Take a moment to think about how amazing the Internet is:

  • It’s always on
  • It is “free”
  • It’s (almost) never noticeably congested (though individual sites or access points might be)
  • You can get messages to anywhere in the world instantaneously
  • You can communicate for free, including voice and video conferencing
  • You can stream music and movies
  • It is uncensored (in most places) (of course, this can be viewed as good or bad)

This session focuses on the question of how the Internet can be so robust. And to answer these questions, we will discuss some of the underlying technologies that contribute to the robustness of the Internet, such as:

  1. Packet switching
  2. Ethernet
  3. TCP/IP
  4. Routing protocols
Evolution of the technologies underlying the Internet
  • The Internet was not designed top-down by a single company or government organization
  • Many alternative technologies/protocols were proposed and tried out. Eventually, the best were identified and adopted (in a “democratic” way). When new people joined, they had to use whatever protocols everybody was using, until it grew into a standard
  • It is decentralized – no one owns it or controls it

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