The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (often called TCP/IP, although not all applications use TCP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email.

Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are being reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as supply chains across entire industries.

The origins of the Internet reach back to research of the 1960s, commissioned by the United States government to build robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2011 more than 2.2 billion people—nearly a third of Earth’s Human population—used the services of the Internet.[1]

The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own standards. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.



Internet is a short form of the technical term [3] The Internet is also often referred to as the Net.

The Internet, referring to the specific entire global system of IP networks, is a proper noun and written with an initial capital letter. In the media and common use it is often not capitalized: “the internet”. Some guides specify that the word should be capitalized as a noun but not capitalized as an adjective.[4]

The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used interchangeably in everyday speech; it is common to speak of going on the Internet when invoking a browser to view Web pages. However, the Internet is a particular global computer network connecting millions of computing devices; the World Wide Web is just one of many services running on the Internet. The Web is a collection of interconnected documents (Web pages) and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.[5] In addition to the Web, a multitude of other services are implemented over the Internet, including e-mail, file transfer, remote computer control, newsgroups, and online games. Web (and other) services can be implemented on any intranet, accessible to network users.


Professor Interface Message Processors at UCLA

Research into [10]

The first two nodes of what would become the Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing.

Early international collaborations on ARPANET were sparse. For various political reasons, European developers were concerned with developing the citation needed]

T3 NSFNET Backbone, c. 1992

In December 1974, RFC 675 – Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program, by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal, and Carl Sunshine, used the term internet, as a shorthand for internetworking; later RFCs repeat this use, so the word started out as an adjective rather than the noun it is today.[16] Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In 1982, the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized and the concept of a world-wide network of fully interconnected TCP/IP networks called the Internet was introduced.

TCP/IP network access expanded again in 1986 when the National Science Foundation Network ([21]

This Web server.

Since the mid-1990s the Internet has had a tremendous impact on culture and commerce, including the rise of near instant communication by email, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) “phone calls”, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web[22] with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1-Gbit/s, 10-Gbit/s, or more. The Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information and knowledge, commerce, entertainment and social networking.[23]

During the late 1990s, it was estimated that traffic on the public Internet grew by 100 percent per year, while the mean annual growth in the number of Internet users was thought to be between 20% and 50%.[27]



As the user data is processed down through the protocol stack, each layer adds an encapsulation at the sending host. Data is transmitted “over the wire” at the link level, left to right. The encapsulation stack procedure is reversed by the receiving host. Intermediate relays remove and add a new link encapsulation for retransmission, and inspect the IP layer for routing purposes.

The communications infrastructure of the Internet consists of its hardware components and a system of software layers that control various aspects of the architecture. While the hardware can often be used to support other software systems, it is the design and the rigorous standardization process of the software architecture that characterizes the Internet and provides the foundation for its scalability and success. The responsibility for the architectural design of the Internet software systems has been delegated to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).[28] The IETF conducts standard-setting work groups, open to any individual, about the various aspects of Internet architecture. Resulting discussions and final standards are published in a series of publications, each called a Request for Comments (RFC), freely available on the IETF web site. The principal methods of networking that enable the Internet are contained in specially designated RFCs that constitute the Internet Standards. Other less rigorous documents are simply informative, experimental, or historical, or document the best current practices (BCP) when implementing Internet technologies.

The Internet standards describe a framework known as the Internet protocol suite. This is a model architecture that divides methods into a layered system of protocols (RFC 1122, RFC 1123). The layers correspond to the environment or scope in which their services operate. At the top is the application layer, the space for the application-specific networking methods used in software applications, e.g., a web browser program. Below this top layer, the transport layer connects applications on different hosts via the network (e.g., client–server model) with appropriate data exchange methods. Underlying these layers are the core networking technologies, consisting of two layers. The internet layer enables computers to identify and locate each other via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and allows them to connect to one another via intermediate (transit) networks. Last, at the bottom of the architecture, is a software layer, the link layer, that provides connectivity between hosts on the same local network link, such as a local area network (LAN) or a dial-up connection. The model, also known as TCP/IP, is designed to be independent of the underlying hardware, which the model therefore does not concern itself with in any detail. Other models have been developed, such as the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, but they are not compatible in the details of description or implementation; many similarities exist and the TCP/IP protocols are usually included in the discussion of OSI networking.

