The Essential Guide to Telecommunications

The Essential Guide to Telecommunications

by Annabel Z. Dodd

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“Annabel Dodd is a maestro when it comes to demystifying even the most complex telecommunications policies. She takes on the range of issues in the telecom world that shape how we learn, share information, conduct business, and enjoy entertainment. It’s an illuminating, accessible account that provides a much-needed primer for anyone


“Annabel Dodd is a maestro when it comes to demystifying even the most complex telecommunications policies. She takes on the range of issues in the telecom world that shape how we learn, share information, conduct business, and enjoy entertainment. It’s an illuminating, accessible account that provides a much-needed primer for anyone interested in communications policy.”

—Congressman Edward J. Markey, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection


“Annabel Dodd’s book is a clear guide and big picture view of technologies and industries. It is an up-to-date guide for anyone who wants to be familiar with important innovations and key technologies. This is truly an industry bible for mobile, Internet, and networking services.”

—Hiawatha Bray, technology reporter, Boston Globe 

A Completely Revised Bestseller with an Updated Industry Overview and New Coverage of Mobile Networks, LTE, Spectrum, Cloud Computing, and More!


The #1 Telecom Guide for Businesspeople and Nontechnical Professionals, Fully Updated for Cloud Services, Social Media, and Advanced Mobile Networks


Completely updated for the newest trends and technologies, The Essential Guide to Telecommunications, Fifth Edition, is the world’s top-selling nontechnical guide to today’s fast-changing telecommunications industry. More than 170,000 copies of previous editions are in print, and this indispensible resource has been translated into nine languages.


Writing in plain language, Dodd demystifies today’s most significant technologies, standards, and architectures. She introduces the industry-leading providers worldwide, explains where they fit in a fast-changing marketplace, and presents their key strategies. Coverage includes 

  • Assessing the massive business and technical implications of the cloud computing revolution
  • How traffic from ubiquitous tools like Skype, Facebook, and smartphones are transforming networks
  • Understanding recent radical changes in data centers
  • How mobile carriers are balancing performance and cost in timing 4G upgrades
  • How new concerns about regulation, security, and privacy are reshaping the industry 

This indispensable guide provides everything you need to know about telecommunications now—whether you’re a salesperson, marketer, investor, or customer.


Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
The telecom industry has been through years of turmoil, collapse, resurrection. Yet one thing hasn’t changed: the effective use of communications remains pivotal to success. You need to understand your options, the new technologies, the industry. (That’s doubly true, of course, if you’re a sales, marketing, or PR pro representing a telecom or IT company.) This book is your up-to-date, non-technical briefing: no jargon, no hype, just usable knowledge.

Annabel Dodd covers everything from traditional phone systems to the cutting edge, helping you make decisions about high-speed Internet access, wireless, Internet telephony, and much more. She demystifies everything from ringtones to call centers, Bluetooth to tomorrow’s blazing WiMax wireless nets. Best of all, she puts everything in context: what it means to you, as consumer, employee, or investor. Bill Camarda, from the August 2005 Read Only



1. Basic Concepts.
Analog and Digital. Analog Signals. Digital Signals. Bauds, Bits, Bytes and Codes-Getting Down to Basics. Overview. Baud Rate vs. Bits per Second-Electrical Signal Rates vs. Amount of Information Sent. Codes-Adding Meaning to Bits. A Byte = A Character. Bandwidth-Measuring Capacity. Narrowband vs. Wideband-Slow and Fast. Compression and Multiplexing. Compression-Manipulating Data for More Capacity. Streaming Media. Multiplexing-Let's Share. Protocols and Architectures. Architectures-A Framework for Multiple Networks to Communicate. LANs, MANs and WANs. LANs-Local Area Networks. LAN and WAN Devices. Home LANs-Sharing Printers and High-Speed Internet Access-A Lack of Technical Support. MANs-Metropolitan Area Networks. WANs-Wide Area Networks. Higher Speed Services for LAN Traffic. New Devices for Carrier and Internet Service Provider Networks.

