The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the set of Internet protocols to link devices around the world. It is a network of networks consisting of private, public, academic, business and governmental networks of local to global reach, joined by a wide range of optical, wireless and electronic network technologies.
The Internet has a wide range of resources and information services, such as interlaced hypertext documents and World Wide Web applications, email, telephony and file sharing.
The origins of the Internet go back to the research commissioned by the federal government of the United States in the 1960s to build a robust and fault tolerant communication with computer networks.
The primary precursor network, ARPANET, initially served as a backbone for the interconnection of regional academic and military networks in the 1980s. The funding of the National Science Foundation Network as a new backbone in the 1980s, as well as private financing for other commercial extensions, led to global participation in the development of new network technologies and the merging of many networks.
The linking of commercial networks and companies in the early 1990s marks the beginning of the transition to the modern Internet and generated a sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional, personal and mobile computers connected to the network.
Although the Internet was widely used by the academic world since the 1980s, marketing incorporated its services and technologies into virtually all aspects of modern life.
Most traditional media, including telephony, radio, television, paper mail and newspapers, are redefined or even overlooked on the Internet, resulting in new services such as email, Internet telephony, Internet television, music online, digital newspapers and video streaming websites.
Newspapers, books and other printed publications are adapting to the technology of the website, or are being remodeled into blogs, web sources and online news aggregators. The Internet has allowed and accelerated new forms of personal interaction through instant messaging, Internet forums and social networks.
Online purchases have grown exponentially for both major retailers and small businesses and entrepreneurs, as they allow companies to expand their “brick and mortar” presence to serve a larger market or even sell goods and services entirely online. Inter-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains throughout the industry.
The Internet does not have a centralized government neither in the technological implementation nor in the access and use policies; each constituent network establishes its own policies. Only the overreach definitions of the two major namespaces on the Internet, the Internet protocol address space and the Domain Name System are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
The technical support and standardization of the central protocols is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force, a non-profit organization of weakly affiliated international participants with whom anyone can associate with their technical expertise.