How Internet Works

While many people use the terms “internet” and “web” interchangeably, the two are different. The internet is a global network of computers and other electronic devices that makes information sharing possible. The web, on the other hand, is a subset of the internet that houses documents and other web resources that can be accessed through a web browser. An easier way to think about it is that the pages you see on your computer or device, when you’re online, are part of the web, but your device is accessing those pages through a connection to the internet.

A connection to the internet can be made through either wires or radio waves. A wired internet connection uses cable TV lines (using coaxial cable), phone lines (the digital subscriber line, also known as DSL), or fiber-optic cables to send data. A wireless internet connection (also known as Wi-Fi) uses radio waves, a form of electromagnetic radiation, to send data.

While exposure to levels of electromagnetic radiation with a short wavelength, such as ultraviolet or X-rays, have been known to cause health problems, cellular wireless radio waves, which produce a long wavelength, have not been proven to cause a risk to health and generally produce about the same frequency as a microwave.

To get connected to the internet at home, you need to get service from an internet service provider, such as AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, or Bug Tussel, which targets rural Midwest areas.

Once you have an internet service provider, you can plug in equipment (usually a modem and router) that will allow your computer, smartphone, and other devices to connect to the internet and communicate with each other. Most homes have an ethernet cable that will connect your equipment to the wired or wireless internet connection you are signed up for.

The network of devices in your home that are connected to the internet provided by your internet service provider is called your home network. Most home networks require a network name and password to be entered before allowing you to connect a device.

With a home network, you can browse the internet on your computer, play music on your smart speaker, check your email on your smartphone, play games on your tablet, stream movies on your smart TV, and more!