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Introduction A commonly asked question is What is the Internet The reason such a question gets asked so often is because theres no agreed upon answer that neatly sums up the Internet The Internet can be thought about in relation to its common protocols as a physical collection of routers and circuits as a set of shared resources or even as an attitude about interconnecting and intercommunication Some common definitions given in the past include a network of networks based on the TCPIP protocols a community of people who use and develop those networks a collection of resources that can be reached from those networks Todays Internet is a global resource connecting millions of users that began as an experiment over 20 years ago by the US Department of Defense While the networks that make up the Internet are based on a standard set of protocols a mutually agreed upon method of communication between parties the Internet also has gateways to networks and services that are based on other protocols To help answer the question more completely the rest of this paper contains an updated second chapter from The Whole Internet Users Guide and Catalog by Ed Krol 1992 that gives a more thorough explanation The excerpt is published through the gracious permission of the publisher OReilly Associates Inc The Internet excerpt from The Whole Internet Users Guide and Catalog The Internet was born about 20 years ago trying to connect together a US Defense Department network called the ARPAnet and various other radio and satellite networks The ARPAnet was an experimental network designed to support military research--in particular research about how to build networks that could withstand partial outages like bomb attacks and still function Think about this when I describe how the network works it may give you some insight into the design of the Internet In
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