Internet Protocols: How does the Internet Work


The Internet comprises a plurality of individual computers, each of which are connected to one network. Access protocol, however, apply to this connection. Internet protocols are essentially rules that facilitate communication between individual machines (computers) and the Internet. Applications, such as web browsers and search engines, use Internet access protocols to search for and download the information. But no one piece of software has access to every file, which is located on the Internet; thus, it is necessary to build an arsenal of web sites, subject directories, search engines, and Usenet and email groups to research needs.

Some of the more traditional protocols are HTTP (“The Web”), TELNET, FTP, Usenet, and email.

1. The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web (WWW) is oftentimes confused with “The Internet.” This is understandable, since the WWW represents a large portion of what is available on the Internet. However, the WWW is only one of many protocols Internet access.

Access protocol that forms the basis for the WWW is the HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. HTTP is a distinct protocol that also offers access to other protocols, such as telnet, ftp, and Usenet and email groups. This is one reason for its popularity – users can search and retrieve information from various protocols without having to learn and connect with each one. The Web is also adept at handling multimedia files and advanced programming language, and is relatively simple, boasting an easy-to-use interface. When conducting online research, you will probably turn to the WWW 99% of the time.

Internet Access Protocol The Web is called HTTP because the WWW uses hypertext to retrieve information. Hypertext is a way to link documents together of words (or graphics) called links. Each time a user clicks on the link, he is directed to another document, one specified by the author’s link. When you visit a website, you use hyperlinks to navigate from page to page within the site. Most sites contain links to other websites as well.

To browse the web, you need to use a piece of software called a web browser. Many browsers employ plug-ins so that they can show multimedia content such as pictures or audio / video files. Even if you are not sure what a web browser is, chances are you’ve used a few. Most popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Mozilla.

2. Telnet

Another Internet Access Protocol you might encounter is the TELNET protocol. Machines that are connected to the Internet sometimes use this program to enable other computers to connect to databases, catalogs and chat services. For example, I often made use of Telnet when taking online distance learning from the University of New Mexico a few years ago. In regular meetings of class, we were obliged to sign telnet once a week and discuss the reading week and homework with classmates virtual directory. Some university use Telnet, although many have moved online catalogs on the web.

In order to launch a telnet session, you first need to install software on your computer and then find a compatible browser. You probably will not work with Telnet very often – and in those cases you do, it will most likely be in your library, which will already have telnet installed on their machines. So, in other words, there is no reason to speed up your computer and install Telnet ASAP!

3. FTP

File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is exactly what it sounds like – Internet Protocol for transferring files between machines. Users can choose to share files with specific individuals; this is common in the workplace, where colleagues can use FTP to share documents, videos, and other resources with one another. Users can also make their records available for all to download. Anonymous FTP allows users to download files from the host computer on their own machines; Kazaa, BearShare and LimeWire are some popular examples.

FTP search engines allow you to search the Web for files that can be downloaded using FTP programs.

Some (free!) Our search engines are:

File Searching –

FileWatcher –

FTP search engines –

FTPSearch –

While all of the above machines are “generic” directory search engines, you can also use our search engines specifically search for images, audio, video, and new web page. Many of the popular search engines such as Google and AltaVista, with the option to search only for multimedia files, too.

4. Usenet and email discussion groups

Usenet is a system that uses Network News Transfer Protocol, or NNTP. Usenet groups, commonly referred to as forums, discussion groups are devoted to a specific topic. With thousands of forums available, each item of environmental protection Taco Bell is covered.

Email groups are another form of discussion. Instead of NNTP, they use email protocol called Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, or SMTP. As forums, email groups are also around certain subjects. The main difference between the two is that email discussion groups deliver messages that users post right on your computer (talk about convenient!). On the other hand, Newsgroup posts are stored on a central computer. To view the messages, users must connect to the machine that messages are stored and either read them online or download them to their computers.

These panels are very useful for networking and connecting with other people, especially if you need to find experts on a particular subject.

When conducting research, it is useful to understand how the ‘Net functions. For example, files available on websites and messages posted to forums can both be useful to students studies. However, both governed by different protocols and sometimes require different technology research to unearth them.


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