Introduction to Internet: Cable network around my earth

In this moment, a cool slogan is crossing through my mind “Only One Earth, Care and Share“. This was the slogan of the World Environment Day, 1992. Really, this cautionary message reminds us how many things—natural or artificial— we, the human being, are sharing that the earth owns. But we’re hardly caring this vulnerable human habitat.Such a latest man-made thing is INTERNET that we’re sharing everyday like the air, water or sunshine.

But it didn’t exist before 1960s. Man,  for his very necessity, invented internet and wrapped up the whole globe of 40,075 km circumference by CABLE.

Simply this visible cable connecting millions of computers around the earth has created a common network for the World and this is called Internet. But in broader sense, this network is much more than a tangible entity. In this tutorial, our aim is to dive deep into the subject to get intimately acquainted with it and to draw a crystal clear picture  (physical and virtual) of total internet in your mind.

Introduction to Internet focus image

What is Internet

QUESTION: As far as I know, millions of computers around the world are connected with internet. My question is: is that connection made by cable or other way? If the answer is cable; then where is the cable connection with our devices like laptop, smartphones, tablets etc. If not, how are they connected. I’m confused about all these; please clarify.
ANSWER: Let’s think easy way. Suppose you’ve a computer and a laptop at your home. You connected these two devices with cable to share files between them. This is Internet. This is a simplest Network. First, Be assured that there is nothing in the Wide Area Network (Worldwide network) more than this simple structure and logic. In a word, all the computers or the devices throughout the world are interconnected firstly with cables. Really bewildering! isn’t it?

The whole globe (of 40,075 km circumference and 12,742 km diameter) is wrapped up by millions kilometer of Fiber Optic Cable especially through Marine channel being called submarine or underwater cable. This cables are the major infrastructure or Backbone of Internet.

Your smartphone or tablet connected with Internet wirelessly is also connected with a Tower which is also connected with a nearest landing point of this Worldwide Cable Network located under sea beside your country or neighboring country. This is how, the whole internet is mainly infra-structured by cables only. So, logically and theoretically, the nature of a Home Network mentioned above and the Wide Area Network (WAN) are the same.

QUESTION: Really breaking news! If this is the fact; it appears that I didn’t know anything about Internet before.

ANSWER: Yes! This is a simple message and due to ignorance of this, many people find a great barrier to understand Internet and internet-related facts transparently.

Who controls Internet? Who owns Internet?

QUESTION: Where is the Control Center of Internet? Who controls this vast network?

ANSWER: Actually there is neither Control Center nor a  single authority or owner to control the whole Internet. This worldwide network is constantly and rapidly growing. This present infrastructure developed is the outcome of long-tiring efforts by many scientists, technologists, developers and companies since  1960s when ARPANET started to journey.

ARPANET: ARPANET [Advanced Research Projects Agency Network] is the first internet-infrastructure developed by DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] which is an agency of the United States Department of Defense. Invented to meet up the historic necessity during cold war, ARPANET originally connected only four computers in the Universities and Research Center located at different states of the USA. Present Internet-infrastructure is the expanded form of the predecessor ARPANET.

QUESTION: Who developed or expanded this early internet?

ANSWER: Not a single person or authority or government. Many persons, companies and organizations contributed to make this spread up possible around every corner of the world. Each of these persons, companies and organizations is the owner of a part of total internet. Connected to one another, they built up the body of the whole unified single internet-system that is actually owned by nobody.

World of Internet

QUESTION: Can we specifically know which organizations or others built up which portion of this worldwide network?

