[INTERNET] September 15, 2012


The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (often called TCP/IP, although not all applications use TCP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linkedhypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email. Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Newspaper, book and other print publishing are adapting to Web site technology, or are reshaped into blogging and web feeds. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. Business-tobusiness and financial services on the Internet affect supply chainsacross entire industries. The origins of the Internet reach back to research of the 1960s, commissioned by the United States government in collaboration with private commercial interests to build robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by theNational Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2011, more than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of Earth's population — use the services of the Internet. The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own standards. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System, are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.


[INTERNET] September 15, 2012


An intranet is a computer network that uses Internet Protocol technology to share information, operational systems, or computing services within an organization. The term is used in contrast to internet, a network between organizations, and instead refers to a network within an organization. Sometimes, the term refers only to the organization's internal website, but may be a more extensive part of the organization's information technology infrastructure, and may be composed of multiple local area networks. The objective is to organise each individual's desktop with minimal cost, time and effort to be more productive, cost efficient, timely, and competitive. An intranet may host multiple private websites and constitute an important component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration. Any of the well known Internet protocols may be found in an intranet, such as HTTP (web services), SMTP (e-mail), and FTP (file transfer protocol). Internet technologies are often deployed to provide modern interfaces to legacy information systems hosting corporate data. An intranet can be understood as a private analog of the Internet, or as a private extension of the Internet confined to an organization. The first intranet websites and home pages began to appear in organizations in 1996-1997. Although not officially noted, the term intranet first became common-place among early adopters, such as universities and technology corporations, in 1992. Intranets are sometimes contrasted to extranets. While intranets are generally restricted to employees of the organization, extranets may also be accessed by customers, suppliers, or other approved parties. Extranets extend a private network onto the Internet with special provisions for authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA protocol). In many organizations, intranets are protected from unauthorized external access by means of a network gateway and firewall. For smaller companies, intranets may be created simply by using private IP address ranges, such as In these cases, the intranet can only be directly accessed from a computer in the local network; however, companies may provide access to off-site employees by using a virtual private network, or by other access methods, requiring user authentication and encryption.


An extranet is a computer network that allows controlled access from the outside, for specific business or educational purposes. In a business-to-business context, an extranet can be viewed as an extension of an organization's intranet that is extended to users outside the organization, usually partners, vendors, and suppliers, in isolation from all other Internet users. In contrast, business-to-consumer (B2C) models involve known servers of one or more companies, communicating with previously unknown consumer users. An extranet is similar to a DMZ in that it provides access to needed services for channel partners, without granting access to an organization's entire network.


[INTERNET] September 15, 2012 An extranet can be understood as an intranet mapped onto the public Internet or some other transmission system not accessible to the general public, but managed by more than one company's administrator(s). For example, military networks of different security levels may map onto a common military radio transmission system that never connects to the Internet. Any private network mapped onto a public one is a virtual private network (VPN), often using special security protocols. For decades, institutions have been interconnecting to each other to create private networks for sharing information. One of the differences that characterizes an extranet, however, is that its interconnections are over a shared network rather than through dedicated physical lines. With respect to Internet Protocol networks, RFC 4364 states "If all the sites in a VPN are owned by the same enterprise, the VPN is a corporate intranet. If the various sites in a VPN are owned by different enterprises, the VPN is an extranet. A site can be in more than one VPN; e.g., in an intranet and several extranets. We regard both intranets and extranets as VPNs. In general, when we use the term VPN we will not be distinguishing between intranets and extranets. Even if this argument is valid, the term "extranet" is still applied and can be used to eliminate the use of the above description." In the quote above from RFC 4364, the term "site" refers to a distinct networked environment. Two sites connected to each other across the public Internet backbone comprise a VPN. The term "site" does not mean "website." Thus, a small company in a single building can have an "intranet," but to have a VPN, they would need to provide tunneled access to that network for geographically distributed employees. Similarly, for smaller, geographically united organizations, "extranet" is a useful term to describe selective access to intranet systems granted to suppliers, customers, or other companies. Such access does not involve tunneling, but rather simply an authentication mechanism to a web server. In this sense, an "extranet" designates the "private part" of a website, where "registered users" can navigate, enabled by authentication mechanisms on a "login page". An extranet requires network security. These can include firewalls, server management, the issuance and use of digital certificates or similar means of user authentication,encryption of messages, and the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that tunnel through the public network. Many technical specifications describe methods of implementing extranets, but often never explicitly define an extranet. RFC 3457 presents requirements for remote access to extranets. RFC 2709 discusses extranet implementation using IPsec and advanced network address translation (NAT).


