Have you ever wondered, how information travels on the Internet? The journey is quite interesting! Get to know here.
Chatting, exploring information, sending emails, or video calls; all are an inseparable part of our lives. But have you ever thought about how many computers are being used in the process? One computer is with you and the other is with the person communicating with you. However, there are many other computers between these two that are making your communication possible. But how do they communicate with each other? Let’s understand.
What is the Internet?
All the computers of the world that are connected with each other form the internet. But the main force comes from the cable buried in the ground or laid on sea beds. It might be fiber optics, copper, or occasionally beamed to satellite, or through cell phone networks; but it is a cable that paves the way to form a wide area network also known as World Wide Web – www.
You communicate or exchange information over these global connections through this cable with anyone, anywhere on earth, anytime, all through the year. Computers connected directly to this cable can communicate and assist you in exchanging information.
How Information Travels on the Internet?
Pressing ENTER on your keyboard is something that you do a thousand times a day. By doing so, you send information or query to World Wide Web – www. Whatever is your message, it is broken into small pieces called “data packets”. This allows people around the world to use the internet at the same time. Your info is sent through the internet as small data packets and re-assembled at the receiver’s computer.
Let’s simplify it more. A unique internet protocol address or IP address is provided to each and every server. Just like a postal address helps locate a place, IP addresses help computers find each other. But IP addresses like 192.168.0.150 don’t roll off the tongue, so they have names such as Google.com or Facebook.com.
Information Flow on Internet: Explanation with Daily Life Examples
Every day we see vehicles moving on roads. We will compare internet data flow with the movement of vehicles. Once your internet service providers or ISP receive data packets, it sends these packets to the internet. Now, these data packets start moving to their destination. Let’s assume that data packets are vehicles.
As roads have speed limits for vehicles, the speed at which data packets move depends on the internet connection you have. High-speed connections such as DSL, wireless, or mobile broadband facilitate data packets to travel faster than slower connections like dial-up and older broadband.
The speed of data packets depends on their size. For instance, huge trucks move slower and cars move much faster. Similarly, huge data packets take more time to reach their destined computer, whereas smaller packets reach in a short time.
Every packet carries the information you requested or sent along with your IP address and the address of the destination computer. Information required to control and check the content is also stored in these data packets.
So, just like vehicles move on different roads to reach the same place if there is a traffic jam; data packets also take different routes to reach the destination computer if the internet route is congested. In short, the data packets might have the same origin and destination but they travel through different routes to reach their destination.
What are Internet Routes?
The internet is a series of numerous interconnecting networks. Now, let’s resort to vehicles and roads again to understand it. Traffic on roads is managed by traffic police. Similarly, the router is the traffic police of the internet.
It directs the data packets to the best routes as per their speed and the number of other data packets coming to the same route. These routers frequently talk to each other to be aware of the route on which data packets can travel the fastest.
It is noteworthy that just like traffic patterns differ basis the traffic amount or road conditions, internet traffic patterns also vary as per the size, type, and amount of data packets. Some data packets may reach their destination haphazardly because of delay or might not reach.
If you listen to music or enjoy watching movies online; you might have witnessed music that pauses or a video that looks hazy or pixelated. Such experiences are because of the high internet traffic that data packets encounter en-route.
Once the data packets successfully reach the destination computer, they start re-assembling to convey the information correctly. If they have sequence numbers, the computer arranges them in the correct order and asks for re-transmission of any packets lost while on their way.
To be precise, the information is divided into various data packets so that these small packets are easily transmitted over the internet. They travel through different routes from the sending computers to the receiving computers. The speed and traffic in between determine the frequency and quality of the information shared.
Do you have anything more to add to the process of how data travels across the Internet? Please share in your comments below.