What is the Internet?

What We'll Learn

  1. Understand how the Internet Works
  2. Learn how your computer connects to the Internet

Using Other People's Computers

The Internet is very powerful because it basically let's you use services and information available on other people's computers. So, instead of being limited by what your computer can do, you can use the Internet to connect to millions of computers around the world. 

Here are a couple of Internet facts:
  • To use the Internet, your computer needs to be connected.  This is done through an ISP - Internet Service Provider.
  • Other names for the Internet include: The World Wide Web, The Web, and The Cloud.
  • Every computer on the Internet has an IP Address, similar to a telephone number.  This lets computers identify where the specific computers are that they wish to communicate with. We use web addresses, or URLs to contact other computers. These are simply converted to the correct IP Address on the Internet.

Getting Connected

In order to connect to the Internet, you require several things:
  1. You need a Modem to let you communicate over existing infrastructure.  A modem lets your computer communicate over one of the following:
    • Telephone Lines
    • Cable
    • Cellular Transmission (Mobile Network)
    • Satellite Link 
  2. Ideally you should also have a Router. This device allows you to connect several computers to your modem, but also provides a Firewall, a feature that hides your computers from other people on the Internet.  Often the Modem and Router are combined in same box.
  3. You need to pay an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to give you physical access or connection to the Internet.  Common ISPs in our area are:
    • Bell (Sympatico) - telephone and cellular network
    • Rogers - cable and cellular network
    • Bell Resellers - e.g. TechSavvy, Internet Gateway Services, etc.  These providers buy services from Bell in Bulk and then resell them at a discount to their customers.
Once you have the parts in place, you're ready to explore the Internet!

Exercise - Checking Your Connection

Identify how your computer is connected to the Internet:

  1. Click Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center
  2. Click on the Local Area Connection or Wireless Connection to see how your computer is connected
  3. Physically locate your router and modem.  You can tell whether your modem includes a router by checking the back. It should have at least two or more network jacks.

Exercise - What is my Internet Connection Speed?

The following steps will allow you to test your Internet Speed:

  1. Click on the graphic below. It will open a website provided by Rogers.
  2. Click the Begin Test button
  3. The website will calculate your average upload and download speed

Rogers Speed Test