2. Telephone Systems, Peripherals and Cabling.
Telephone Systems-PBXs, Centrex and Key Systems. What Is a PBX? PBX Trunks. Demarcation-The Location Where Telcos Wire Trunks. PBX Telephones. Centrex-Telephone Company Supplied Service. Key Systems. Wireless PBX and Key System Telephones-On-Site Mobility. Direct-Inward Dialing-Bypassing the Operator for Incoming Calls. Convergence and Telephone Systems. Add-on Peripherals for Key Systems, PBXs and Centrex Systems. Call Accounting-Tracking Calls and Usage. ACDs-Specialized Equipment to Handle Large Volumes of Calls. Network-Based ACD Functions. LAN/PBX/ACD Connectivity to Enhance Productivity. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Call Centers. Integrated Voice Response Units-Using the Telephone as a Computer Terminal.Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)-Routing Callers More Intelligently. Media: Wireless, Fiber and Unshielded Twisted Pair Copper. Wireless LANs. Electrical Properties of Copper Cabling. Fiber Optic Cabling-High Capacity and High Costs.


3. The Bell System and Regulatory Affairs.
The Bell System Prior to and after 1984. Divestiture of the Bell System from AT&T in 1984. Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) after 1996. Transporting Calls Between Carriers. Local Competition Prior to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Uneven Competition for Local Telephone Service Throughout the U.S. Competitive Access Providers (CAPs) to Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs). The Evolving View of the Feasibility of Local Competition. Factors Leading to Passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Regional Bell Companies' Desire to Expand Their Offerings. Interexchange Carriers', Utility and Cable TV Companies' Desires to Enter New Markets. Demand for High-Speed Telecommunications Services. Technological Capabilities to Provide High-Speed Services at Low Costs. The Viability of Wireless Services for Local Exchange Service. The Desire for a Uniform National Policy on Local Competition. The Telecommunications Act of 1996. Major Features of the Act. Post Telecommunications Act of 1996 Developments. FCC Rulings, Legal Challenges and Progress Toward Deregulation. Permission for RBOCs to Sell In-Region Long Distance. Unbundled Network Elements (UNEs)-Competitors Leasing Parts of RBOCs' Networks. Fines Levied on Incumbents for Failure to Provide Timely Access to Competitors. Reciprocal Payments. Local Access Fees-A Shift in Balance Between Local and Long Distance Costs. Local Number Portability. Creating an Equal Playing Field and Conserving Numbers. Four Types of Telephone Number Portability. Impact of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Appendix.

4. Network Service Providers and Local Competition.
Local Competition. Strategies for Entering the Local Calling Market-Resale, Wireless, Cable TV and Construction of Facilities. Carriers. Interexchange Carriers-IEXs. Bandwidth Trading: The Commoditization of Bandwidth. Merchants-Managing Risk for Carriers. Exchanges-A Place to Make Trades. Master Trading Agreements-Shortening the Transaction Cycle. Local Service Providers. AT&T. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Integrated Communications Providers). Resellers and Switchless Resellers. Building Local Exchange Carriers (BLECs). Agents. Summary.

