How the internet works! Sounds pretty intimidating huh? Well let's spend this blog post breaking it down.

From the Mozilla Developer Network (

The Internet is the backbone of the Web, the technical infrastructure that makes the Web possible. At its most basic, the Internet is a large network of computers which communicate all together.

(We won't get into the history here but feel free to check out that previous link at MDN, they touch on it a bit and it's super interesting!)

At its core, the internet is the infrastructure that allows The Web to work and exist. When two computers need to communicate they need to either be connected physically via wire, or wirelessly through some other protocol (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for example).

Thankfully, your computer is not limited to connecting with just one other computer, however the more computers you connect with, the more complicated things become.

Again referencing MDN:

To solve this problem, each computer on a network is connected to a special tiny computer called a router. This router has only one job: like a signaler at a railway station, it makes sure that a message sent from a given computer arrives at the right destination computer. To send a message to computer B, computer A must send the message to the router, which in turn forwards the message to computer B and makes sure the message is not delivered to computer C.

Routers to the rescue!

tl;dr, routers drastically reduce the complexity, overhead, and sheer number of cables needed to connect computers. The next step becomes connecting routers to routers- suddenly you are able to scale infinitely!

However for the purposes of our demonstration, we've only built a large scale network for ourselves.

The penultimate piece of the puzzle is to connect our network to other networks around the world. In order to accomplish this we need what's called a modem.

From MDN:

...modem turns the information from our network into information manageable by the telephone infrastructure and vice versa.

Thankfully, the world already has a scaled infrastructure in place for communications- the telephone! The modern internet leverages that already-in-place infrastructure and just beefs it up a bit.

And finally we connect our modem to an ISP or Internet Service Provider which then takes care of the job of connecting modems to other modems.

See how this scales nicely?

In our next lesson we are going to go over how web browsers work and what happens when you actually try to connect to another computer.

Hope you learned something today!

Best, CFM