How Computers Communicate Over the Internet

As the name implies, a computer is an electronic machine that computes or calculates complex arithmetic instructions with full accuracy and can receive, store, process, and retrieve data inputted into it. The word computer could be traced back to as far as 1613, when the word was used to describe an individual who looks after computations and calculations. The word was continuously used in that function until it evolved into what we know presently as the computer.

Computer technology went through many changes in the last fifty years, and its usage has been modified over the years as it is now used as a medium of communication through the internet.

So how does a computer communicate over the internet? For a computer to communicate over the Internet, the following hardware equipment is needed:

  • Network Interface Card (NIC). The NIC is a device that makes it possible for the computer to connect to a network. The NIC has a ROM chip, which possesses a unique number called a MAC address burned into it.
  • Broadband Modem. The modem is a device that most broadband internet service providers include in their quick install kit when a subscriber requests service. This device is responsible for transmitting data requests from the computer to the server.
  • Hub. The Hub is a device that transmits data from port to port through a connected Ethernet cable. This device also helps distribute internet traffic within a network.
  • Router. The Router is the device responsible to transmit packets of data between the computer and the server. This device, like the hub, helps distribute internet traffic; but unlike hubs, routers can manage the traffic within a network.

So, for a computer to communicate over the internet, the user has to log into their computer and internet account. When you are connected to the internet, you open an internet browser - an application you use to retrieve, present and transmit data over the internet.

On the browser’s address bar, the user enters the URL address to request a page they want to view. This information will pass through the Domain Name System (DNS) server and transform the human-readable address you have entered into a numerical address, which is the language used by computers. When the DNS server locates the numerical address requested, it sends a request to the targeted server. When the targeted server receives the request, it responds either by displaying the requested webpage or by returning an error message to the user. This process is repeated each time you request another webpage address.

Computers are very useful, whether it is for work, school or home, and the development of this technology has surely made it possible to communicate faster, easier and more affordably.


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