[thelist] What goes on under the hood of the Internet?

Anthony Baratta Anthony at Baratta.com
Thu Sep 7 13:34:11 CDT 2000


Here's how I explain it to my non-technical friends.

When you connect to the ISP - you become a part of the internet. The ISP is only the
'doorway'. Your IP address lets you basically communicate directly to any other
machine on the Internet.

When you want to talk to www.evolt.org - your computer does a "shout-out" for
www.evolt.org to your local Domain Name Server. This shout-out comes back as an IP
address. Then your machine sends a "Where are you?" message to the IP Address you
just got from the Domain Name Server. If there is a response from your target IP
Address, you then begin a communication.  

This process is repeated each time you want to talk to an other machine on the
Internet. (That's why they call it a "state-less" environment, you have to setup and
tear down your connection to another machine each time you talk to it.)

If you drop your connection, any un-completed communications "time-out" after a while
and just stop over time when you fail to respond.

Hope that helps.

Anthony Baratta
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