The most prominent component of the Internet model is the Internet Protocol (IP), which provides addressing systems (IP addresses) for computers on the Internet. IP enables internetworking and in essence establishes the Internet itself. IP Version 4 (IPv4) is the initial version used on the first generation of today’s Internet and is still in dominant use. It was designed to address up to ~4.3 billion (109) Internet hosts. However, the explosive growth of the Internet has led to IPv4 address exhaustion, which entered its final stage in 2011,[29] when the global address allocation pool was exhausted. A new protocol version, IPv6, was developed in the mid-1990s, which provides vastly larger addressing capabilities and more efficient routing of Internet traffic. IPv6 is currently in growing deployment around the world, since Internet address registries (RIRs) began to urge all resource managers to plan rapid adoption and conversion.[30]

IPv6 is not interoperable with IPv4. In essence, it establishes a parallel version of the Internet not directly accessible with IPv4 software. This means software upgrades or translator facilities are necessary for networking devices that need to communicate on both networks. Most modern computer operating systems already support both versions of the Internet Protocol. Network infrastructures, however, are still lagging in this development. Aside from the complex array of physical connections that make up its infrastructure, the Internet is facilitated by bi- or multi-lateral commercial contracts (e.g., peering agreements), and by technical specifications or protocols that describe how to exchange data over the network. Indeed, the Internet is defined by its interconnections and routing policies.


Internet packet routing is accomplished among various tiers of Internet Service Providers.

citation needed]

Computers and routers use citation needed]

Academic institutions, large companies, governments, and other organizations can perform the same role as ISPs, engaging in peering and purchasing transit on behalf of their internal networks of individual computers. Research networks tend to interconnect into large subnetworks such as citation needed]

Not all citation needed]

General structure

The Internet structure and its usage characteristics have been studied extensively. It has been determined that both the Internet IP routing structure and hypertext links of the World Wide Web are examples of scale-free networks.[31]

Many computer scientists describe the Internet as a “prime example of a large-scale, highly engineered, yet highly complex system”.[35]


ICANN headquarters in Marina Del Rey, California, United States

The Internet is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body. However, to maintain interoperability, all technical and policy aspects of the underlying core infrastructure and the principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), headquartered in Marina del Rey, California. ICANN is the authority that coordinates the assignment of unique identifiers for use on the Internet, including domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters. Globally unified name spaces, in which names and numbers are uniquely assigned, are essential for the global reach of the Internet. ICANN is governed by an international board of directors drawn from across the Internet technical, business, academic, and other non-commercial communities. The government of the United States continues to have the primary role in approving changes to the DNS root zone that lies at the heart of the domain name system.[36] ICANN’s role in coordinating the assignment of unique identifiers distinguishes it as perhaps the only central coordinating body on the global Internet. On 16 November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis, established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to discuss Internet-related issues.

Modern uses

The Internet allows greater flexibility in working hours and location, especially with the spread of unmetered high-speed connections. The Internet can be accessed almost anywhere by numerous means, including through wirelessly. Within the limitations imposed by small screens and other limited facilities of such pocket-sized devices, the services of the Internet, including email and the web, may be available. Service providers may restrict the services offered and mobile data charges may be significantly higher than other access methods.

Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites. Examples range from CBeebies, through school and high-school revision guides and virtual universities, to access to top-end scholarly literature through the likes of Google Scholar. For distance education, help with homework and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time, or just looking up more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere. The Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education.

The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills has made social networking website, allows colleagues to stay in touch in a very convenient way while working at their computers during the day. Messages can be exchanged even more quickly and conveniently than via email. These systems may allow files to be exchanged, drawings and images to be shared, or voice and video contact between team members.

computer literacy spread.

The Internet allows computer users to remotely access other computers and information stores easily, wherever they may be. They may do this with or without computer security, i.e. authentication and encryption technologies, depending on the requirements. This is encouraging new ways of working from home, collaboration and information sharing in many industries. An accountant sitting at home can audit the books of a company based in another country, on a server situated in a third country that is remotely maintained by IT specialists in a fourth. These accounts could have been created by home-working bookkeepers, in other remote locations, based on information emailed to them from offices all over the world. Some of these things were possible before the widespread use of the Internet, but the cost of private leased lines would have made many of them infeasible in practice. An office worker away from their desk, perhaps on the other side of the world on a business trip or a holiday, can access their emails, access their data using cloud computing, or open a remote desktop session into their office PC using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection on the Internet. This can give the worker complete access to all of their normal files and data, including email and other applications, while away from the office. It has been referred to among system administrators as the Virtual Private Nightmare,[37] because it extends the secure perimeter of a corporate network into remote locations and its employees’ homes.


