You may be surprised with the realization that there are many internet users who do not know the source or origin of the web sites they visit and browse. All the user knows is that he is on internet which he does not even understand how it is structured and the way things work there. The internet is a network of computers. A network is a group of computers that share resources like data on a computer that is called server. A network can be within a small radius like a building or 2 buildings that are adjacent. This type of network is called Local Area Network (LAN). The radius of a network can be extremely large extending up to several geographical locations like continents. This is Wide Area Network (WAN). The internet is a Wide Area Network and the web site you see on your screen on the network server otherwise called production server may be thousands of kilometers away. How do the web pages of the web site get to the production server? It is by uploading them to an allocated web space in the production server under a registered domain name. This is called hosting. Before hosting your web site, you register a domain name like www dot something and the space for storage of your uploaded web pages will be created under that domain name.
Bandwidth, simply put, is a measure of the speed of data transmission over internet and the broadband type is capable of transmitting text, images etc at high speed. The rate at which you download web sites when browsing is a function of a combination of factors and one of them is the bandwidth provided you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The higher the bandwidth the faster you can download web pages. Same for file uploading. So when you are browsing and you are experiencing very slow downloading or uploading problems, it may be low bandwidth problem. You can try another computer on another ISP using a higher bandwidth. I have been using the terms downloading and uploading which you are likely to have been hearing about and using. Copying file from your computer to production server is an upload while copying file like a web page from production server to your computer is a download. When you enter a web site address in a browser and press Enter key and the web page appears on your computer screen, you have performed a download. I mentioned browser just now. A browser is a software package that enables you access the content of a web site to perform browsing. The web pages of a web site are downloaded with a browser after which you can start accessing the site’s content. The popular types of browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Nescape etc. The Internet Explorer is available in Windows operating system. As soon as you install windows on your system, the Internet Explorer would have been installed too. Browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Opera have to be installed in a separate operation. Sometimes you encounter problems when browsing like inability to download a web page caused by downloading error. The cause may have nothing to do with bandwidth or your computer. It may be browser problem. If you download with another browser, you might have a successful download. This is a pointer to the fact that browsers have different capabilities and so it is a good practice to install more than one browser on your computer so that you can switch from one to another whenever the need arises.
Devices like computers, radio, TV, and phones that produce information are Information Technology (IT) devices. Information they produce is transmitted over a suitable communication medium like cables, satellites, transmitters, antenna etc. These information communication medium are communication technology. You cannot make use of information produced without the appropriate communication technology and you cannot communicate information without producing the information with the appropriate information technology. Thus, there is a convergence between Information Technology (IT) and communication technology. Hence, the coining of the term Information and Communication Technology abbreviated as ICT which is commonly used today in place of the original IT as the all-encompassing term. For instance, you create the text of your email with an online computer (the Information Technology) and send it over the internet to the recipient via satellite (the communication technology). This is where the convergence between information and communication technologies come in and the reasonable fusion of both into Information and Communication Technology (ICT). However, the issue of ICT being the all-encompassing term instead of the original all-encompassing term of IT is debatable.
Online is a commonly used word by internet users. The reverse is offline. The term online is nowadays synonymous with being connected to internet and offline being unconnected to internet. Basically, online is a term used to describe a situation in which a device is directly linked to a computer and is under its control while offline is basically the reverse. This means that it is not only when you are connected to internet when browsing that you can be said to be online. You can be online in your office LAN as long as your terminal or peripheral device (printer, scanner etc) is directly linked to a computer. Every computer in a network has what is called IP address. IP means Internet Protocol and the address (127.0.0.1 for instance) is an effective means of identifying where downloading requests actually come from. Your domain name (www dot something) is assigned an IP address meaning that when you are downloading a web site from a production server, you are connecting to its IP address which normally shows at the bottom bar of Internet Explorer.
Internet browsing is very pleasurable but it is not without some its problems like slow downloading and downloading error earlier mentioned. There are some problems that pose serious threat to users. A typical one is virus infection. A virus is program written by people with the intention to cause harm to your computer files. Your computer becomes infected through downloading and your system becomes corrupted and starts malfunctioning. What you need do to guard against this is to install good anti-virus software on your computer and you must continue to update it continuously when browsing to sharpen its effectiveness. Anti-virus software provides an interface on your computer to start an update. Another problem posed by internet browsing is spyware attack. Spyware is a program written by people to access information stored on your computer such as passwords, credit card number etc. The infection occurs while downloading during browsing. A file is installed on your computer which enables someone to access information on your computer through the internet. There are also anti-spyware software that you can install to help you block such attack when you are browsing.
I hope this write-up has thrown more light into some of the fundamental issues in internet browsing and you now have a better understanding of what goes on when you are browsing.