A guide to the internet

Published on Jan 01, 2019

During the internet and .com BOOM of the 90’s there was also another BOOM surrounding the internet, that boom was in books explaining what the internet was and how the internet works, “internet for dummies” anyone? People today take the internet for granted and I’m one of them. The internet is accessible nearly everywhere and its easy access these days; Remember dial up? Remember a time before WIFI? Remember waiting for pages to load, by load I literally mean watching the page load section by section. Remember when someone in your house was using the land-line phone (another lost technology) you had to ask them to get off the phone so you could use the internet, oh the problems we had…..

Waiting for the internet was the 90’s and now it is all about SPEED and people these days don’t like to wait! In this interesting article it states to load an average size website off your smartphone it takes around 20 seconds. Which is a big problem, as most people typically wait up to 3-5 seconds for the visual content to load before they give up and leave. The bounce rate probability for content taking 3 seconds to load is 32%. The probability bounce rate for content taking 10 seconds to loads has grown to an astonishing 123%. Good job we didn’t have so high expectation and impatiens in the 90’s.

All this speed and boom has led to huge change in our life. It’s not like we woke up one day and there it was, it was more like little change loaded on top of little change. In what follows I’m going to attempt to try to explain the internet in a basic form, I think we owe it to the creators and ourselves to understand the magnificent invention and technology which the internet is.

Explaining the internet is a difficult challenge for many reasons, one, there’s a lot of technical jargon surrounding it and other, since the internet was created over 50 years ago as a United States Government project, is the internet has changed a lot. You have more technology in your phone or in your smart watch than the first satellite Sputnik and you have more technology in your phone than the first rocket mission had that propelled the first astronauts to the moon.

I feel the internet is like a human brain, just image if you could plug yourself into a screen then search all your memories (uploaded information) and then search through all your uploaded information (memories) using a search engine. You could search for “5th birthday” then you would exchange packets (information) with your own brain, your brain being the host and you searching on the screen being the source. Your location is your IP address, maybe you allow other people to access your brain, but you put restriction on their access depending on their physical internet connection location, similar to what Google do for China. The internet is consisting of networks upon networks, some private some public, which are linked to electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies.

What follows is a higher-level introduction to the internet. There are many layers to the internet, just like an onion, we are going to look at only 3 of them here, surface web, deep web and dark web plus some other necessary elements such as browsers and TCIP.

First, to get to the internet we use a web browser. What is a web browser and what is it for? A web browser is a software application that allows you to access, retrieve and view information on the internet. Popular web browsers are Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari. Web browsers work by typing in a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) for example https://www.tonkabi.com into the web browser. Then the web browser displays the page by passing the code to the browser’s layout engine so you can view the page on your screen.

To find stuff on the internet we mostly us a search engine but why do we need them? Well we don’t actually need a search engine to surf the web but there really convenient, can you imagine memorising all the website addresses you use? Or, trying to find a new website? A search engine allows you to search for information on the internet. Search engines are programs that search for relevant websites on the internet based on your keywords. Search engines search their databases of information in order to locate the information you are looking for. Search engine produce endless amounts of information although the majority of us only click the first few links provided by the search engines, I don’t know anyone who goes past page 2 on Google.

So, browsers allow you to access information on the internet and search engines to point you in the right direction. Now let’s discuss the layers of the web.

Surface web is anything that has been catalogued/indexed by search engines (Bing, DuckDuckGo, Google) ETC. If you can find information via search engines then it's the surface web. Surprisingly, Google’s search engines, even though many search engines such as, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Google only have access to 4 – 5% of the whole internet!

This leads us to another part of the web, Deep web, this is anything that is not catalogued/indexed via a search engine. You can access the deep web from any browser if you know what you are looking for but you need the exact URL. You do not need to use TOR to access deep web content. What does TOR do? TOR allows you to access the internet, that requires different DNS settings, protocols, etc.

Dark web is the part of the deep web that has been blocked off and/or hidden from normal access via standard web browsers. This is where you would need TOR or similar to access the dark web. When your surfing the internet on TOR all websites will have .onion instead of .com or similar. Here’s an interesting example of a website on the darkweb https://www.facebookcorewwwi.onion/

The un-indexed side of the Deep Web is estimated to be 500 times larger than what is captured by Google’s etc! Even though specialized deep web search engines can uncover many un-indexed sites, nothing is currently able to search it completely mainly due to navigational paths.

The internet, not to be confused with the world wide web, is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices to the world wide web. When you “plug your computer in” your computer interacts with the internet network which then allows you to access the world wide web through a web browser.

What is TCP/IP? I will try to break this down. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the main Internet Protocol suites. Internet protocol suite has 2 parts, first is the mental model which captures the ideas in a domain. The second is the conceptual model which represents concepts and the relationships between them. The Internet Protocol (IP) is the other communications protocol and is the principle protocol in the Internet protocol suite. Its routing function enables when the interconnecting different types of networks are enabled to build a large, global network which connect to the host then the host and source exchange packets, this essentially establishes the Internet.

Posted in blog on Jan 01, 2019