World Wide Web

Many people use the terms Internet and World Wide Web, or just the Web, interchangeably, but the two terms are not synonymous. The World Wide Web is a global set of documents, images and other resources, logically interrelated by hyperlinks and referenced with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). URIs symbolically identify services, servers, and other databases, and the documents and resources that they can provide. Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the main access protocol of the World Wide Web, but it is only one of the hundreds of communication protocols used on the Internet. Web services also use HTTP to allow software systems to communicate in order to share and exchange business logic and data.

World Wide Web browser software, such as Microsoft’s Google, users worldwide have easy, instant access to a vast and diverse amount of online information. Compared to printed media, books, encyclopedias and traditional libraries, the World Wide Web has enabled the decentralization of information on a large scale.

The Web has also enabled individuals and organizations to social network services rather than simply as web page hosts.

e-commerce or the sale of products and services directly via the Web continues to grow.

When the Web began in the 1990s, a typical web page was stored in completed form on a web server, formatted in wiki software with, initially, very little content. Contributors to these systems, who may be paid staff, members of a club or other organization or members of the public, fill underlying databases with content using editing pages designed for that purpose, while casual visitors view and read this content in its final HTML form. There may or may not be editorial, approval and security systems built into the process of taking newly entered content and making it available to the target visitors.


Email is an important communications service available on the Internet. The concept of sending electronic text messages between parties in a way analogous to mailing letters or memos predates the creation of the Internet. Pictures, documents and other files are sent as email addresses.

ADSL. VoIP is maturing into a competitive alternative to traditional telephone service. Interoperability between different providers has improved and the ability to call or receive a call from a traditional telephone is available. Simple, inexpensive VoIP network adapters are available that eliminate the need for a personal computer.

Voice quality can still vary from call to call, but is often equal to and can even exceed that of traditional calls. Remaining problems for VoIP include Xbox 360 also offer VoIP chat features.

Data transfer

File sharing is an example of transferring large amounts of data across the Internet. A computer file can be emailed to customers, colleagues and friends as an attachment. It can be uploaded to a website or FTP server for easy download by others. It can be put into a “shared location” or onto a file server for instant use by colleagues. The load of bulk downloads to many users can be eased by the use of “mirror” servers or peer-to-peer networks. In any of these cases, access to the file may be controlled by user authentication, the transit of the file over the Internet may be obscured by encryption, and money may change hands for access to the file. The price can be paid by the remote charging of funds from, for example, a credit card whose details are also passed – usually fully encrypted – across the Internet. The origin and authenticity of the file received may be checked by digital signatures or by MD5 or other message digests. These simple features of the Internet, over a worldwide basis, are changing the production, sale, and distribution of anything that can be reduced to a computer file for transmission. This includes all manner of print publications, software products, news, music, film, video, photography, graphics and the other arts. This in turn has caused seismic shifts in each of the existing industries that previously controlled the production and distribution of these products.

portable media player to be listened to on the move. These techniques using simple equipment allow anybody, with little censorship or licensing control, to broadcast audio-visual material worldwide.

Digital media streaming increases the demand for network bandwidth. For example, standard image quality needs 1 Mbit/s link speed for SD 480p, HD 720p quality requires 2.5 Mbit/s, and the top-of-the-line HDX quality needs 4.5 Mbit/s for 1080p.[38]

Webcams are a low-cost extension of this phenomenon. While some webcams can give full-frame-rate video, the picture either is usually small or updates slowly. Internet users can watch animals around an African waterhole, ships in the Panama Canal, traffic at a local roundabout or monitor their own premises, live and in real time. Video chat rooms and video conferencing are also popular with many uses being found for personal webcams, with and without two-way sound. YouTube was founded on 15 February 2005 and is now the leading website for free streaming video with a vast number of users. It uses a flash-based web player to stream and show video files. Registered users may upload an unlimited amount of video and build their own personal profile. YouTube claims that its users watch hundreds of millions, and upload hundreds of thousands of videos daily.[39]


Common methods of Internet access in homes include dial-up, landline broadband (over coaxial cable, fiber optic or copper wires), Wi-Fi, satellite and 3G/4G technology cell phones. Public places to use the Internet include libraries and Internet cafes, where computers with Internet connections are available. There are also Internet access points in many public places such as airport halls and coffee shops, in some cases just for brief use while standing. Various terms are used, such as “public Internet kiosk”, “public access terminal”, and “Web payphone“. Many hotels now also have public terminals, though these are usually fee-based. These terminals are widely accessed for various usage like ticket booking, bank deposit, online payment etc. Wi-Fi provides wireless access to computer networks, and therefore can do so to the Internet itself. Hotspots providing such access include Wi-Fi cafes, where would-be users need to bring their own wireless-enabled devices such as a laptop or PDA. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based. A hotspot need not be limited to a confined location. A whole campus or park, or even an entire city can be enabled.

