With each passing day, the internet is playing a larger role in the lives of human beings all around the globe. This influence has rubbed off on the kinds of conversations we have as well. While some wonder about the negative effects of the internet on children, others like to indulge in more semantic discussions. Perhaps, the most commonplace of these semantic discussions relates to the question of whether the internet is a network or not. If you are one of those people who’re frequently wondering about this topic, this post is ideal for you! This piece details the relationship between the term “internet” and the term “network.”
Before we can go ahead and describe the relationship between two terms, we need to define both of them. We’ll start with the internet. The internet is much more than simply going online. It consists of all web pages on the World Wide Web. These include the ones categorized as the
- Surface Web – Pages that can be accessed by anyone and are indexed on by search engines.,
- Deep Web – Pages that can only be accessed by some with the required credentials and are not indexed by search engines.
- Dark Web – Pages that are the most confidential and are often used for criminal activity.
Alongside all pages on the World Wide Web, the internet is also used to access all online apps, including online gaming apps like Zynga Poker and social media apps like Facebook. In addition to the entire World Wide Web and online apps, the internet is also the foundation for many communications platforms and software used by organizations all around the world, including governments, companies, and educational institutions.
This technology is provided as a service by ISPs in the form of plans and packages. You can check out Xfinity internet packages for reference. All residential and business users can get an internet connection to their premises for tapping into the World Wide Web whenever and however they want.
A network can be described as a collection of computing devices that exchange data and information with each other. By computing devices, we do not just mean laptops or desktops but any device that can run a program, including mobiles and smartwatches. When we define networks as we did above, we come to the conclusion that networks can be categorized into many different types including:
- Personal Area Network (PAN): As the name suggests, PANs serve one person at their home or office. A PAN is the simplest and tiniest out of all types of networks. It can be as small as a wireless modem, a computer, and a printer!
- Local Area Network (LAN): LANs connect computers in the same or adjacent buildings through cables as well as wireless technology. Businesses usually have LANs in offices for effective communication.
- Campus Area Network (CAN): As the name suggests, CANs connect computers in buildings that are in close proximity to one another, as in the case of college campuses.
- Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): MANs cover an entire city or metropolitan area.
- Wide Area Network (WAN): WANs connect computers that are miles apart, sometimes even in different cities!
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Internet – A Network In Itself?
Given the aforementioned pointers, we can easily conclude that the internet is in itself a network as it allows for the sharing of information over computing devices. Once we have settled that, another question that comes to mind is, which category of networks does the internet belong to?. As the categories listed above are based upon geographical vastness, it is important to explore the distances the internet provides coverage over.
The internet does not only connect computers in different cities; it connects computers across oceans and even space! We can say this with confidence knowing that the internet exists on the International Space Station. Coming back to Earth, you will be able to find the internet on all continents. The internet is available in more populated areas in a variety of ways, including cable and cellular connections. On the other hand, in Antarctica and the Arctic, the internet reaches researchers through satellite connections.
From the preceding paragraph, it is easy to conclude that the internet is a prime example of a WAN. After all, the letter “W” in the acronym “WAN” stands for the word “wide” and the internet is clearly the widest of all networks!
Wide Area Networks – A Clarification
Although the internet is the first WAN that comes to mind, bear in mind that it is not at all representative of other WANs. In fact, WANs can have very different characteristics. When you withdraw money from an automated teller machine (ATM), a WAN is involved as the bank controls all cash dispensers through it. Besides, all ‘intranets’ – networks for sharing of information and tools – of large corporations are also WANs.
This is it for now. We hope this post has helped you answer the question of how the term ‘internet’ relates to the term ‘network’.