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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 1999  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 41-47
Internet-an introduction


C-5/6, Utkarsha, Tilak Nagar, SVP Road, Mumbai-400004, India

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Keywords: Internet

How to cite this article:
Shah H. Internet-an introduction. Indian J Radiol Imaging 1999;9:41-7

How to cite this URL:
Shah H. Internet-an introduction. Indian J Radiol Imaging [serial online] 1999 [cited 2019 Jul 22];9:41-7. Available from: http://www.ijri.org/text.asp?1999/9/2/41/28331
The Internet is nothing but a network or group of computers connected together which enables free exchange of information.


   1. History: Top


In the year 1969, the American Defense Department wanted to set up a reliable network, which would withstand any enemy attack. If a certain section of the network were disrupted there would be an automatic rerouting to a viable link. This led to the birth of what was known as the ARPANET ( ARPA standing for A dvanced R esearch P rojects A dministration). It's success led to the signing up of multiple universities and hence the logistics of managing a huge network. Subsequently it was split into the MILNET (for military use) and a new ARPANET (nonmilitary use). However the two were interconnected by what was known as the IP or Internet Protocol (As a result the term Internet was coined). IP allowed any computer to communicate freely with another.


   2.Subsequent developments and the current scenario: Top


With multiple workstations joining in, the ARPANET was swamped with the traffic load. The NSF (National Science Foundation) set up the NSFNET . A group of regional networks were set up, which in turn were interconnected via the NSFNET. With a perceptible shift in traffic to the NSFNET, the ARPANET closed down in 1990. By 1994 commercial Internet networks had proliferated and the NSFNET was shut down. The commercial Internet providers allowed traffic not related to education or research. Today most of the countries have an IP network or are connected to the Internet.

More information on history of the Internet may be found at: http://www.elsop.com/wrc/h_web.htm


   Connecting to the Internet: Top


To log on, one would need the following:

  • A computer.
  • A modem.
  • An Internet account.
  • Software.


1. A Computer: Any of the current lot (IBM-compatible computers with Windows as the operating system or Macintoshes) will do.

For a primary level access (shell account) , a simple terminal emulation from the PCs is adequate. However, it is limited to text based services only. Graphics are not available.

For a secondary level access (TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) , there are certain minimum requirements. An 80486 or above processor with 8 MB RAM or an Apple Mac with similar processing power is recommended. For the IBM compatible machine, either Windows 3.1 or Windows'95/98 is required. The TCP/IP account has graphics and multimedia capability.

2. A Modem: It is the device that hooks the computer to your telephone connection. One can use an external or an internal modem. An external modem has certain advantages. It is easy to install, has indicator lights which lets one know the status and one can log off from the Internet by switching it off, if the computer hangs. The modems are rated by the speed (kbps or bps) at which it can send data to the phone line. Usual speeds are 28.8 kbps, 33.6 kbps or 56 kbps. Our telephone lines at present can handle 33.6 kbps. However 56 kbps compatible phone lines will be available shortly. Modems are available with fax and voice capabilities. Currently a 33.6 kbps modem with voice from US Robotics costs around Rs. 8,000/-. The one from GVC or LanBit costs around Rs. 3500-4000/-. A 56 kbps from US Robotics costs around Rs. 9500/-.

3. An Internet Account: Since 1995, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) has made the Internet available for commercial use via the Gateway Internet Access Service (GIAS) . At present there is a network of over forty nodes-VSNL or DOT nodes- (Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta, Agra, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Allahabad, Ambala, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Ernakulam, Goa, Guwahati, Gwalior, Haryana, Hubli, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Jammu, Kanpur, Kolhapur, Kollam, Kotayam, Lucknow, Madurai, Madhya Pradesh, Mangalore, Mysore, Nagpur, Nashik, Palakkad, Patna, Pondicherry, Pune, Shimla, Silchar, Surat, Trichy, Trivandarum, Vijaywada) through which access can be obtained. Recently, permission has been granted to Private Internet Service Providers or ISPs . Satyam Computers is the first one to have entered the market so far. MTNL also plans to launch Internet services in the near future. At present it would be more prudent to stay with VSNL.