5. The Public Network.
Switched Services-Local and Long Distance Calling. Attributes of Real-Time Switching Services. DTMF: Access to Voice Mail and Computers. Store-and-Forward Switching-Nonsimultaneous Sending and Receiving. Dedicated Services. Overview of Dedicated Services. Network Topologies-The View from the Top. Declining Sales of Private Lines. Virtual Private Networks-Connectivity for Remote Access, Intranets and Extranets. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) for Electronic Commerce. VPNs for Intranet Service. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for Remote Access. Security on Virtual Private Networks. “The Last Mile” or Access Networks. End and Tandem Central Offices. Digital Loop Carrier Systems-Fiber Optics and Copper Cabling in the Last Mile. Carrier Hotels-Interconnecting Carriers and Providing Secure Space for Equipment. Optical Networking. Passive Optical Networks. Optical Add and Drop Multiplexers (OADM). Optical Cross Connects (OXC)-Optical Switches. Network Intelligence and Signaling. Overview of Signaling. Background. Common Channel Signaling, Efficiency and Redundancy. Signaling System 7-The Glue for Links Between Carriers. SS7 Components. Convergence-Technical Advances Leading to Improvements in IP Networks. Improvements in Routers. Digital Signal Processors (DSPs). Voice Compression. Higher Capacity Networks-Optical Technologies. Softswitches-Programmable Switches. The Quality of Service Issue for Voice over IP. SS7 in Packet Networks. Examples of Converged Networks. Free Calls or Low Priced Calls over the Internet. H.323-A Way to Make Telephone Calls over IP. Prepaid Calls over the Internet. Document Sharing and Click to Talk. Document Sharing. Summary.


6. Specialized Network Services.
T-1-24 Voice or Data Paths over One Telephone Circuit. Channel Banks-Connecting T-1 to Analog PBXs and Central Offices. DS-0 and DS-1-64,000 or 56,000 vs. 1,544,000 bps. Media Used for T-1 Signals. European vs. American and Japanese T-1-24 vs. 30 Channels. A Sampling of T-1 Configurations Using T-1 for Combining Voice, Fax, Video and Data. Fractional T-1-When 24 Paths Are Not Required. T-3-The Capacity of 28 T-1 Lines, 672 Channels. An Explanation of Time Division Multiplexing and Its Limitations. ISDN-Integrated Services Digital Network. Basic Rate Interface ISDN-Two Channels at 64,000 Bit per Second. Primary Rate Interface ISDN-24 Channels. Digital Subscriber Line Technology. Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) and DSL. Incumbent Telephone Company DSL Offerings. DSLAMs-Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers. Obstacles to Digital Subscriber Line Availability-Cost, Ease of Implementation and Availability. DSL Lite-Lower Cost Service. DSL-A Technical Explanation. Frame Relay-A Shared Wide Area Network Service. Connections to Frame Relay-Frame Relay Access Devices and Access Line Speeds. Frame Relay for Transmitting Voice. Frame Relay Pricing-Ports, Circuits and Committed Information Rate. Potential Congestion on Frame Relay. Interfacing Between Carriers' Frame Relay Networks. Gigabit Ethernet-Ethernet over Fiber in Metropolitan Areas. Gigabit Ethernet Providers-OLECs. Gigabit Ethernet Through Partners. Gigabit Ethernet Availability. The Advantages of Using Ethernet. Speed Options-Bandwidth on Demand. Gigabit Ethernet Features at Lower Prices. A Sample Metropolitan Area Gigabit Ethernet Configuration. ATM-Asynchronous Transfer Mode. Fixed-Sized Cells-Less Processing. Switching in Hardware-Less Address Lookup. Asynchronous Switching-Improving Network Utilization. Bursting-Selling More Than the Total Capacity. Scalability-The Ability to Use ATM for High- and Low-Speed Applications and IP Traffic. Elements of an ATM Network. SONET-Synchronous Optical Network. SONET Rings-For Greater Reliability. Telephone Company SONET Offerings. SONET Connections to Wave Division Multiplexers. Meshed Optical Technology-Lower Costs, More Suitable for Data than SONET.

7. Analog, Cable TV and Digital Modems and Set-Top Boxes.
Transferring Data from Computers to Telephone Lines. DCE-Connections to Telephone Lines. Modems-Analog Telephone Lines for Transmitting Data from Digital Devices. Fax Modems. 56-Kbps Modems to Achieve Higher Speeds. PCMCIA Modems-Smaller Is Better. NT1S-CONNECTING DEVICES TO AN ISDN LINE. CSU/DSUs-Connecting Devices to a Digital Line. Cable Modems-Using Cable TV Facilities for Data Communications. Reverse Channels for Two-Way Data Communications. Cable Modems. Cable Modems for Business and for Remote Access. Set-Top Boxes. Interoperable Set-Top Boxes. Digital Cable TV. Appendix: Modem Standards.

