The Internet can be defined as a network of computers, designed to receive and send data in the form of e-mails, media, blogs and webcasts, etc. It is like a super-massive server, filled with seemingly infinite information and used by many people at the same time. The whole of the Internet is basically a network that connects other networks. Billions of devices that can access the Internet, namely desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablet PCs, Macs, and supercomputers, are all linked by a web of connections.
The Internet has now become the best business tool in the modern scenario. Today, it has brought the world in one single room. Right from getting news across the corner of the world to accessing knowledge resources to shopping, everything is at your fingertips. The Internet has tremendous potential and a lot to offer in terms of services. However, like every single innovation in science and technology, the Internet has its own advantages and disadvantages.
BASIC INTERNET TERMINOLOGY
- Internet Service Provider: A company, which provides users with an access to the Internet, is known as an Internet service provider or Internet access provider. ISP, as it is called, offers email accounts and other services like remote storage of files for its customers.
- Internet Protocol Suite: It is a set of communication protocols, which are used for the Internet. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) were the two pioneering protocols to be introduced in the Internet protocol standard. The Internet protocol suite is composed of a set of layers wherein; each layer provides a service to the upper layers in the set. The upper layers deal with abstract data while the lower layer protocols translate data into physically transmittable forms.
- PPP: Point-to-Point protocol (PPP) is a data link protocol that facilitates the establishment of a direct connection between two nodes on a network. Here is a brief introduction to the Point-to-Point-protocol.
- IP Address: It is a way of numerically identifying an entity on a computer network. The original addressing system known as IPv4, used 32 bit addresses. With the growth of the Internet, IPv6 came to be used wherein the addresses are composed of 128 bits.
- Domain Name System: DNS, as it is called, refers to the hierarchical naming system used for computers, resources and services on the Internet. It translates the computer hostnames to IP addresses.
- Cyberspace: This term coined by William Gibson, is used to refer to the computer networks connected to each other and the content they host. It is often used to refer to the Internet.
- WWW: It is a collection of interlinked documents that are accessible over the Internet. It consists of millions of web pages that contain text, images, voice and videos. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN, created the World Wide Web.
- W3C: It is the acronym used for the World Wide Web Consortium, which develops standards for the web community.
- Website: A website is a set of web pages consisting of text, audio and video. Web servers host websites.
- URL: It specifies the location of a resource on the Internet. It consists of the basic address and path.
- Web Page: Web pages are resources of information. They are generally created in the HTML format and provide the web users with navigational abilities through hyperlinks to other web pages on the web.
- Home Page: The term home page is used to refer to the page that is the default page of any website. It is the main page of a complex website.
- Proxy Server: Client machines on a network connect to the proxy server, which forwards the client requests to other servers and returns responses to the clients.
- Web Server: A web server is a computer program that accepts HTTP requests from web clients and provides them with HTTP responses.
- Web Browser: A web browser is a software application that facilitates user interaction with the text, audio, video and other information that is located on the web.
- HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol, abbreviated as HTTP, is a communications protocol used for the transfer of information over the Internet. A client makes an HTTP request using a web browser to which an HTTP response is sent from the server.
- Hyperlink: A reference in a document to another section of the document or to another document is termed as a hyperlink. Hyperlinks are used to redirect the user from one section of a page content to another.
- Mail Server: It can also be called Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) and is responsible for receiving incoming email from local users and forwarding outgoing mails for delivery. A mail server application forms the heart of a messaging system that performs all the functions to keep the mails moving over the network.
- SMTP: Short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, SMTP is the standard for the transmission of electronic mails. The electronic mail server software uses SMTP to send and receive mail messages. ESMTP, that is known as extended or enhanced SMTP refers to the protocol extensions made to SMTP and is widely used today.
- Modem: It is a device that modulates analog carrier signals to encode digital information and demodulates carrier signals to decode information. A cable modem provides access to data signals sent over the cable television infrastructure. Modems are commonly used for facilitating Internet access.
