How does the internet work: a brief history of the internet and ISPs


Once upon a time, there was a world without
the Internet. It was pretty boring, people read books or
watched movies stored on videotapes, actual video tapes, and everything looked like it had an Instagram filter on. Trust me, I was there. So, one day, God created the Internet. Well, not really God but some scientist at
a lab in Switzerland called CERN who spent most of their time playing God: you know,
creating new, tiny universes. Anyway, one day in nineteen-eighty-something
they got bored of having to use faxes and phones to talk to each other and they created
THE WORLD WIDE WEB. And here is how it works. Let’s start with the stuff you are familiar
with, this video. If you are watching it on Youtube we’ll assume
that you have a phone, or a laptop. This video is a file, stored in a computer,
in a huge warehouse that is owned by Youtube, that is owned by Google that is owned by Alphabet. By watching this video, you are quite literally,
playing that file on that computer…. but hooow can you do it. So, your phone is receiving the pictures,
the data for this video from your phone carrier, with waves that travel through the air from
your nearest cell phone tower. That tower is connected to your carrier’s
headquarters. Hundreds and thousands of cellphone towers
end up connected here, which makes your phone carrier an Internet Service Provider. These guys are like the gatekeepers of the
internet, which is, in the end, a bunch of cables hooked up together. Imagine there’s this thick, fat, cable going
around the world. There are plenty, thousands of them all around
the world, and they are buried underground and under the sea. Your Internet Service Provider is connected
directly to that cable, and so is Youtube’s computer. Let’s call it a server, because, you know,
that’s how it’s called. So whenever you typed youtube.com on your
phone, that information travelled to your ISP, who knows that Youtube.com is a web page
that is stored on that computer, right over here. So the ISP tells Google that you want to see what they have stored in there, and the computer
normally replies back, saying: yeah, OK, you can take a look. So that information gets sent out from Google’s computer, via that fat cable, to your ISP,
and then through the air right up to your phone. Now let’s dig a little deeper. There are quite literally, millions and millions
and millions of phones and computers that want to play Youtube videos, so how can a
computer play that video on everyone’s device? Well, it can’t. Alphabet, who owns Google, who owns Youtube
actually has thousands of servers, hooked up together to make up for all the traffic
they get. This is called a server farm, you know, because
it’s a like a farm, made of servers. (Ba dam psssst). Like in the Matrix. Except those are people. Anyway, one of these farms is not enough. They make copies of the information on those
computers, and create other farms, that are exact replicas of the original farm, and place
them all over the world… so that information doesn’t need to travel that far, because,
you know, sometimes the speed of light is not fast enough. Having multiple farms is also useful in case
a server dies. Imagine what would happen if Youtube was down
for one day. What do you think would happen? Click on that subscribe button, and we’ll see you next week with a new video. Stay Fresh!

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