8. The Internet.
The History of the Internet. Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs). Who Runs the Internet? Who Owns the Internet? Peering-A Way to Exchange Data Between Networks. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and Caching-Solving the Problem of Bogged-Down Web Sites. Internet Services. The World Wide Web-Linking and Graphics. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)-Formatting Web Pages. Home Pages. Hosting-Computers Connected to the Internet with Home Pages. Browsers-Moving from Web Site to Web Site. Email-Computers that Send, Store and Receive Messages. Email Attachments-To Aid Collaborative Projects. HTML Email as a Marketing Tool. Instant Messaging-Real-Time Text Chats. Internet Service Providers, Application Service Providers and Portals. Dialup and Dedicated Internet Access. Application Service Providers (ASPs). Portals-Content as Well as Internet Access. Search Engines. Internet Addresses. Registries-Management of Entire Top-Level Domains. Registrars. Numeric IP Addresses. The Structure of Internet Addresses and Adding Capacity for More Addresses. New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). Country Code Top-Level Domain Names (ccTLDs). Electronic Commerce and Advertising on the Web. Advertising on the Web-A Source of Revenue. Online Commerce-What Is Profitable and Sells? Privacy on the World Wide Web. Opt-out vs. Opt-in-Different Approaches to Protecting Privacy. Legal Issues. Post-Napster Music Industry Online Efforts. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)-Royalties for Radio over the Internet. Anti-pornography Laws and Freedom of Speech. Filtering Software-Policing Corporate Browsing and Email. Open Cable-Cable Companies as Both ISPs and Network Service Providers. ISP Service for Cable TV. Open Cable Service-Trialing Connections to Other IPS. Intranets and Extranets. Intranets-Impact of Web Technology on Internal Operations. Extranets-Using Internet Technology with Customers, Partners and Vendors. Security on the World Wide Web- Establishing Trust. Public and Private Keys and Digital Certificates. Firewalls and Tunneling. Making the Internet a Trusted Place to Do Business. Conclusion.

9. Wireless Services.
Historical Background of Mobile and Cellular Services. Spectrum Allocation. Spectrum for Higher Speed 3G Services. Cellular Telephone Service-Technologies. Advanced Mobile Phone Services (AMPS). Digital-Advanced Mobile Phone Service-D-AMPS. PCS-Personal Communications Services. GSM Service. Specialized Mobile Frequencies for Voice-Nextel. Cellular Vendors. Verizon Wireless. Cingular Wireless. AT&T Wireless. GSM Providers. Sprint PCS. The Structure of Cellular Networks. The Cellular Market. Efforts to Improve Service-Antenna Improvements. Health Concerns. Safety on the Road. Privacy and Advertising Intrusions on Cellular E911. Called Party Pays-An Impediment to Cellular Usage. Limited Mobility Wireless for Local Telephone Service. Wireless Number Portability-Keeping the Same Number When Changing Carriers. Limitations of Circuit-Switched Cellular for Data Communications. CDPD-Cellular Digital Packet Data, IP Wireless. The Transition from Second to Third Generation Cellular Networks. The Transition to W-CDMA - GPRS-Data Carried as Packets in 2.5G Networks. EDGE-Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution. Upgrades to W-CDMA from GSM-Costly. The Transition to cdma2000-1xRTT (First Generation cdma2000) and HDR (High Data Rate). A Comparison Between W-CDMA and cdma2000. Handsets for 3G and 2.5G Services. All-Packet Cellular Networks for Voice and Data. 4G-Futures. Mobile Internet Access, Messaging Services and Bluetooth. Mobile Commerce. Short Messaging Service (SMS). Bluetooth. The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). i-mode Service Worldwide. Specialized Mobile Radio-Originally Voice, Later Data. Private Networks over Mobile Radio Frequencies. Specialized Mobile Radio-Packetized Data Networks for Two-Way Email and Field Services. Paging Services. Paging vs. Wireless Telephone Service. Two-Way Paging Using Narrowband PCS. Satellites. VSAT Service-Small Satellite Dishes. Vendors of LEOs. Time Division Multiple Access, GSM and Code Division Multiple Access Air Interfaces. Code Division Multiple Access. Time Division Multiple Access and GSM.