- Blogs: Blogs are the expressions of the common masses about social or political issues or simply anything. Blogs can often be in the form of creative write-ups by writers in different parts of the world.
- Internet Forums: It is a bulletin board that serves as a platform for group discussion. Registered users are free to contribute to the issues raised in forums thus making them open discussion platforms.
- Usenet: Usenet can be considered as a worldwide bulletin board. Usenet newsgroups serve as a repository of messages posted from users around the world.
- Internet Search Engine: It is an information retrieval system that is designed to help find information over the Internet. Search engines use algorithms to scan the huge information base of the Internet and sort it making it retrievable for the web users.
- Intranet: It is a relatively smaller private network that uses the Internet protocols and connectivity. It is an extension of the Internet and is privately used by organizations.
- Extranet: It is a private network that uses Internet technology to share a part of the business information and operations with suppliers and customers. It can be a part of a company’s intranet that provides access to the users outside the company.
- Netiquette: This term is short for net etiquette and refers to the principles of courtesy and consideration for the people using the Internet. It refers to certain basic principles to adhere to while using the Internet. The general ethical principles to be followed in relation to using mailing systems of the Internet are termed as email etiquette.
Intranet is an internal private computer network or connection of one or more computer networks, whose use and access is restricted to an organization and its employees or members. These kinds of networks are used for ease of information sharing and communication in companies. In industries, based on the information technology, intranets are absolutely necessary, as their work involves a high degree of data sharing and collaboration among computer users. It can be called a scaled-down private Internet. Transfer of data over such a private website based network may be controlled using the Internet protocols like HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). However, not all intranets use private websites. There may be organizations where intranets are meant for pure file sharing, with no private website or Internet protocol use required.
INTERNET MAIN BROWSER
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and may be a web page, image, video or other piece of content. Hyperlinks present in resources enable users easily to navigate their browsers to related resources. A web browser can also be defined as an application software or program designed to enable users to access, retrieve and view documents and other resources on the Internet. Although browsers are primarily intended to use the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by web servers in private networks or files in file systems. The major web browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.
A) Mozilla Firefox: Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser developed for Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android by Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards.
Features include tabbed browsing, spell checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, smart bookmarks, a download manager, private browsing, location-aware browsing based on a Google service and an integrated search system that uses Google by default in most localizations. Functions can be added through extensions, created by third-party developers, of which there is a wide selection, a feature that has attracted many of Firefox’s users.
Additionally, Firefox provides an environment for web developers in which they can use builtin tools, such as the Error Console or the DOM Inspector, or extensions, such as Firebug.
Main Features of Firefox
- A Better Web Experience: Firefox 1.5 has an intuitive interface and blocks viruses, spyware, and popup ads. It delivers Web pages faster than ever. And it is easy to install and import your favorites. Packed with useful features like tabbed browsing, Live Bookmarks, and an integrated Search bar, Firefox will change the way you experience the Web, for the better.
- Faster Browsing: Enjoy quick page loading as you navigate back and forward in a browsing session. Improvements to the engine that powers Firefox deliver more accurate display of complex Web sites, support for new Web standards, and better overall performance.
- Automatic Updates: The new Software Update feature makes it easy to get the latest security and feature updates to Firefox. Firefox automatically downloads these small updates in the background and prompts you when they are ready to be installed.
- Tabbed Browsing: Use tabbed browsing to open multiple Web pages in a single browser window, and quickly flip back and forth. Drag and drop open tabs to keep related pages together.
- Improved Pop-up Blocking: Firefox’s built-in pop-up blocker has been enhanced to block more unwanted pop-up and pop-under ads.
- Integrated Search: Tap into the power of the Web’s most popular search engines with the built-in Search bar, and easily add new engines.
- Stronger Security: Firefox keeps you more secure when you’re browsing the Web, closing the door on spyware, worms, and viruses. The Firefox community of developers and security experts works around the clock to monitor security issues and release updates to better protect you.
