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How the Internet Works

How the Internet Works

5.0 2
by Preston Gralla, Michael Troller (Illustrator)

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How the Internet Works, Seventh Edition is divided into eight parts, starting with a brief introduction to the Internet. This is followed by sections that cover connecting and communicating on the Internet, security and privacy, multimedia, Intranets and more. This book is up to date on the hottest technologies such as:

  • Wireless Internet


How the Internet Works, Seventh Edition is divided into eight parts, starting with a brief introduction to the Internet. This is followed by sections that cover connecting and communicating on the Internet, security and privacy, multimedia, Intranets and more. This book is up to date on the hottest technologies such as:

  • Wireless Internet technologies, including WiFi and Wireless Hot Spots.
  • Microsoft .NET and Web Services.
  • Grid computing.
  • Spyware.
  • Internet Surveillance.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
A while back, someone asked us a simple question: "How does my email get from me to you?" Well, we thought it was simple -- until we tried to answer it and realized we didn't understand email quite as thoroughly as we'd imagined. Sure, we knew about routers and LDAP and SMTP and POP -- but to put it all together clearly, concisely, comprehensibly? Not easy. Fortunately, we've since discovered a book full of great Internet explanations: How the Internet Works, Sixth Edition.

Preston Gralla demystifies everything you've ever wondered about the Internet (or took for granted). How your computer finds web sites. How routers work. How cable modems and DSL work. How wireless web connections work. How spam works. How instant messaging and Internet phone calls work. How firewalls work. HTML. Napster. Flash. Intranets. Digital certificates. Parental controls. Viruses. Chat. Database-enabled web sites. ISPs. Electronic wallets. Search engines. Internet video. JavaScript. DNS. URLs. Bluetooth. File compression. You name it.

It's all attractively illustrated, in full color, with plenty of illustrations -- all of them redone for this edition. Best of all, Gralla carefully chooses his words, wasting none. With this book, the Internet finally makes sense. (Bill Camarda)

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

Product Details

Publication date:
How It Works Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 9.98(h) x 0.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Wired World of the Internet

One of the most frequently asked questions about the Internet is: Who runs it? The truth is that no centralized management of the Internet exists. Instead, it is a collection of thousands of individual networks and organizations, each of which is run and paid for on its own. Each network cooperates with other networks to direct Internet traffic so that information can pass among them. Together, these networks and organizations make up the wired world of the Internet. For networks and computers to cooperate in this way, however, a general agreement must take place about things such as Internet procedures and standards for protocols. These procedures and standards are laid out in RFCs (requests for comment) agreed upon by Internet users and organizations.

A variety of groups guide the Internet's growth by helping to establish standards and by educating people on the proper way to use the Internet. Perhaps the most important is the Internet Society, a private, nonprofit group. The Internet Society supports the work of the Internet Activities Board (IAB), which handles much of the Internet's behind-the-scenes and architectural issues. The IAB's Internet Engineering Task Force is responsible for overseeing how the Internet's TCP/IP protocols evolve. (See Chapter 3, "How TCP/IP Works," for details on protocols.)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops standards for the evolution of the fastest-growing part of the Internet, the World Wide Web. The W3C is an industry consortium run by the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Private companies oversee the registeringof Internet domains, such as www. zdnet. com or www. mcp. com. These companies all must cooperate with one another and work in concert with a company called the InterNIC, which used to hold a monopoly on registering domains. InterNIC still maintains the central database of all domains registered, but now other companies are allowed to oversee registration of domains as well. These companies, called registrars, are overseen by a board made up of people from business, the government, and individual Internet users.

Although all these kinds of organizations are important as a kind of glue for holding together the Internet , at the heart of the Internet are individual local networks. These networks can be found in private companies, universities, government agencies, and online services. They are funded separately from one another and in a variety of manners, such as fees from users, corporate support, taxes, and grants. Many Internet service providers (ISPs), which provide Internet access for individuals, have networks as well. Individuals who want to access the Internet pay ISPs a monthly connection rate, so in that sense, everyone who uses the Internet helps pay for it.

The networks are connected in a variety of ways. For efficiency's sake, local networks join in consortiums known as regional networks. A variety of leased lines connect regional and local networks. The leased lines that connect networks can be as simple as a single telephone line or as complex as a fiber-optic cable with microwave links and satellite transmissions.

Private companies who make money by selling access to their lines build backbones, which are very high-capacity lines that carry enormous amounts of Internet traffic. Government agencies, such as NASA, and large private corporations pay for some of these backbones. The National Science Foundation also pays for some backbones. The federal government also funds a program called the Internet2, which is a very high-speed portion of the Internet now devoted to universities and researchers, but which may eventually be used by everyone else as well....

Meet the Author

Preston Gralla is the award-winning author of 20 books, including How Wireless Works, How To Expand and Upgrade PCs, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Protecting Yourself Online. He is an executive editor and columnist for CNet and ZDNet; is a technology columnist for the Dallas Morning News; and has written about technology for many magazines and newspapers, including USA Today, PC Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Magazine, PC/Computing, Computerworld, and FamilyPC among many others. Gralla has won several writing and editing awards, including one from the Computer Press Association for the best feature article in a computer magazine.

As a well-known expert on computers and the Internet, he has appeared frequently on numerous TV and radio shows and networks, including the CBS Early Show, CNN, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, MSNBC, CNBC, TechTV, and CNet Radio.

He was the founding managing editor of the well-known newspaper PC Week and a founding editor of PC/Computing. Under his editorship, PC/Computing was a finalist for General Excellence from the National Magazine Awards.

Gralla lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife Lydia, children Gabriel and Mia, and a rabbit named Polichinelle. He also writes the free Gralla's Internet Insider email newsletter. To subscribe to it for free, send an email to preston@gralla.com with the words SUBSCRIBE NETINSIDER on the subject line.

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How the Internet Works 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Normally I don't review books but because this one is so GREAT I find myself compelled to . I teach HW classes and this book has been a great reference materiel. also for people who want to get a basic understanding of 'How the internet Works' the new addtion. my classes are a little high level and not for everyone but this book is. I have told many people to read it. The Illustrations are the best I have ever seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book may not be useful for a computer 'dummie' or a super Internet 'techie' it is great for people like me. I have years of systems analysis and programming experience, yet I have always had difficulty picturing in my mind how many aspects of the internet work. This book has good overviews and good pictures to each area of the Internet.