10. Globalization
The Impetus to Deregulate. Steps in Deregulation. Challenges. Trends in Global Markets. Latin America. Brazil. Mexico. Argentina. Impact of Poverty. Asia. China. Japan. The Internet. Cellular Service. Europe. The European Union. Cellular Service. Germany. The United Kingdom. France. Africa and the Middle East-Emerging Markets. Africa. The Middle East. Conclusion.


Jack Woehr

The Essential Guide to Telecommunications, Second Edition, by Annabel Dodd, enters my workspace serendipitously. I'm currently contracted to US West (or "US QWest" as the office wag has taken to calling it), so I'm in some position to benefit from the perusal of this volume and to evaluate its content. Executive summary: It's a professional and accurate volume suitable to be presented to novice employees their first day on the job at any company whose core business involves stuffing bits up the line.

There's metal in this book. At a high level, Dodd provides overviews of the myriad of empowering technologies that are heaped together into the telecommunications grid of this continent and our planet. The discussion ranges over switched services, dedicated services, signaling, T-1 to T-3, ISDN, DSL, Frame Relay, ATM, SONET, lines, modems, set-top boxes, the Internet, virtual private networks, PCS, wireless and mobile, satellites, convergence (of telephone and PC, not harmonic), and a good deal more.

There's also wetware interest here. Politics are inseparable from technical evaluation of the network. Legislatures and regulatory bodies dictate to the carriers in the name of preserving the public interest within institutions that inherently possess tremendous powers over access. The Essential Guide contains sections on "Local and Long Distance Providers,""The Bell System Prior to and After 1984," "Evolution from CAPs to CLECs," and a whole chapter on "Local Competition and The Telecommunications Act of 1996." Dodd allows herself a few judicious observations into social implications, such as the effects that merger mania and "cream skimming" are likely to have on universal service. Al Gore even makes a couple of appearances in quotation.

The Essential Guide is pretty current. The map of the surviving RBOCs correctly shows US West's 14-state region, accompanied by the (now erroneous) legend "Purchase by Global Crossing, Ltd. pending)." Which goes to show you that the industry holds surprises even for the experts.

The glossary is adequate in relation to the book, though the bibliography is a little too sparse for a second edition. There's no paucity of telecommunications literature; having delved (for instance) into SONET in sufficient detail to note sideband signaling, the author might have deigned to cite a few tech pieces on this and other protocols, rather than merely list eight other telecom overview books.

Dodd seems to have progressed from industry to academia, rather than the other way around. Her professional bio, (former marketing manager at Bell Atlantic, current faculty member at Northeastern University) suggests that her insights may have been arrived at empirically rather than in the ivory tower. Her book accurately imparts the freighted technical context and dynamic economic and social ambiance of the telecommunications industry in these exiting times from the perspective of a well-informed and technically astute insider. It's a good read.
Electronic Review of Computer Books

Provides an understanding of telecommunications for those with no technical background. Overviews technologies, explains the structure of the telecommunications industry, and profiles industry segments and vendor types. Technologies important in competition for local calling, high-capacity communication, and Internet access are clarified. Intertwined with technical explanations are examples of how the various vendors interconnect their networks. For nontechnical people working in telecommunications, and for people responsible for the administration of telecommunications services for their organizations. The author is affiliated with Northeastern University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

Praise for The Essential Guide to Telecommunications

“Dodd’s The Essential Guide to Telecommunications provides the history and context that make a fundamental underpinning of modern business more accessible to technologists and businesspeople alike. This new edition of her primer is an essential reference in the continuously evolving communications landscape.”

—Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO, Mass Technology Leadership Council

“Annabel Dodd has created a mainstay resource in The Essential Guide to Telecommunications. All editions have been written in such a way that nonengineers and engineers alike will benefit from reading. She does the BEST job that I have seen in assimilating all of the changes that are constantly occurring in the telecommunications industry, both technical and regulatory, into one text. When I walk through telecommunications offices, I always see various editions of her book on multiple shelves. If you want one book that provides a concise and encompassing view of telecommunications, THIS is it!”

—Ronny Puckett, Southwest Region Director, National Exchange Carrier Association

“I have used previous editions of The Essential Guide to Telecommunications for some time in my introductory courses in our Information and Telecommunications Systems degree program. As this is a stand-alone IT degree program, we need a textbook with broad coverage of technical, management, and regulatory/policy topics. The Essential Guide to Telecommunications provides that coverage in an accessible and accurate manner. It is one of a very small number of books that I have been comfortable using as a required text in my courses.”

—Hans Kruse, Professor of Information and Telecommunications Systems, Ohio University

“Like many words in our ‘high-tech,’ ‘hard sell,’ ‘order now’ society today, the word ‘essential’ becomes worn and overused. However, in the case of Annabel Dodd’s The Essential Guide to Telecommunications, there is no other word that describes the impact and critical importance of this definitive work. For everyone from laymen in IT and new technologists to experienced network and telecom engineers, this book is a must-have, and therefore essential.”

—Bob Warren, IT Infrastructure Analyst, Parsons

The Essential Guide to Telecommunications is probably one of the most useful and well-written books on our telecom bookshelf. Annabel Z. Dodd does a great job of capturing a snapshot of the current telecom industry. Even those with little or no technical training should be able to understand the text. This is the perfect book for salespeople who want to learn more about the products and services they are selling, or for those who just want to keep up to date on the latest in telecom technology.”

—William Van Hefner, President, Vantek Communications, Inc.

The Essential Guide to Telecommunications is a fine guide to the field, readable by anyone, useful to everyone. As a first guide to the field, as a reference, and as a commentary on the history and strategy of telecommunications, it is simply superb.”

—Andrew Allentuck, Columnist, Financial Post, Toronto

“Ms. Dodd continues to provide an excellent and thorough text on the telecommunications industry. As in her previous editions, she presents a good balance of technical and business-related information that is readily understandable by anyone with an interest in this key component of today’s business environment. In her new edition, she has captured many of the recent changes in this dynamic field, which will affect every company in the years ahead. I strongly recommend her book to anyone who wants a better understanding of telecommunications.”

—Joe McGrath, SVP, Information Technologies, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

“Dodd’s work has been very helpful in the past in taking complex technical topics and translating them into actionable business items for my MBA students. Her book doesn’t gloss over the details, but rather explains why they are important in the twenty-first century information age.”

—Andrew Urbaczewski, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Management Studies, Associate Professor of MIS, College of Business, University of Michigan—Dearborn

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8: The Internet

The Internet is a medium that has fundamentally changed the pace of business processes and the way organizations exchange information with each other. Businesses sell, place orders, receive orders, collaborate, train employees, provide customer service and bid for products over the Internet. Consumers commonly use the Internet to exchange electronic mail with family members, pay bills, conduct online stock transactions, calculate income tax returns, make travel reservations, shop and conduct research. They also spend time on the Internet playing games, listening to music and viewing entertainment.

The Internet is a connection of multiple networks. The networks communicate with each other over a suite of standardized protocols, Transmit Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), in which data is broken up into "envelopes" called packets. For the most part, network operators use high-speed routers to transmit these packets. Internet traffic is sent at gigabit speeds. The high-speed lines are the backbone of the Internet. They carry the greatest amount of Internet traffic. The Internet backbone transmits requests for information, entertainment, audio and video broadcasts, email and business-to-business transactions. The different carriers that operate Internet backbone exchange traffic with each other at metropolitan area exchanges (MAEs) and network access points (NAPs).

