Perhaps you’ve been wondering- what is internet? If you live in any industrially developed country, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the internet already. But despite this exposure, maybe you’re still not clear. After all, what is internet REALLY?
In the past 10 years, we’ve seen an exponential increase in the application of internet technology. From WiFi to cloud computing and streaming video, the online world is becoming full of so many wonders- it’s getting difficult to keep a grip on our technological foundation.
Almost anyone born after 1990 will find it impossible to remember a time before the widespread availability of internet. It’s important for those who CAN remember to do so.
As we layer technology upon technology, it’s vital that we remain able to define and map humanity’s journey out of the physical world and into the digital one.
So, let’s get clear about it.
What is internet?
Internet developed in a series of moves by several institutions to connect their smaller local networks into a large, integrated system. Many companies and organizations had “in-house” networks and everyone began to see the potential benefits of connecting them together. This effort largely gathered steam in the 1980′s.
By the 1990′s there was a convergence of several factors that propelled the development of the internet into the force it is today:
-Personal computers were starting to become financially available to the average family.
-Educational institutions emphasized the importance of computer literacy by installing computer labs and mandating that students take courses in computer basics.
-And of course, it became self-evident that email was a far more efficient means of communication than physical mail.
The combination of these dynamics drove the commercialism of the internet and caused a huge boom in internet business. This led to more efficient lines of data transmission.
The early days of the internet relied on telephone wires and “dial-up” access. Although people were mesmerized by internet technology, compared to today’s standards, transmission speeds were prohibitively slow. As more people got “online”, many became began to ask, “what is internet?”
This awareness drove companies to create faster methods of service such as DSL and cable internet. These dedicated paths of transmission allowed users to access larger files and webpages at a much faster rate.
From there, things began to snowball for the internet. As personal computers became more and more affordable, it wasn’t long before most households contained multiple computers. Routers became a necessity in order to divide internet access between machines. And it wasn’t long before laptops drove the desire for internet mobility– a need met by wireless routers.
Soon, internet access was available virtually everywhere. Now with cell phones doubling as WiFi hotspots, it’s possible to get online wherever you are.
But now there is a disconnect from what we’ve created. The internet developed so quickly. Cloud computing is (perhaps fittingly) “clouding” where information is stored and where it comes from. There are so few wires left to give us a visual image of how we remain connected.
If you’re wondering what is internet, the answer is becoming increasingly less clear. With the introduction of technologies like virtual map applications and social media, the internet is becoming less tangible. For many, it’s no longer just a means of communication or a tool to gather information. It’s a huge part of their personal, everyday lives.
So what is internet?
For those people, the internet is their reality!
And in the years to come, it will likely become everyone’s.