ANSWER: Those who contribute to people’s access to this vast interconnected network by providing cables and hardware-software infrastructure and other technological support are commonly termed as ISP [Internet Service Provider]. ISPs function  from three layers and thus they’re categorized—

  1. TIER 1 ISP
  2. TIER 2 ISP
  3. TIER 3 ISP

Also known as NSP [Network Service Provider], Tier 1 companies have built up the Internet-Backbone by providing cables from country to country and continent to continent through the deep bottom of Ocean and Sea. At the edge of cable lines in the sea alongside a country lies Landing Points from where regional ISPs (Tier 2) get connected.In fact, NSPs are Basic cables and technological infrastructure providers who owns, operates and sell access to internet-backbone to Tier 3 or second-layer ISPs. All Tier 1 providers around the world are interconnected with peering agreement. NSPs are usually business organizations but there are countries where government is the Tier 1 provider. Some of the globally renowned NSPs are listed below—

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • Qwest
  • Sprint
  • IBM
  • Tata

Every country has Tier 2 ISPs who get connected with Tier 1 companies by purchasing bandwidth on wholesale basis or sometimes by peering agreement. Tier 2 companies, for the very sake of business, tend to bring the whole country or at least the major cities under own network. They works as the mediator between Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies or sell internet-access to businesses and consumers.


Tier 3 ISPs are those who provide internet access to end  users- persons, residential home and businesses. They are called the last mile providers who actually purchase internet transit from Tier 2 and sell them for fee. They don’t have own network and have little control over the system.  Simply speaking, the companies or business organization that provide Broadband connection to your home are Tier 3 provider. This is to remember that there might be reseller working between Tier 3 and end-users to provide network connection.

World of Internet TIER

However, wherever an end-users get network connection from- by cellular data or modem or broadband line or wifi- that connection is ultimately linked with Internet-backbone (Tier 3)
Who controls Internet? Who owns Internet?

What is Internet Exchange Point (IxP)

QUESTION: Where do NSPs (Tier 3) are connected and how?

ANSWER: Not in a single place or center. Where NSPs are connected is called IxP (Internet Exchange Point). Statistics says (2018) there are 237 Internet Exchange Points scattered in 178 different areas around the world. Here is the list of some of them—

  • LINX (London Internet Exchange), London
  • TIE-PHX (Telx Internet Exchange Phoenix), USA
  • OCIX (OpenCarrier Düsseldorf), Germany
  • ACT-IX (ACT Internet Exchange), Australia

You can find a complete list of IxPs here.
An Internet Exchange Point is a physical location and in other word, a data center containing switches that route traffic between different member companies. These locations exist on the edge of different networks allowing network providers share transit outside their own network. This is also called peering point as members share here everything- physical infrastructure, maintenance cost etc. with each other.

QUESTION: Where do I find the location of nearest landing point?

ANSWER: The best way to do it is search the global Submarine Cable Map. Link here. In the map, find your country and find the nearest sea coast alongside your country or neighboring country. Enjoy the location of your Landing points!

QUESTION: It is clear that basically all the devices in this global network are interconnected with cables. But what makes the cables live to transmit data?
ANSWER: Good question but not witty. Let’s go back to our previous example. You connected your PC and Laptop by, say, a five-meter cable and shared files between them. What made your five-meter cable live? Probably you’ve already retrieved the answer. As a matter of fact no action is needed to make the cable live. Cable is live while two devices on the two edges of cable are live whether the length is five meters or five thousand meter. However, it is probable that distance or cable length impact other factors such as data transmission speed etc.

How much is expense of Internet-system?

QUESTION: Then why have we to pay for network-connection? Why isn’t it free of cost?
ANSWER: Though network costs nothing, there are other expenses to keep the system running. Followings are the reasons why the cable providers have to pay huge and it has turned into a lucrative business and reasonably we are to pay.

Probable heads of expenditure are—

  • Cable installment
  • Cable maintenance and repair
  • Cable replacement after expiration.
  • Other physical and virtual infrastructure maintenance.

That’s all about “Introduction to Internet: Cable network around my earth”. Hope you enjoyed and certainly added something to your valuable knowledge of regarding the subject. If so or if you are motivated of any sort by my writing, please feel free to drop a comment in the COMMENT section. Your constructive comment is more valuable to us than you think of.

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