The Web is a vehicle for multimedia presentation of information in the form of music, audio, video and text. The World Wide Web is not separate from the Internet. It is a way to navigate from resource to resource on the Internet by clicking on high-lighted text or graphics from within browsers. As long as they use World Wide Web browsers, all PCs are compatible with the Web. Users point and click their way from computer to computer on the Internet. Before the World Wide Web was developed, documents on the Internet were available only as text. There were no pictures, no "buttons" to click on to issue commands and no advertising banners. There was also no color; everything was black and white.

Individuals and organizations connect their locations to the Internet via many types of telecommunications services including T-1, T-3, analog lines, digital subscriber line (DSL) services, integrated services digital network (ISDN) and cable TV facilities. Internet service providers (ISPs) aggregate traffic from many users and send it over high-speed lines to the Internet backbone. ISPs maintain routers and servers at their sites. The servers, powerful PCs that can be accessed by many users, perform various functions. They contain customer email, businesses' e-commerce applications and home pages for consumers as well as specialized content such as sports information and online games. Servers are located at hosting sites as well as ISP data centers. Hosting sites, where Web content such as corporate, ecommerce and entertainment sites are kept, have servers with information from, for example, search companies such as AltaVista and online retailers.

The popularity of the Web has made the creation and implementation of technologies that enable sites to handle spikes in traffic and large amounts of traffic imperative. One of these techniques is caching, which spreads content among servers at the "edge" of the Internet, closer to end users. In addition to lowering traffic at each server, caching lowers the cost of bandwidth. It lowers the amount of distance packets travel to access Web pages.

Innovations also have occurred in search engine techniques and formatting email for marketing. Search engines are an important tool for organizing sources of online information. They have become faster and the results are more accurate. Corporations use them in their own Web pages to help employees, potential customers and trading partners find information on the corporate Web. Email is now used as a way to disseminate spam, marketing announcements and newsletters that look similar to Web pages. These email messages use the same method, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), as used to apply formatting and insert graphics on Web sites.

Despite the technological improvements in the Internet, Internet companies are struggling to find profits. Scores of businesses that operated Web sites have gone out of business. Moreover, it has been generally agreed that advertising as a primary vehicle for underwriting the Internet is not viable. To date, gambling (which is illegal in most states), auctions, pornography, music and games are popular and often profitable on the Internet. While commercial organizations depend on the Internet for contact with customers and vendors, e-commerce where businesses exchange purchase orders and pay bills directly to one another's order entry and accounting systems are in their infancy.

Because the World Wide Web is new, legal, privacy and security questions are being raised that previously have not been addressed in this context. For example, freedom of speech for adults sometimes conflicts with protecting children from unsuitable online material. Online sharing of music and copyrighted articles may interfere with authors' and musicians' rights to earn royalties. In other instances, Microsoft's control of PC operating systems and browsers and AOL Time Warner's market share in instant messaging (IM) may give both companies unfair advantages on the Internet. All of these issues raise interesting questions about privacy, free enterprise and free speech.

World Wide Web technology is used by commercial organizations to create extranets and intranets. Extranets use Web technology to create platforms from which trading partners and customers can communicate. Intranets use the technology for internal portals and browser access to corporate data. The adoption of Internet technologies and protocols for internal use by commercial organizations represents a major impact of the Internet. It has led to faster, more convenient access by employees to corporate information.

The History of the Internet

The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the Internet in 1969, in a computer room at the University of California, Los Angeles. It wanted to enable scientists at multiple universities to share research information. Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork (ARPANET), the predecessor to the Internet, was created 12 years after Sputnik, during the Cold War. DARPA's original goal was to develop a network secure enough to withstand a nuclear attack.

