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The Information Superhighway:
Data Transfer and Networking

Data Transfer

As technology increases and we look to the future, the Information Superhighway makes its way all across the world from high- technological, business corporations to the average, local home. Even now, the power of the internet is available to anyone with a computer and the appropriate software. The question is: How did that data get to your computer screen? Bytes of coding that transfer the information through the internet are transmitted by two basic methods: wires and frequency waves through the air. However, there are variations of the two techniques. The bandwidth of the copper wires controls the capacity and speed at with data travels. Data transfer through copper wires consists of: Microwaves are the other way of transferring coded data throughout the net. Microwaves are high-frequency waves that travel through the air in order to transmit data. They more technologically advanced than the use of copper wires, but are less common in bringing the Information Highway to the average home. This method of transfer is used more commonly among larger corporations and governments. Microwaves can travel directly through the air to each individual host, or are relayed all around the world through satellites.

Information through the internet is an input, coding , data transfer, interpretation, output process. The data, or input, is entered into the central processing unit of a computer by the user. The modular or modem, electronically codes the information into a binary language, consisting of 1ís and 0ís, that can be transferred through wires or frequency waves. The information is transferred and enters the central processing unit of the host where the binary code is interpreted by the demodulator, another modem, and relayed onto the monitor of the host.


As individual hosts, computers, become linked together through cables and microwaves, they begin to form a network used for information exchange. Networks can consist of just a few computers linked together, to hundreds of computers linked through a main frame system. These individual networks are all linked through separate hosts on each network. All the networks joined together through hosts and mainframe systems to make up the internet.

The internet began in 1969 as a government operation called the Advanced Research Project Agency, the ARPAnet, for the Department of Defense. In 1986 the National Science Foundation developed their own network of computers. The two networks were then linked together to form the backbone of the internet. Such networks as the CA-net, the Canadian network, were then incorporated into the beginning networks to create the internet, a network of networks. By 1994, 3 million hosts were connected through networking, 2 million hosts located in the United States, hence the Information Superhighway. With today's technology, the internet is rapidly increasing at a 15% grow rate per month, making the internet the fastest growing information service today.

Networks take on different configurations, depending on how larger or how small a particular network is. the four basic network configurations are: