The Internet: How it works

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When learning about how the internet works it is important to know what the difference between hardware and software is. Hardware is the physical parts of the computer or device like the router, hard drive, phone, and keyboard. Software is the programs that run on the computer like Microsoft, Netgear, and other programs used to give the computer commands. Another important part of the how internet works is protocols. An example of an important protocol is the hypertext transfer protocol, or the HTTP in the address bar, which is used to see websites. Each device that you connect to the internet also has its own individual address called an IP address. The IP address helps one computer locate a different computer through the internet.


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When sending messages over the internet the message you send is broken down in to packets which are segments of data that are sent from one computer to another one over the internet. These packets that are being sent are then given their own port number. The router then finds out the location that the packets are to be sent to by examining the packets. The internet is made up of numerous networks all connected together, and these networks are known as Network Service Providers.


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In 2008 the Pakistani government decided to filter the internet in Pakistan to prevent its citizens from viewing content that it believed was offensive. The government was able to successfully block its citizens from viewing YouTube by rerouting their search for YouTube through Pakistan Telecom which then blocked the search result for YouTube. Each computer is assigned its own unique IP address by the individual’s internet provider which functions as the address for final locations on the internet. The Domain Name System converts the users search names, like to an IP address which it can find. These Domain Name Systems are then further divided into different categories like .edu, .com, or .org depending on where the information posted is coming from. The Pakistani government was able to abuse this system and censor its people by tricking their computers to reroute to a different domain than they were looking for.

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