The first communications switch that routed messages on the ARPANET was developed at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (BBN was bought by GTE. Bell Atlantic acquired GTE, changed its name to Verizon and spun off BBN as Genuity.) ARPANET's network used packet switching developed by Rand Corporation in 1962. Data was broken up into "envelopes" of information that contain addressing, error checking and user data. One advantage of packet switching is that packets from multiple computers can share the same circuit. A separate connection is not needed for each transmission. Moreover, in the case of an attack, if one computer goes down, data can be rerouted to other computers in the packet network. TCP/IP, the protocol still used on the Internet, was developed in 1974 by Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn. It supports a suite of services such as email, file transfer and logging onto remote computers.

In 1984, as more sites were added to ARPANET, the term Internet started to be used. The ARPANET was shut down in 1984, but the Internet was left intact. In 1987, oversight of the Internet was transferred from the Department of Defense to the National Science Foundation.

While still used largely by universities and technical organizations, applications on the Internet expanded from its original defense work. In particular, newsgroups used by computer hobbyists, college faculty and students, were formed around special interests such as cooking, specialized technology and lifestyles. The lifestyles newsgroups included sexual orientation (gay and lesbian), religion and gender issues. Computer-literate people were also using the Internet to log onto computers at distant universities for research and to send electronic mail.

The Internet was completely text prior to 1990. There were no graphics, pictures or color. All tasks were done without the point-and-click assistance of browsers, such as Netscape and Internet Explorer. Rather, people had to learn, for example, UNIX commands. UNIX is a computer operating system developed in 1972 by Bell Labs. UNIX commands include: m for Get Mail, j for Go to the Next Mail Message, d for Delete Mail and u for Undelete Mail. The Internet was not for the timid or for computer neophytes.

The advent of the World Wide Web in 1989 and browsers in 1993 completely changed the Internet. The World Wide Web is a graphics-based vehicle to link users to sources of information. It is based on a method whereby users "click" on graphics or text to be transferred to a site where information can be accessed. In 1993, the Mosaic browser was developed at the University of Illinois as a point-and-click way to access the World Wide Web. This opened up the Internet to users without computer skills. It is no longer necessary to learn arcane commands to open mail, to navigate from site to site for research or to join chat or newsgroups.

In 1995, the National Science Foundation turned the management of the Internet backbone over to commercial organizations. Commercial networks such as Sprint, UU-NET (now part of WorldCom) and Cable & Wireless carry a large portion of the back-bone Internet traffic. Backbones are analogous to highways that carry high-speed traffic.

Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs)

Bulletin boards were used independently from the Internet. They allowed people with modems connected to their computers to read information and post information on a PC.

Users throughout the 1980s used modems, personal computers, communications software and telephone lines to dial into information on other computers. Many bulletin boards were used for "chats" and to exchange ideas around specific hobbies. For example, callers would dial in and type ideas or experiences they had with new software or computer equipment. The World Wide Web has largely replaced bulletin boards.

Who Runs the Internet?

The Internet is run informally by a number of organizations. Following is an overview of the key ones...

Meet the Author

Annabel Z. Dodd is an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University’s School of Professional Studies where she teaches courses on wireless mobile services and data communications in the master’s degree program in informatics. She was previously an adjunct professor in the master of science program in technology management at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she taught in a joint program with The Institute of Industrial Policy Studies, Seoul, South Korea. In addition, the Fundación de la Innovación Bankinter selected her to participate in their Future Trends Forum in Madrid in 2004, 2005, and 2007. Formerly in marketing at New England Telephone (now Verizon) and then communications and telecommunications manager at Dennison Manufacturing Company (now Avery Dennison), she consults with major corporations and institutions and gives seminars to organizations worldwide. The Massachusetts Network Communications Council honored her as the Professor of the Year 2000. Since its first edition in 1997, The Essential Guide to Telecommunications has been translated into nine languages worldwide. More information can be found at her website,

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