- Clear Private Data: Protect your privacy with the new Clear Private Data tool. With a single click, you can delete all personal data, including browsing history, cookies, Web form entries and passwords.
- Live Bookmarks: Stay up to date with your favorite Web sites and blogs. Use Live Bookmarks that update themselves automatically with the latest content from the Web.
- Accessibility: Firefox 1.5 delivers easier navigation for everyone, including those who are visually or motor impaired. Firefox is the first browser to support DHTML accessibility, which, when enabled by Web authors, allows rich Web applications to be read aloud. Users may navigate with keystrokes rather than mouse clicks, reducing the tabbing required to navigate documents such as spreadsheets. Firefox 1.5 (Windows version) is also the first browser to meet US federal government requirements that software be easily accessible to users with physical impairments.
- Customize Firefox: Select new button controls for your toolbars, install extensions to add new features, or change the look of your browser with themes – the way Firefox looks and works is under your control.
- Next Generation Web Support: Innovative new Web applications and services deliver a richer Web experience. Support for open Web standards in Firefox ensures you can get the most out of this emerging class of Web-based tools.
B) Google Chrome: Google Chrome is a freeware web browser developed by Google that uses the WebKit layout engine, a fork of WebKit9. It was released as a beta version for Microsoft Windows on September 2, 2008, and as a stable public release on December 11, 2008.
Signing in to Chrome brings your bookmarks, apps, history, and other settings to all your devices,” notes Google. “Anything you update on one device instantly updates everywhere else, and your Chrome stuff is safe in case anything happens to your computer.”
Main Features of Google Chrome
- Translation in the browser: When the language on the web page does not match the language preferences set in the browser, Chrome will automatically ask to translate the web page into your preferred language.
- Apps: Web apps are advanced interactive websites. They may provide a wide-ranging set of features or focus on a single task like photo-editing or shopping.
- Themes: Customize your browser with themes from artists around the world.
- Extensions: Extensions let you add new features to your browser. For example, an email notifier extension can show an email alert in your browser toolbar so you don’t have to log in to your email in a separate window to check if you have new messages. There are also extensions that work silently in the background, such as an extension that automatically formats and displays web pages in your preferred style.
- New Tab page: Visit your favorite websites easily from the New Tab page. When you open a new tab, the sites you visit most often are readily available.
- Omnibox: Use the Omnibox to type both web addresses and searches in Chrome.
- Incognito mode: When you don’t want your website visits to be recorded in your browser history, you can browse in incognito mode.
- Tabs and Stability: Chrome is built for stability. If an individual tab freezes or crashes, the other tabs are unaffected.
C) Internet Explorer: Internet Explorer provides a flexible and reliable browsing experience with enhanced Web privacy features for all Windows users. It includes a full installation of the Web browser and the most recent version of Outlook Express, the e-mail client that is included with Internet Explorer.
Whether you are a home user browsing content or getting e-mail on the Web, an IT administrator deploying and maintaining a rich set of Windows Internet technologies, or a Web developer creating Web content, Internet Explorer 6 gives you the freedom to experience the best of the Internet.
Main features of the IE Browser
- Manage Cookies: Help to protect your privacy online by managing cookies. Internet Explorer provides a range of options for accepting and restricting cookies.
- Security Zones: Provide different levels of security for different areas of the Web to help protect your computer. Internet Explorer divides your Internet world into four zones with varying security levels: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites.
- Content Advisor: Helps screen out objectionable content by using industry-standard ratings that have been defined independently by the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) committee.
- Fault Collection: Offers users the option to extract information about an Internet Explorer fault and upload the data to Microsoft for analysis. This information can help identify potential issues Microsoft needs to address in future Internet Explorer Service Packs.