[41] An Internet access provider and protocol matrix differentiates the methods used to get online.

An Internet blackout or outage can be caused by local signaling interruptions. Disruptions of [44]


Internet users per 100 inhabitants    Source: ITU[45]

Overall Internet usage has seen tremendous growth. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users globally rose from 394 million to 1.858 billion.[49]

The prevalent language for communication on the Internet has been English. This may be a result of the origin of the Internet, as well as the language’s role as a Latin alphabet.

After English (27%), the most requested languages on the World Wide Web are Chinese (23%), Spanish (8%), Japanese (5%), Portuguese and German (4% each), Arabic, French and Russian (3% each), and Korean (2%).[50] By region, 42% of the world’s Internet users are based in Asia, 24% in Europe, 14% in North America, 10% in Latin America and the Caribbean taken together, 6% in Africa, 3% in the Middle East and 1% in Australia/Oceania.[51] The Internet’s technologies have developed enough in recent years, especially in the use of Unicode, that good facilities are available for development and communication in the world’s widely used languages. However, some glitches such as mojibake (incorrect display of some languages’ characters) still remain.

In an American study in 2005, the percentage of men using the Internet was very slightly ahead of the percentage of women, although this difference reversed in those under 30. Men logged on more often, spent more time online, and were more likely to be broadband users, whereas women tended to make more use of opportunities to communicate (such as email). Men were more likely to use the Internet to pay bills, participate in auctions, and for recreation such as downloading music and videos. Men and women were equally likely to use the Internet for shopping and banking.[55]

Social impact

The Internet has enabled entirely new forms of social interaction, activities, and organizing, thanks to its basic features such as widespread usability and access. In the first decade of the 21st century, the first generation is raised with widespread availability of Internet connectivity, bringing consequences and concerns in areas such as personal privacy and identity, and distribution of copyrighted materials. These “digital natives” face a variety of challenges that were not present for prior generations.

Social networking and entertainment

Many people use the World Wide Web to access news, weather and sports reports, to plan and book vacations and to find out more about their interests. People use Web desktops, where users can access their files and settings via the Internet.

Flickr specialize in users’ videos and photographs.

The Internet has been a major outlet for leisure activity since its inception, with entertaining social experiments such as [57]

Another area of leisure activity on the Internet is [59] Non-subscribers were limited to certain types of game play or certain games. Many people use the Internet to access and download music, movies and other works for their enjoyment and relaxation. Free and fee-based services exist for all of these activities, using centralized servers and distributed peer-to-peer technologies. Some of these sources exercise more care with respect to the original artists’ copyrights than others.

Internet usage has been correlated to users’ loneliness.[60] Lonely people tend to use the Internet as an outlet for their feelings and to share their stories with others, such as in the “I am lonely will anyone speak to me” thread.

Cybersectarianism is a new organizational form which involves: “highly dispersed small groups of practitioners that may remain largely anonymous within the larger social context and operate in relative secrecy, while still linked remotely to a larger network of believers who share a set of practices and texts, and often a common devotion to a particular leader. Overseas supporters provide funding and support; domestic practitioners distribute tracts, participate in acts of resistance, and share information on the internal situation with outsiders. Collectively, members and practitioners of such sects construct viable virtual communities of faith, exchanging personal testimonies and engaging in collective study via email, on-line chat rooms and web-based message boards.”[61]


Politics and political revolutions

The Internet has achieved new relevance as a political tool. The presidential campaign of [65]

The New York Times suggested that social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter helped people organize the political revolutions in Egypt where it helped certain classes of protesters organize protests, communicate grievances, and disseminate information.[66]

The potential of the Internet as a civic tool of communicative power was thoroughly explored by Simon R. B. Berdal in his thesis of 2004:

