41 months ago
I'm a networking noob, and I've never understood how the internet worked. How do modems, routers, switches, etc. work and what do they do,?
Let Stanford University help you
Thats a freaking awesome link.. (and well old looking at it)
Here are the things that you will probably need to know to better understand contemporary residential Internet service:
Oftentimes, when you sign up for service from an ISP, the modem they give you is actually a modem, router, switch, and WAP all-in-one. Wireless networking is very convenient, but it has limited range, and is subject to radio noise (not to mention all your neighbors trying to send data over the same frequencies). Wired networking is very reliable and fast, but you need to string Ethernet cables to each device.
The topology of your home network will probably take the following form:
routers send the data (which is in packets) to the next router or server down the line, modems are like routers but thay are at the your end, servers deal with the addressing of packets and processing data (and spying on you in the case of the US gov and NSA)
the way the info goes is: your modem>the ISP's server>second tier ISP's server>possibly a third tier ISP depending on where you trying to send data to>back down to a second tier ISP>back to a first tier ISP>the server, (routers not show because theres to many of them to show)
theres 3 tiers of ISPs, your ISP, your ISP's ISP and your ISP's ISP's ISP, but a lot more then 3 ISPs, you could say theres local ISPs, national ISPs and international ISPs, thats a short version of how the internet works.
disclaimer: i don't have any degrees in networking so i likely missed about 70% or more of how the internet works
Router: basically a short-range radio transmitter. Router connects to cable modem, modem to cable lines, cable lines to servers.
It can get pretty complicated.
Actually the thing you are calling a "router" is a Router/network switch/wireless access point rolled into one, and a lot of the time the cable modem is rolled in there too.