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Chapter 49. Internet Basics > How Does Information Travel on the Internet?

How Does Information Travel on the Internet?

Information sent over the Internet can travel directly from your ISP to that of the person you're communicating with, but often it travels an indirect route. In fact, messages are sometimes broken apart into smaller pieces or packets. Each packet may travel a different route to its destination. Then all the packets are reassembled into the single message. This is called packet switching, and you'll sometimes hear real geeks refer to the Internet as a “packet-switched network.”

The Internet can handle all types of digital data including text, numbers, programs, illustrations, photographs, audio, animation, and video. Anything you can view on a computer screen or hear through computer speakers can be transmitted over the Internet. But it's not (yet!) possible to transport objects or people.


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