VSNL offers the following:

a. Shell accounts - 5 00 hours for 1 year at a tariff of Rs. 5000/-. This service is limited to text based services only. Special rates are available for students.

b. TCP/IP Accounts - The TCP/IP account has graphics and multimedia capability. 100 hours for 1 year at a tariff of Rs. 3000/-, 250 hours for 1 year at a tariff of Rs. 6500/-, 500 hours for 1 year at a tariff of Rs. 10,000/-. Incremental Subscription is available in slabs of 20 hours @ Rs.30 per hour.

There is a one-time registration fee of Rs. 500/-.

All account holders are provided with an E-mail address (e.g. yourname@bom2.vsnl.net.in or yourname@vsnl.com - recent addition).

Further details may be obtained at: http://internet.vsnl.net.in/services/

4. Software: VSNL does not provide any software. Windows 95/98 has an "Internet Setup Wizard" which lets you configure your connection for your TCP/IP account. VSNL provides a comprehensive manual to do the same. The most commonly used browser is Internet Explorer (IE) and Netscape Communicator. Both of these are available as free downloads from and respectively. IE is available with Windows 95/98. E-mail programs freely available are Outlook Express from Microsoft, Netscape Messenger and Eudora Light (free download at ). We shall deal with these in more detail in subsequent articles.

More information on the Internet can be accessed at the VSNL online guide -


   Commonly used Internet related terms Top


  • Address :

    Addresses may be in the form of numbers e.g. 202.54.1.1 or words e.g. bom2.vsnl.net.in
  • Attachment:

    A file that has been appended to E-mail and sent.
  • ASCII:

    American Standard Code for Information Interchange - Standard for code numbers used by computers to represent all Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc.
  • BBS:

    Bulletin Board System - An electronic message system where one can read and post messages by dialing up.
  • BCC:

    Blind Carbon Copy - Addressees receive a copy of E-mail without other recipients knowing about it.
  • Bit:

    Binary DigIT - Smallest unit of computer data. Either 0 or 1 and are used in various combinations.
  • Bits per second:

    bps - Rate at which data is transferred, e.g. via a modem.
  • Bounce:

    When E-mail cannot be delivered it is sent back to the person who has sent it.
  • Browser:

    Software or client program used to look at Internet resources.
  • Byte:

    8 bits = 1 byte. Used to measure computer memory.
  • CC:

    Carbon Copy - Addressees receive a copy of E-mail and other recipients know about it via their message header.
  • Channel:

    a. A group of peoples chatting in Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

    b. A major interest area one can get to (like a TV channel).
  • Chanop:

    Person in charge of keeping order in IRC.
  • Chat:

    To talk viz. type live to other network users via IRC.
  • Client:

    It is the computer that uses the services of another computer.
  • .com:

    Usually appear at the end of an address, e.g. xyz.com or yourname@xyz.com. Indicates that a company rather than a university or government department runs the host computer.
  • Communications Software:

    A program on your PC that enables you to call and communicate with other computers. Your PC simulates a terminal (hence also called terminal programs or terminal emulators).
  • Cookie:

    A piece of information stored on your PC by a Website you have visited. It reminds the site about you on your next visit.
  • Cyberspace:

    Used to describe the whole gamut of information resources available through computer networks.
  • Dial-up:

    To connect to a computer via the telephone. Often refers to the type of connection made using a terminal emulator and modem.
  • Domain:

    It is the unique name that identifies an Internet site. It has two components. The left is specific whereas the one on the right is more general, e.g. xyz.com or xyz.net. You can register at .
  • DNS:

    Domain Name Server or System - A system that translates between computer names and Internet numerical addresses, e.g. bom2.vsnl.net.in and 202.54.1.1.
  • Download:

    Copying of a file to your computer from a remote computer.
  • E-mail:

    Electronic mail - Messages sent by one person to another over the Internet.
  • .edu:

    Usually appears at the end of an address, e.g. xyz.edu or yourname@xyz.edu. Indicates that educational institutes like a college or university run the host computer.
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP):

    a. Method of shifting files from one computer to another on a network.

    b. A program used to transfer files over the Internet.
  • Freeware:

    Programs, which are free. No payment is expected, unlike shareware.
  • Gateway:

    It is a computer that connects two networks using different protocols
  • GIF:

    Graphics Interchange Format - A type of graphic file.
  • Gigabyte:

    1 GB = 1024 MB or 1048576 KB or 1073741824 bytes.
  • .gov:

    Usually appears at the end of an address, e.g. xyz.gov. Indicates that some department of the government (usually US) runs the host computer.
  • Header:

    It is the commencement of an E-mail message containing to and from addresses, subject, date, etc.
  • Host:

    A computer on a network that is a receptacle for services available to other computers on the network.
  • HTML:

    Hypertext Markup Language - It is the language used to create pages for the World Wide Web. It lets the text include code that defines fonts, layout, embedded graphics, hypertext links etc.
  • HTTP:

    Hypertext Transfer Protocol - The method for transferring hypertext files across the Internet.
  • Hypertext:

    It is any text that contains links to other documents. This enables the user to retrieve and display another document. Hypermedia also includes other types of information e.g. images, sound and video.
  • Internet:

    It is a collection of interconnected networks, which allows computers to talk to each other the world over.
  • Internet Phone:

    A program, which enables people to talk to each other via a microphone and speakers over the Internet.
  • InterNIC:

    Internet Network Information Center - It is a repository of information about the Internet. Domain names are registered here.
  • Intranet:

    A private version of the Internet. It allows only people within that organization to exchange information using Internet tools.
  • IP:

    Internet Protocol - It allows information to be routed from one network to another.
  • IP Number:

    A unique number comprising four parts and separated by dots, e.g. 202.54.1.1 for bom2.vsnl.net.in. All computers on the Internet have a unique IP number.
  • IRC:

    Internet Relay Chat - A multi-user live chat (can talk in real time) facility.
  • ISDN:

    Integrated Services Digital Network - A faster digital phone service. Data can be moved at the rate of 128 kbps.
  • ISP:

    Internet Service Provider - An organization that enables you to connect to the Internet. VSNL is an ISP in India.
  • Java:

    Computer language, which can run on any modern computer. Very useful for delivering application programs over the Internet.
  • JPEG:

    Joint Photographic Experts Group - A type of graphic file.
  • Kilobyte:

    1 KB = 1024 bytes.
  • LAN:

    Local Area Network - Network that is limited to the immediate area.
  • Leased Line:

    A permanently connected phone line between two locations. Usually used to connect a network to an ISP.
  • Link:

    A hypertext connection that connects one to another document or to some part within the same document.
  • Login:

    It is either the act of entering into a computer or using the account name to gain access to a computer.
  • Mail Server:

    A computer on the Internet that provides mail services. Sends out mail using SMTP and lets you download mail using POP.
  • Mailing List:

    A special type of E-mail address that re-mails all incoming mail to a list of subscribers to the mailing list.
  • Megabyte:

    1 MB = 1024 KB or 1048576 bytes.
  • MIME:

    Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions - Sends non-text material e.g. images through E-mail.
  • Mirror Sites:

    A web server or FTP that provides copies of the same files. This tends to ease the load on any one server.
  • Modem:

    It is the device that hooks your computer to your telephone connection.
  • .net:

    Usually appears at the end of an address, e.g. xyz.net. Indicates that the company running the host computer provides network services.
  • Network:

    Computers that are connected together.
  • Network Computer:

    This computer does not have a hard disk. Data is collected over a network.
  • Newsgroup:

    A distributed bulletin board system regarding a particular topic.
  • Nickname:

    A name used to identify yourself while chatting.
  • Node:

    Any computer connected to a network.
  • Online:

    It is the successful connection of one computer to another via a network or phone line.
  • .org:

    Usually appears at the end of an address, e.g. xyz.org. Indicates that an organization, (usually non-profit organizations) runs the host computer.
  • Packet:

    A bundle of data sent over the Internet. It contains the address from where it came and where it is going.
  • Page:

    Document available on the Internet.
  • Password:

    A secret code to gain access to a locked system. Mix letters and numbers when choosing one. Do not use a dictionary word or a proper noun or dates like birthdays. Keep the password to yourself.
  • Pine:

    UNIX-based E-mail program.
  • PKZIP:

    A file-compression program. Creates a zip file. To unzip, use PKZIP or WinZip.
  • Plug-in:

