Internet 101

©Disney — Ralph Breaks the Internet

In recent days, I’m building my first website using Ruby on Rails. Rails is so powerful that it builds the framework and connection for you. After seeing my pages running beautifully on the localhost, I ask myself: how does the internet work behind the screen? In this post, I’ll write down a brief introduction to the internet.

What‘s the internet?

Basically, the internet is just a “network of network”. It’s connecting millions of devices altogether. I wanna explain it in “nuts and bolts” view:

These devices are also called hosts or end systems, they can run network apps such as Chrome, Spotify, iTunes, etc


It could be a wireless or a wired link. One key point of links is the transmission rate(bandwidth)


Use routers and switches to forward packets(a small chunk of data)

In addition to the physical part listed above, we also need “bolts”:

🏄‍♀️WOW️️️🏄‍♀️ that’s lots of stuff!!! Here’s a simple graph of the internet:

network of network

A tour from your computer to the internet

We’ve known the fundamental parts of the internet, the next question is: how can we get data from it?

I found that Disney is super cool at explaining connecting to the internet:

Big thanks to Disney for illustrating the connection to the internet, here’s a simple flow of internet connection 💻 ➡🕹➡🛰➡🌍➡💻

Overview of the internet: layers & models

The Internet is never easy to design. When dealing with such a complex system, scientists created several layering models to characterize and standardize the communication functions of a computing system.

The OSI reference model is the most complete layering model, it has 7 layers. For each layer, it’s relying on the layer below it.

I hope this blog has provided you with a basic overview of how the internet works!