Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
How the Internet Works

Jonathan Strickland, How does the Internet work? (How Stuff Works, 2010)

The webpage provides a non-technical explanation of how the internet works in a nutshell. While it does not explain the history behind the internet, it breaks down the technical jargon of protocols, packets and IP addresses.

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Network Working Group, FYI on “What is the Internet?” Request for Comments 1462 (1993)

Request for Comments (RFCs) are published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Society. These are authored by engineers and scientists. The webpage comprehensively addresses the question of what the internet is and how it works from a technical standpoint. It also attempts to answer questions like ‘Who governs the Internet?’, ‘Who Pays for it?’ and ‘What this means for me?’.

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Jonathan Zittrain, Jonathan Zittrain on How the Internet Works (iLaw, 2004)

In this video Jonathan Zittrain explains the working of the Internet while drawing an analogy with the US Postal Service. It explains how the internet operates within a network where packets like parcels are transferred from one hub to another.

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Andrew Blum, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, ‘Prologue’ 4-10, Chapter 1 (“Maps”) (2012)

As Blum writes, the Internet is tangible: it fills buildings, converges in some places in the world and avoids others, and it flows through tubes—along train lines and highways, and under oceans. You can map it, smell it and see it. As Tom Vanderbilt does in his bestselling Traffic, Blum goes behind the scenes of our everyday lives and combines first-rate reporting and engaging explanation into a fast-paced quest to explain the world in which we live. The room in Los Angeles where the Internet was born; the busy hub in downtown Toronto that links Canada with the world; a new undersea cable that connects West Africa and Europe; and the Great Pyramids of our time, the monumental data centres that Google and Facebook have built in the wilds of Oregon—Blum visits them all to chronicle the dramatic story of the Internet’s development and explain how it all works.

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