- Image Toolbar: Allows you to quickly and easily save, e-mail, and print your pictures from your Web page, as well as view all your saved pictures in the My Pictures folder. When you point to pictures on Web pages, the Image toolbar appears giving instant access to My Pictures functions.
- Media Bar: Provides a user interface for locating and playing media within the browser window. You can play music, video, or mixed-media files without opening a separate window.
- Auto Image Resize: Resizes pictures that are too large to display in the browser window so they fit within the dimensions of the window.
- Favorites: Put Web sites you visit often within easy reach. That way, you don’t have to remember or type anything. Just click your mouse twice and there you are. As your list of favorite pages grows, you can organize them by moving them into subfolders.
- History List: Makes it easy to find and return to Web sites and pages you’ve visited in the past. Whether it’s today or a few weeks ago, the History list can record pages you’ve visited, so it is easy to go back later on.
- Print Preview: Lets you see the page you’re about to print at a glance or zoom in for a closer look so you’ll know exactly what to expect when you print Web pages.
- Auto Complete: Saves you time by automatically remembering information that you’ve recently typed, such as Web addresses, information in forms, and search queries.
- Search Companion: Helps you tracking down information on the Web. Internet Explorer’s built-in search feature, Search Companion, makes searching the Internet faster and simpler than ever.
- Customizable Browsing Layout: Provides options so you can change your Web browsing layout to suit the way you work. Add and remove buttons on the toolbar, increase Web page viewing space, and create a custom toolbar layout.
D) Opera: The most full-featured Internet power tool on the market, Opera includes popup blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera’s groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat. And because we know that our users have different needs, you can customize the look and content of your Opera browser with a few clicks of the mouse.
Features of Opera
- Tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking: Opera pioneered tabs and pop-up blocking ages ago. But they’re still key features that more and more people start enjoying. With tabs you can open multiple pages within the same application window. Opera lets you control whether to block all pop-ups, or open only the ones that you have requested.
- Integrated search: Search your favorite sites, for example Google, eBay, or Amazon without having to go to their Web pages. Use the integrated search window or search directly in the address field using shortcuts.
- Security: Stay away from spy-ware, viruses, and other malicious applications that silently attack your computer while you are surfing the Web. For example, Opera displays security information inside the address bar, located next to the padlock icon that indicates the level of security present on a site. Opera 8 also provides protection against phishing attacks and automatically checks for security updates.
- Speed: In Opera 8, further improvements have been made in the way the browser reads pages to allow you to fly the Web.
- Password manager: Opera’s password manager, the Wand, remembers your usernames and passwords so you will not have to. The password manager can store more than one username and password combination for each page, and will let you choose which one to use if multiple combinations are stored.
- Customization: Using the ‘appearance’ dialog you can make Opera look almost any way you want. Move buttons and search fields, add and remove toolbars, and so forth. Opera skins can change the look of your browser by giving it the icons and buttons of your choice.
- Voice: Opera is the first browser to prepare for a future of Web sites offering interactive, voice-enabled shopping and booking systems. You can browse the Web using spoken commands, such as “Opera next link”, “Opera back”, or “Opera speak”. The latter command will make Opera read Web page content and e-mail messages to you aloud ,adding usability as either a screen reader or advanced dictionary. Voice is currently offered in English and works on Windows 2000 and XP. A headset with a microphone is required to use Voice.
- Additional features: Full support for Gmail, Support for Atom news feeds, First Web browser to natively support Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
ADVANTAGES OF INTERNET
- Faster Communication: The foremost target of Internet has always been speedy communication and it has excelled way beyond the expectations. Newer innovations are only going to make it faster and more reliable. Now, you can communicate in a fraction of second with a person who is sitting in the other part of the world. For more personal and interactive communication, you can avail the facilities of chat services, video conferencing and so on. Besides, there are plenty of messenger services in offering. With the help of such services, it has become very easy to establish a kind of global friendship where you can share your thoughts and explore other cultures.
