How our internet works and what are we charged for? Who gets the money? (Submarine cables)
Before we start how our internet works, we will first see the Google definition of the internet. "Internet is a global computer network, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols." Basically, the internet is similar to ethernet, which connects two computers. Here the basic difference is the internet is used to connect different servers located in different countries using submarine cables.
How are different servers connected? Submarine Cables, satellite, or alien technology?
The answer to this question is cables or fibre optic cables. It's not satellites or any other technology, but just cables. These cables are spread across the globe between countries. All the cables are laid underwater on the seabed, passed through the ocean to different countries. To understand this you must visit the site submarine cable map to understand the world map of submarine cables and different servers.
How does this system work?
Initially, there are Tier-1, tier-2, and so on companies. Tier-1 is the one who lay the foundation stone, I mean the submarine cables. So the bayofbengalgateway, europeindiagateway are some of the examples. You can explore more on submarine cable map. Mostly, Tier-2 companies set up their network in the respective country, again by laying fibre optic cables on land, setting up towers and software. Tier-3 companies purchase from Tier-2 companies and further expand the network. Much bigger gainers are Tier-2 companies and mostly Tier-3 companies are small or medium scale companies. All our bigger players like Vodafone, Jio, Airtel are Tier-2 companies. Some are even part of Tier-1 companies.
What are the servers?
Servers are nothing but computers who take requests, handle data, process it, store it and access it. To understand what is a server, refer to this video on YouTube - What is a server. Every server has its own IP address, its like our postal address. Even our computers and other devices have their own IP addresses. When we search for a term like Google.com then this goes from your device to Internet service provider (ISP) to the local server. From the local server, it goes to the main server within your search country, further from your country server it is transferred through submarine cables to Google server located in the USA. From there the information is processed and returned to your device. Here the information is travelling a lot, so some companies have their servers within the country to save loading time and for security reason. Another example is Flipkart, which has its servers inside Indian territory, so when you search something on Flipkart, your data travels short distances within Indian servers and is given back to you as a search result. These are basic examples with simple explanation, transferring data involves more crucial stages. Due to data breach and other security issues Government of India has asked major players to store consumer data within Indian territory servers.
This is the most simple explanation of data travelling, more complex things happen in the background.
Now the most asked question, what about the cost we pay for internet?
Firstly, we do not pay for using the internet, we pay for getting the service. Nor do we pay to google or other services, its free. So the most common misconception of the internet packs that we pay to google from the internet pack is busted. We pay for the maintenance of cables, servers, software, as the underwater submarine cables always need maintenance. They are always targetted by sharks and all other marine sea life, though the average life of the submarine cable is 25 years. Hence, to avoid breakdown, extra cables are generally laid down to help the continuous movement of internet traffic. You might have heard from news channels, during US-Russia conflict, there was news about submarine cables being the most important target. So these were the cables. If the submarine cables were destroyed, the internet connectivity would be hampered causing huge losses to the nation and dependent nations. So, utmost care is taken to maintain these submarine cables, so the entire world works without any hiccups.
What about the speed of submarine cables?
These are fibre optic cables, remember Jio announced the fibre optic cable plan and its ambitious mission. So fibre optic cables can provide from 10-100 Gbps speed. But upon further distribution from Tier-1 to Tier-2 companies, this gets divided further. Again the actual speed depends on the average users on the single tower. More the users, more the distribution of speed, eventually lesser the speed.
You can see the server data on Nixi (National Internet Exchange of India).
Below is the video from www.globalcloudxchange.com, have a look.
By reading this article, you might have understood how the internet works, what are servers and how do we use the internet. Also, you might have understood why the sea is more important to nations than land in today's world.
Do share this article. If you have any further knowledge, please do comment below.