Day 3 Reflection

The Internet is finally complete! Where the Wizards Stay Up Late was a fascinating read for me as I finally understood how the Internet was created. I feel that the Internet is taken for granted, as we are constantly complaining about poor connection, and having to download the new adobe flash plug-in to view this video. After reading this book, I have a newfound respect for the Internet. What started as just an idea from a view ambitious computer scientists, grew to be arguably the most important tool humans have at their disposal today.

Additionally, I was quite amazed (and confused) by the IP address discussion we had, and our classes attempt to find the IP address for our website. I had never heard of a name server, but the fact that our computer has to go through many name servers to find the IP address of a website is ridiculous if you think about it. When I type in any website, it is only a matter of seconds (even milliseconds) before my web page is loaded. The computer’s protocol to find the IP address of the site sounds like it would take at least some time happens almost instantly, which is remarkable in my opinion. There is so much going on under the hood of the computer that the average user really has no idea is going on. Discussing these issues gives me so much more appreciation for these incredible machines.

I still have a couple of questions regarding what was discussed in class:

Does each website have it’s own host machine? What about it you make a site through GoDaddy or a similar platform?

How does WiFi work in relation to the network technology we have discussed?

What exactly is an end-to-end argument explained simply? Why are they so revolutionary?

Now that I understand what the Internet is and its foundation, I can’t help but think of its importance now and in the future.The future of the Internet is something that I cannot even grasp. To put it in to perspective, just 40 years ago, e-mail barely existed, there was no thing as google, WiFi was not created, computers were still bigger than humans, and even ethernet was barely even a thought. I can’t even begin to imagine what the Internet will be like 40 years from now. Is there room for improvement? Is there even more we can do, or have we reached a relative peak? I know Internet speeds can keep improving, but to what point? I know we can create more complex networks, but to what point? Will be there be a point at which our development of the Internet reaches a plateau, or will humanity continue to outdo itself and continue to grow and develop the Internet.

Overall, these weeks have made me curious and excited for what the future of the Internet has to hold. Seeing the Internet develop so quickly makes me believe that in the next decade we will be seeing a huge development somewhere in the world of computing.

I hope you enjoyed Hollenberg’s thoughts (more like Hollenberg’s questions and curiosity). More to come next week!

1 Comment »

  1. Mike Smith

    September 25, 2016 @ 2:13 pm

    1

    Good questions. I’m not an expert, but here are a few answers and some pointers to help you discover answers to the rest of the questions.

    Does each website have it’s own host machine? What about it you make a site through GoDaddy or a similar platform?

    Each website has one host machine, but a machine may host numerous websites. GoDaddy is both an ICANN-accredited, Internet-domain registrar and a website hosting company. You can buy your Internet domain (e.g., mikeswebplace.com) from them and then set up your own machine to host the website, or you can buy the domain and let them host the site. There are other registrars you can use to buy the same domain name (e.g., register.com) and other companies that just host your website.

    You might also read about URL redirection. This allows, for example, a host machine to respond to a request for http://www.mikeswebplace.com and http://www.natscoolsite.org. This way your friends don’t have to type http://www.godaddy.com/natscoolsite. Make general sense?

    How does WiFi work in relation to the network technology we have discussed?

    Let’s start with something concrete. The MacBook Pro on which I’m typing contains an 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking hardware that is IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible. 802.11 is a networking standard and the letters after “802.11” are different versions of that standard. This standard implements the bottom two layers of the OSI model (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model). When we talked about TCP/IP in class, we were taking about layers 3 and 4 of the OSI model — TCP is layer 4 and IP is layer 3. So, you can think TCP/IP when I ask my computer to send a message to the website hosting your blog, and my machine will take the IP packets it creates and hand them off to the wireless networking system in my computer for sending them wirelessly over the WiFi network in my home. The WifI router connected to my cable modem will capture the data frames sent by my MacBook Pro and resend them out over an Ethernet cable (using Ethernet’s implementation of OSI layers 1 and 2) to my cable modem. The cable modem will use a different set of protocols for layers 1 and 2 to talk to the other end of cable company’s networking system, which will eventually send my IP packets out over some path through the Internet to the machine that is hosting your blog. As you can see, along the way from my MacBook to the machine hosting your blog, we use lots of different layer 1 and 2 implementations to pass the same IP packets. This is like a host on ALOHANET talking to a host on ARPANET in the picture we drew on the board. I hope this helps.

    I suggest you bring the end-to-end paper by my office and we can talk through it. It’s easier than trying to type an answer.

    On improvements to the Internet, one big improvement would be security. If you’ve been reading the NYT this week, you might have seen this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/29/technology/personaltech/what-parts-of-your-information-have-been-exposed-to-hackers-quiz.html?_r=0

    The article answers the question “Why does this keep happening” by saying: “The internet was built for openness and speed, not for security. As more and more services, infrastructure and personal information move online, they have all become targets for hackers, who constantly scan the internet for potential security holes and entry points.” This is one obvious thing that needs to be made better about the Internet. What else? Who knows. People are creative!

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