- Information Resources: Information is probably the biggest advantage that Internet offers. Internet is a virtual treasure trove of information. The search engines like Google, Yahoo are at your service on the Internet. There is a huge amount of information available on the Internet for just about every subject known to man, ranging from government law and services, trade fairs and conferences, market information, new ideas and technical support.
- Entertainment: The internet has become quite successful in trapping the multifaceted entertainment industry. Downloading games or just surfing the celebrity websites are some of the uses people have discovered. Even celebrities are using the Internet effectively for promotional campaigns. Besides, there are numerous games that can be downloaded for free. The industry of online gaming has tasted dramatic and phenomenal attention by game lovers.
- Social Networking: Social networking has become so popular amongst youth that it might one day replace physical networking. It has evolved as a great medium to connect with millions of people with similar interests. Apart from finding long-lost friends, you can also look for job, business opportunities on forums, communities etc. Besides, there are chat rooms where users can meet new and interesting people. Some of them may even end up finding their life partners.
- Online Services: The Internet has made life very convenient. With numerous online services you can now perform all your transactions online. You can book tickets for a movie, transfer funds, pay utility bills, taxes etc ., right from your home. Some travel websites even plan an Itinerary as per your preferences and take care of airline tickets, hotel reservations etc.
- e-commerce: The concept of e-commerce is used for any type of commercial maneuvering or business deals that involves the transfer of information across the globe via the Internet. It has become a phenomenon associated with any kind of shopping, business deal etc. You name a service, and e-commerce with it’s giant tentacles engulfing every single product and service will make it available at your doorstep. Websites such as eBay allow you to even bid for homes, buy, sell or auction stuff online.
DISADVANTAGES OF INTERNET
- Theft of Personal Information: If you use the Internet for online banking, social networking or other services, you may risk a theft to your personal information such as name, address, credit card number, etc. Unscrupulous people can access this information through unsecured connections or by planting software and then use your personal details for their benefit. Needless to say, this may land you in serious trouble.
- Spamming: Spamming refers to sending unwanted e-mails in bulk, which provide no purpose and needlessly obstruct the entire system. Such illegal activities can be very frustrating for you as it makes your Internet slower and less reliable.
- Virus Threat: Internet users are often plagued by virus attacks on their systems. Virus programs are inconspicuous and may get activated if you click a seemingly harmless link. Computers connected to the Internet are very prone to targeted virus attacks and may end up crashing.
- Pornography: Pornography is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Internet. Internet allows you to access and download millions of pornographic photos, videos and other X-rated stuff. Such unrestricted access to porn can be detrimental for children and teenagers. It can even have a devastating effect in marital and social lives of adults.
- Social Disconnect: Thanks to the Internet, people now only meet on social networks. More and more people are getting engulfed in virtual world and drifting apart from their friends and family. Even children prefer to play online games rather than going out and mingling with other kids. This may hamper a healthy social development in children.
BENEFITS OF INTERNET
Internet, as most of us know, is a large network of networks, which communicate with each other by means of data packets. Internet is regarded as the largest information base. Today, Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. With the onset of the Internet, access to information has become easy. Internet has served being an efficient and organized storage of information. Internet search engines are the best information retrieval systems that are functional over the Internet. Typing in a simple search query to a search engine fetches you thousands of search results. Moreover, the ranking strategies adopted by the search engines ensure that the most relevant results are delivered to you on priority. The search engines crawl over all the information that seems relevant to your search query. They retrieve the most relevant results in top order, thus helping you fetch the required information with great ease. Information is truly a click away!
The Internet provides some of the most effective means of communication. Emails and instant messages have made online communication possible. Social networking and blogging websites and online discussion forums have proved being popular platforms of expression.
People in different parts of the world can collaborate over the Internet. They can exchange views, share information and work together over the Internet. It was the development of the Internet that made online education and distance learning possible. Professionals working in physically distant locations can collaborate their efforts, thanks to the Internet.