The communications infrastructure of the Internet consists of its hardware components and a system of software layers that control various aspects of the architecture. While the hardware can often be used to support other software systems, it is the design and the rigorous standardization process of the software architecture that characterizes the Internet and provides the foundation for its scalability and success. The responsibility for the architectural design of the Internet software systems has been delegated to the Internet Engineering Task Force(IETF). The IETF conducts standard-setting work groups, open to any individual,


[INTERNET] September 15, 2012 about the various aspects of Internet architecture. Resulting discussions and final standards are published in a series of publications, each called aRequest for Comments (RFC), freely available on the IETF web site. The principal methods of networking that enable the Internet are contained in specially designated RFCs that constitute the Internet Standards. Other less rigorous documents are simply informative, experimental, or historical, or document the best current practices (BCP) when implementing Internet technologies. The Internet standards describe a framework known as the Internet protocol suite. This is a model architecture that divides methods into a layered system of protocols (RFC 1122, RFC 1123). The layers correspond to the environment or scope in which their services operate. At the top is the application layer, the space for the application-specific networking methods used in software applications, e.g., a web browser program. Below this top layer, thetransport layer connects applications on different hosts via the network (e.g., client–server model) with appropriate data exchange methods. Underlying these layers are the core networking technologies, consisting of two layers. Theinternet layer enables computers to identify and locate each other via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and allows them to connect to one another via intermediate (transit) networks. Last, at the bottom of the architecture, is a software layer, thelink layer, that provides connectivity between hosts on the same local network link, such as a local area network (LAN) or a dial-up connection. The model, also known as TCP/IP, is designed to be independent of the underlying hardware, which the model therefore does not concern itself with in any detail. Other models have been developed, such as the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, but they are not compatible in the details of description or implementation; many similarities exist and the TCP/IP protocols are usually included in the discussion of OSI networking. The most prominent component of the Internet model is the Internet Protocol (IP), which provides addressing systems (IP addresses) for computers on the Internet. IP enables internetworking and in essence establishes the Internet itself. IP Version 4 (IPv4) is the initial version used on the first generation of today's Internet and is still in dominant use. It was designed to address up to ~4.3 billion (109) Internet hosts. However, the explosive growth of the Internet has led to IPv4 address exhaustion, which entered its final stage in 2011, when the global address allocation pool was exhausted. A new protocol version, IPv6, was developed in the mid-1990s, which provides vastly larger addressing capabilities and more efficient routing of Internet traffic. IPv6is currently in growing deployment around the world, since Internet address registries (RIRs) began to urge all resource managers to plan rapid adoption and conversion. IPv6 is not interoperable with IPv4. In essence, it establishes a parallel version of the Internet not directly accessible with IPv4 software. This means software upgrades or translator facilities are necessary for networking devices that need to communicate on both networks. Most modern computer operating systems already support both versions of the Internet Protocol. Network infrastructures, however, are still lagging in this development. Aside from the complex array of physical connections that make up its infrastructure, the Internet is facilitated by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts (e.g., peering agreements), and by technical specifications or protocols that describe how to exchange data over the network. Indeed, the Internet is defined by its interconnections and routing policies.

