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Basic Technology Skills -> the web ->What is the internet?

The Internet is a worldwide, noncommercial, freely accessible network of networks. It's the mother of all computer networks. Internet stands for:
Internetworked Networks


location of first four computersThe origin of the Internet dates back to 1969/1970 when 4 computers were first connected to each other over the phone lines. These four computers were located at:
  • University of California Santa Barbara
  • University of California at Los Angeles
  • Stanford Research Institute – Los Angeles
  • University of Utah at Salt Lake

20 years of concerted effort by scientists and engineers have produced today’s all-purpose, global network for high-speed digital communication.

Each computer on the Internet is called an Internet host or a host machine. Each host machine has a special Internet protocol address (IP address) that uniquely identifies that computer. IP addresses were never designed to be seen by human eyes. They are an address that is interpreted by a computer. An example of an IP address is:

TLD Name

Type of Organization


A commercial organization


An educational site in the United States


A government agency in the United States


A military site in the United States


A network site


A nonprofit organization

Since numbers are easy for a computer to work with but difficult for humans, most host machines have a Domain Name Service (DNS) address. For instance, the domain name service address of the IP address listed above is:

Each Domain Name Service address is made up of two parts – the institution site name (alverno) and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) (edu). The Top-Level Domain identifies the type of site on which the host machine resides.

Sometimes the TLD are referred to as "domains". This can be very confusing, since a domain is also the name for a DNS. For instance, is a domain. The most common TLD, or top level domains, are listed on the right.
Other TLD names identify geographical locations by country – such as:

  • .au - Australia
  • .ca - Canada
  • .dk - Denmark
  • .fr - France
  • .de - Germany
  • .uk - Great Britain
  • .hk - Hong Kong

Newly added Top-Level Domains include:

TLD Name

Type of Organization




For all users


For the air-transport industry


For cooperatives


For museums


For individuals


For professions

Top-Level Domain Names help users identify what type of site they are visiting

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