RFC 1462 (rfc1462) - Page 1 of 11

FYI on "What is the Internet?"

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

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Network Working Group                                          E. Krol
Request for Comments: 1462                      University of Illinois
FYI: 20                                                     E. Hoffman
                                                   Merit Network, Inc.
                                                              May 1993

                     FYI on "What is the Internet?"

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   This FYI RFC answers the question, "What is the Internet?" and is
   produced by the User Services Working Group of the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF). Containing a modified chapter from Ed
   Krol's 1992 book, "The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog," the
   paper covers the Internet's definition, history, administration,
   protocols, financing, and current issues such as growth,
   commercialization, and privatization.


   A commonly asked question is "What is the Internet?" The reason such
   a question gets asked so often is because there's no agreed upon
   answer that neatly sums up the Internet. The Internet can be thought
   about in relation to its common protocols, as a physical collection
   of routers and circuits, as a set of shared resources, or even as an
   attitude about interconnecting and intercommunication. Some common
   definitions given in the past include:

      * a network of networks based on the TCP/IP protocols,
      * a community of people who use and develop those networks,
      * a collection of resources that can be reached from those

   Today's Internet is a global resource connecting millions of users
   that began as an experiment over 20 years ago by the U.S.  Department
   of Defense. While the networks that make up the Internet are based on
   a standard set of protocols (a mutually agreed upon method of
   communication between parties), the Internet also has gateways to
   networks and services that are based on other protocols.

Krol & Hoffman

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