- WWW Tools
- Internet Issues and Implications
- Full Course Index
We have all seen reports about superhighways of information, about people
browsing cyberspace and about a new and
exciting "information society" that is
evolving. In fact ,what most of these reports are referring to is the Internet:
a vast and loose collaboration of networks, individuals and organisations. It
is the phenomenal growth of the Internet
that is hitting our headlines and if the present rate of expansion were to
continue, everyone on the planet would be connected by early next century.
However, the interesting question is not whether the Internet will be large, it
already is, but rather how it will evolve, what business opportunities will
develop and how it will influence our societies and economies.
An internet, loosely defined, is an interconnection of two or more networks.
The Internet is a specific collaboration of networks that allows users
at disparate, heterogeneous computer networks to communicate with each other
across organisational and geographic boundaries.
"The Internet is now poised for a rapid period of expansion during and
beyond the final decade of the 20th Century. As networking, personal computing,
workstations, mobile communication and distributed computing become more
widespread and as information in digital form becomes a norm, the utility of
systems like the Internet will rise dramatically."
Dr. Vinto Cerf, The Internet Society
The Internet is a packet-switched network
which is basically a collection of networks throughout the world, although the
US has the highest density, most of which are built using the Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol(TCP/IP)
protocol suite and all of which share a common name and address space.
The Internet exists to facilitate the sharing of resources among participating
organisations and individuals. It is estimated that there are between 40 and 60
million people with access to the Internet with over 70 thousand networks
assigned unique IP network numbers. The actual physical connection between the
various networks which make up the Internet take a variety of forms. The most
prevalent are 56Kbps and 1Mbps leased lines but the major backbone networks are
connected by lines capable of carrying a massive 45Mbps. These lines are
usually paid for by each institution with a dedicated line. However, other
links are made via national and local public carriers and the telephone
networks. This means that Joe public using a modem from home can correspond
with someone across the world for the price of a local telephone call!
No-one! There is no general overseeing authority for the whole network. Each
component network has its own administrative body, policies and rules. However,
in reality, certain US government agencies have been more prominent in setting
Internet policies and until May 1995 most important decisions came from the
National Science Foundation (NSF). Increasingly commercial vendors and large IT
and telecommunication companies are making an impact. In addition, a coalition
of technically knowledgeable individuals, usually voluntary, guide the
development of the Internet, the
Internet Society (ISOC). Innovations come from the Internet
Architecture Board (IAB) and its task forces and working groups.
The Internet is a co-operating group of independently administrated networks.
History and Growth of the Internet
Internet started life as a
packet-switching network called
It was an experimental project by the US Department of Defence (DoD) to get
computers to communicate over wide geographical areas (1969). When, in later
years LANs, and WANs, began to proliferate DARPA (Defence Research Projects
Agency) began to explore the use of packet
switching techniques to communicate with these other types of network. However,
ARPANET required a more general set of protocols to allow this goal to be
fulfilled so DARPA funded the development of TCP/IP.
In 1983 DARPA required all networks and
computers connected to ARPANET to use TCP/IP. Also ARPANET became 2 nets,
ARPANET for research and development and MILNET for Military sensitive data.
Eventually, ARPANET was dissolved in favour of the
NSFNET which employed more up-to-date technology
and served the research and academic communities. This led the way for the
growth of the Internet. In May
1995 the US government dismantled the NSFNET and large companies such as
MCI and Sprint
have eagerly stepped in to supply Internet
connectivity across the US backbone.
It is difficult to imagine how big the internet is and how quickly it is
growing. In August 1981 there were 213 hosts on the Internet (ARPANET). In
October 1984 there were 1,024 hosts. In Jan. 1996 the internet exceeded 9.4
million hosts and it was estimated that between 40 and 60 million users had
access to the Internet via these hosts! These numbers are estimates based on
Mark Lottor's Domain Survey which counts
the overall number of registered host computers connected to the Net. However,
these numbers are only rough estimates given that many hosts may be hidden
or may be down or disconnected.
To understand the Internet it is first necessary to uncerstand some of the
Basic Internet Concepts:
From the Internet user's point of view, access to the network and its services
is accomplished by using application programs. It is not really necessary for a
user to understand the details of the programs just how to use them. However,
the user should have an idea of the standards for their use and the etiquette
expected. Some of the most common and widely used application as well as some
of particular use to an information scientist or manager are the
Principal Internet Applications:
FULL COURSE INDEX
PAULINE BERRY | DIS |
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