Internet packet routing is accomplished among various tiers of Internet Service Providers. Internet Service Providers connect customers (thought of at the "bottom" of the routing hierarchy) to customers of other ISPs. At the "top" of the routing hierarchy are ten or so Tier 1 networks, large telecommunication companies which exchange traffic directly "across" to all other Tier 1 networks via unpaid peering agreements.Tier 2 networks buy Internet transit from other ISP to reach at least some parties


[INTERNET] September 15, 2012 on the global Internet, though they may also engage in unpaid peering (especially for local partners of a similar size). ISPs can use a single "upstream" provider for connectivity, or use multihoming to provide protection from problems with individual links. Internet exchange points create physical connections between multiple ISPs, often hosted in buildings owned by independent third parties. Computers and routers use routing tables to direct IP packets among locally connected machines. Tables can be constructed manually or automatically viaDHCP for an individual computer or a routing protocol for routers themselves. In single-homed situations, a default route usually points "up" toward an ISP providing transit. Higher-level ISPs use the Border Gateway Protocol to sort out paths to any given range of IP addresses across the complex connections of the global Internet. Academic institutions, large companies, governments, and other organizations can perform the same role as ISPs, engaging in peering and purchasing transit on behalf of their internal networks of individual computers. Research networks tend to interconnect into large subnetworks such as GEANT, GLORIAD, Internet2, and the UK's national research and education network, JANET. These in turn are built around smaller networks (see the list of academic computer network organizations). Not all computer networks are connected to the Internet. For example, some classified United States websites are only accessible from separate secure networks.

General structure
The Internet structure and its usage characteristics have been studied extensively. It has been determined that both the Internet IP routing structure and hypertext links of the World Wide Web are examples of scale-free networks. Many computer scientists describe the Internet as a "prime example of a large-scale, highly engineered, yet highly complex system". The Internet is heterogeneous; for instance, data transfer rates and physical characteristics of connections vary widely. The Internet exhibits "emergent phenomena" that depend on its large-scale organization. For example, data transfer rates exhibit temporal self-similarity. The principles of the routing and addressing methods for traffic in the Internet reach back to their origins in the 1960s when the eventual scale and popularity of the network could not be anticipated. Thus, the possibility of developing alternative structures is investigated. The Internet structure was found to be highly robust to random failures and very vulnerable to high degree attacks.

The Internet allows greater flexibility in working hours and location, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections. The Internet can be accessed almost anywhere by numerous means, including through mobile Internet devices. Mobile phones, datacards, handheld game consoles and cellular routers allow users to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Within the limitations imposed by small screens and other limited facilities of such pocket-sized devices, the services of the Internet, including email and the web, may be available. Service providers may restrict the services offered and mobile data charges may be significantly higher than other access methods. Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites. Examples range from CBeebies, through school and high-school revision guides,virtual universities, to access to topend scholarly literature through the likes of Google Scholar. For distance education, help with homework and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time, or just looking up


[INTERNET] September 15, 2012 more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere. The Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education. The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made collaborative work dramatically easier, with the help of collaborative software. Not only can a group cheaply communicate and share ideas but the wide reach of the Internet allows such groups more easily to form. An example of this is the free software movement, which has produced, among other things, Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet chat, whether in the form of an IRC chat room or channel, via an instant messaging system, or a social networking website, allows colleagues to stay in touch in a very convenient way when working at their computers during the day. Messages can be exchanged even more quickly and conveniently than via email. These systems may allow files to be exchanged, drawings and images to be shared, or voice and video contact between team members. Content management systems allow collaborating teams to work on shared sets of documents simultaneously without accidentally destroying each other's work. Business and project teams can share calendars as well as documents and other information. Such collaboration occurs in a wide variety of areas including scientific research, software development, conference planning, political activism and creative writing. Social and political collaboration is also becoming more widespread as both Internet access andcomputer literacy spread. The Internet allows computer users to remotely access other computers and information stores easily, wherever they may be. They may do this with or without computer security, i.e. authentication and encryption technologies, depending on the requirements. This is encouraging new ways of working from home, collaboration and information sharing in many industries. An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth. These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information emailed to them from offices all over the world. Some of these things were possible before the widespread use of the Internet, but the cost of private leased lines would have made many of them infeasible in practice. An office worker away from their desk, perhaps on the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can access their emails, access their data using cloud computing, or open a remote desktop session into their office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on the Internet. This can give the worker complete access to all of their normal files and data, including email and other applications, while away from the office. This concept has been referred to amongsystem administrators as the Virtual Private Nightmare, because it extends the secure perimeter of a corporate network into remote locations and its employees' homes.

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