As the globally evolving Internet provides ever new access points to virtual discourse forums, it also promotes new civic relations and associations within which communicative power may flow and accumulate. Thus, traditionally … national-embedded peripheries get entangled into greater, international peripheries, with stronger combined powers… The Internet, as a consequence, changes the topology of the “centre-periphery” model, by stimulating conventional peripheries to interlink into “super-periphery” structures, which enclose and “besiege” several centres at once.[67]

Berdal, therefore, extends the Public sphere to the Internet, and underlines the inherent global and civic nature that intervowen Internet technologies provide. To limit the growing civic potential of the Internet, Berdal also notes how “self-protective measures” are put in place by those threatened by it:

If we consider China’s attempts to filter “unsuitable material” from the Internet, most of us would agree that this resembles a self-protective measure by the system against the growing civic potentials of the Internet. Nevertheless, both types represent limitations to “peripheral capacities”. Thus, the Chinese government tries to prevent communicative power to build up and unleash (as the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising suggests, the government may find it wise to install “upstream measures”). Even though limited, the Internet is proving to be an empowering tool also to the Chinese periphery: Analysts believe that Internet petitions have influenced policy implementation in favour of the public’s online-articulated will …[67]


The spread of low-cost internet access in developing countries has opened up new possibilities for GlobalGiving allow small-scale donors to direct funds to individual projects of their choice.

A popular twist on internet-based philanthropy is the use of [69]

However, the recent spread of low cost Internet access in developing countries has made genuine international person-to-person philanthropy increasingly feasible. In 2009 the US-based nonprofit Zidisha tapped into this trend to offer the first person-to-person microfinance platform to link lenders and borrowers across international borders without intermediaries. Members can fund loans for as little as a dollar, which the borrowers then use to develop business activities that improve their families’ incomes while repaying loans to the members with interest. Borrowers access the internet via public cybercafes, donated laptops in village schools, and even smart phones, then create their own profile pages through which they share photos and information about themselves and their businesses. As they repay their loans, borrowers continue to share updates and dialogue with lenders via their profile pages. This direct web-based connection allows members themselves to take on many of the communication and recording tasks traditionally performed by local organizations, bypassing geographic barriers and dramatically reducing the cost of microfinance services to the entrepreneurs.[70]


Some governments, such as those of Burma, Iran, North Korea, the Mainland China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates restrict what people in their countries can access on the Internet, especially political and religious content. This is accomplished through software that filters domains and content so that they may not be easily accessed or obtained without elaborate circumvention.[71]

In Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, major Internet service providers have voluntarily, possibly to avoid such an arrangement being turned into law, agreed to restrict access to sites listed by authorities. While this list of forbidden URLs is supposed to contain addresses of only known child pornography sites, the content of the list is secret.[72] Many countries, including the United States, have enacted laws against the possession or distribution of certain material, such as child pornography, via the Internet, but do not mandate filtering software. There are many free and commercially available software programs, called content-control software, with which a user can choose to block offensive websites on individual computers or networks, in order to limit a child’s access to pornographic materials or depiction of violence.

See also


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  60. ^ Carole Hughes, Boston College. “The Relationship Between Internet Use and Loneliness Among College Students”. Boston College. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  61. ^ Patricia M. Thornton, “The New Cybersects: Resistance and Repression in the Reform era. “ In Elizabeth Perry and Mark Selden, eds., Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance (second edition) (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 149–50.
  62. ^ “Net abuse hits small city firms”. The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 11 September 2003. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  63. ^ The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr, W. W. Norton, 7 June 2010, 276 pp., ISBN 0-393-07222-3, ISBN 978-0-393-07222-8
  64. ^ “The Arab Uprising’s Cascading Effects”. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  65. ^ The Role of the Internet in Democratic Transition: Case Study of the Arab Spring, Davit Chokoshvili, Master’s Thesis, June 2011
  66. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (9 February 2011). “Wired and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt”. The New York Times.
  67. ^
  68. ^ Kiva Is Not Quite What It Seems, by David Roodman, Center for Global Development, 2 October 2009, as accessed 2 & 16 January 2010
  69. ^ Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes, by Stephanie Strom, in The New York Times, 8 November 2009, as accessed 2 & 16 January 2010
  70. ^ “Zidisha Set to “Expand” in Peer-to-Peer Microfinance”, Microfinance Focus, Feb 2010
  71. ^ Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace, Ronald J. Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and Jonathan Zittrain (eds), MIT Press, April 2010, ISBN 0-262-51435-4, ISBN 978-0-262-51435-4
  72. ^ “Finland censors anti-censorship site”. The Register. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2008.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Internet, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

2 thoughts on “Internet

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