    A program to add to the browser to handle a special file.
  • POP:

    a. Post Office Protocol - It is a system by which a mail server on the Internet lets you download your mail to your PC.

    b. Point of Presence - It means a location where a network can be connected to the Internet via local phone numbers.
  • Port Number:

    It is the identifying number assigned to each program that is chatting on the net.
  • PPP:

    Point-to-Point Protocol - A protocol to connect your PC to the Internet over a phone. Is better than SLIP.
  • Protocol:

    It is a system that defines how computers will behave when talking to each other.
  • Search Engines:

    Programs that enable you to search for information, usually using key words or occasionally phrases.
  • Serial Port:

    The place at the back of your computer where you plug in the modem.
  • Server:

    A computer that provides service to other computers (to clients).
  • Shareware:

    Programs that are available for evaluation. If you continue using the program, you are expected to pay the provider.
  • Shell:

    It is software on a UNIX system, which accepts and processes commands from your terminal.
  • Signature:

    A file inserted at the end of an E-mail message.
  • SLIP:

    Serial Line Internet Protocol - A protocol to connect your PC to the Internet over a phone.
  • SMTP:

    Simple Mail Transfer Protocol - Method by which Internet mail is transferred.
  • Spam:

    The posting of inappropriate commercial messages to a large number of uninterested mailing lists.
  • Streaming Audio/Video:

    A system that sends audio/video files over the Internet and which begins playing before the entire file is downloaded. RealAudio is the one most commonly used.
  • Surf:

    To roam around the World Wide Web, browsing for absorbing material.
  • T1:

    A leased-line connection that can transmit data at 1,544,000 bps.
  • T3:

    A leased-line connection that can transmit data at 45,000,000 bps.
  • TCP/IP:

    Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol - It is the protocol that defines the Internet.
  • Telnet:

    A program, which enables you to login to some other computers on the Internet.
  • Terminal:

    In the past it comprised of a screen, a keyboard and a cable connected to the computer. Today you can make the PC run a program that makes it pretend to be a terminal. Program is known as a terminal emulator, terminal program or communications program.
  • Text File:

    Contains only textual characters. Also known as ASCII text files.
  • UNIX:

    It is a computer operating system (OS) which has multi-user capability and an in-built TCP/IP. Widely used OS by servers on the Internet. Developed by AT and T.
  • Upload:

    To transfer files from your PC to another computer.
  • URL:

    Uniform Resource Locator - The standard way of assigning an address of any Internet resource, which is part of the World Wide Web, e.g. http://www.radiologist.com.
  • Viewer:

    Program used by Internet client programs to see files that contain stuff other than text, e.g. images.
  • WAN:

    Wide Area Network - Any network that covers an area larger than a building or campus.
  • Web Page:

    A document obtainable on the World Wide Web.
  • WinZip:

    A file-compression program that runs under Windows. It can read or create a ZIP file.
  • WWW:

    World Wide Web - A hypermedia system that enables you to browse through information. The Web is the central reservoir of information.
  • ZIP File:

    A file, which has been compressed using a program like PKZIP or WinZip.
  • Zone:

    Last part of the Internet host name.

    a. If two letters long, it is the country code, e.g. http://www.vsnl.net.in, where in denotes India.

    b. If three letters long, indicates the type of organization running the host computer, e.g. ending in.com or.edu.


More information on Internet Glossary can be obtained at the following sites:

  • Dr. T's Internet Glossary - http://www.gnofn.org/~tlewis/glossary.htm
  • Glossary for Internet Related Terms (VSNL guide) - http://guide.vsnl.net.in/bookweb/Guide_web/Glossary/glossary.htm
  • Glossary of PC and Internet Terminology - http://homepages.enterprise.net/jenko/Glossary/G.htm
  • Internet Dictionary @ Mr. Bill's World - http://www.oh-no.com/define.html#O
  • Matisses's Glossary of Internet Terms - http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html
  • Netdictionary- http://www.netdictionary.com/
  • SquareOne Technology Internet Glossary - http://www.squareonetech.com/glosaryf.html


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Correspondence Address:
Harsh Shah
C-5/6, Utkarsha, Tilak Nagar, SVP Road, Mumbai-400004
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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