You may be wondering, is the internet and world wide web (www) the same thing? Although you may hear the terms “internet” and “world wide web”, or “web” used interchangeably, technically, they are not the same.
The internet is a global network of millions of computers and electronic devices connected through telephone lines, satellites, TV cables, and fiber optic cables. Wireless connections like WIFI & 3G/4G also depend on these physical cables for communication.
The World Wide Web, or Web for short, is really just a massive collection of information in the form of web pages and websites, which are accessible through the internet.
So, the internet serves as the medium which allows computers and electronic devices connected to it to communicate. The World Wide Web provides a way to share information between these interconnected computers and devices.
In the Beginning…
In 1969, the internet consisted of only one 4-node (a node is just a computer or other device) network. With breakthroughs during the 70’s and 80’s, the network grew to points across the globe, but scientists were still having difficulty sharing information. The World Wide Web didn’t exist.
Fun Fact: It is estimated that more than 50 Billion things (Mobile devices, cars, thermometers, home appliances, parking meters, smart homes, cardiac monitors, and even animals like cattle) will be connected to the internet by 2020! Want a little perspective on 50,000,000,000? How long do you think it would take you to count to 50 Billion? Take a guess and compare your answer below.
Everything changed in 1989, when software engineer Tim Berners-Lee proposed the concept of the World Wide Web, and then successfully launched the first web page in 1990. On August 6, 1991, the World Wide Web became publicly available, ushering in a new technology that would change how we interact with the world forever.
The World Wide Web has grown from that one web page in 1990 to more than 4.58 Billion pages today!
From the Web to You
Accessing the web is made possible by applications call web browsers, ie…Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox. Your web browser allows you to access and view websites on the web through the internet.
When you visit a website, your computer sends a request over the internet to a web server, which is basically another computer where the website is stored. After receiving the request, the web server retrieves the web page and sends it back to your computer. All of this is accomplished through your web browser, and in just a few seconds.
So, do you surf or browse? Is there really a difference?
Depending on who you ask, surfing entails searching through the web without specific purpose, randomly moving through different subjects and different websites. It would be like looking at cars, clothes, electronics, and books with no specific interest in any particular area.
Browsing on the other hand would be done with purpose as to specific information and websites, like looking at a specific type of car on car related websites.
I don’t know about you, but I can sure waste a considerable amount of time doing either. However, even if you were born today, and spent every second of every day looking at web pages, you would have to live more than 120 years to view every page populating the internet today!
A High Speed Look Back
There was a time when accessing the internet and world wide web involved lots of time, patients, and a high tolerance for pain. Literally, I’d rather lick a live wire than go back to those days.
I can remember AOL (America Online) commercials from the mid 90’s that boasted 56K High Speed Internet. 56Kbps, High Speed You say?!?
Okay, back then, yes it was “high speed”, and for whatever reason, maybe you’re one of the estimated 2 million still using a dial-up connection and topping out at 56K today. If so, I seek not to offend, only to offer my condolences.
As of 2014, the FCC found that the average internet connection speed in the U.S. is 31Mbps (1000 Kb = 1 Mb). That is over 500 times faster than 56Kbps!
For example, at 56Kbps, how long would it take to download…?
- Web page = 1 minute 27 seconds
- Picture = 2 minutes 29 seconds
- Song = 12 minutes 28 seconds
- YouTube Video = 3 Hours 39 minutes
- Movie SD = 1 Day
- Movie HD = 7 Days !!!!!!!
Ahhhhh, the good ol’ days! Anyone got a live wire?
50 Billion and Beyond
With the birth of the internet and world wide web, the way we do life has changed forever. I can remember when both were in their infancy, and access was confined to sizable desktop computer systems, slow connection speeds, and telephone landlines.
However, today the internet is fast, portable, and accessible from devices you can fit it your pocket. More than ever, our financial, social, and in some cases physical lives have become deeply meshed within this new world. While the benefits are innumerable, exciting, and fun, navigating it all can be intimidating, and yes, dangerous.
But, that’s exactly why we’re here! To give you the tools and instruction you need to safely navigate the net, and surf, or browse, the web with confidence.
So, how long would it take you to count to 50 Billion???
Well, lets just say if you start right now, you might be done by the year 3062!
Wishing You Safe Travels Through Cyberspace(At speeds greater than 56K 🙂 )