gipi logo

G L O B A L       I N T E R N E T       P O L I C Y       I N I T I A T I V E

A Joint Project of the Center for Democracy & Technology & Internews
For more up to date information, please visit the CDT website.

About GIPI Best Practices Policy Principles Funding Staff & Offices News

i s s u e   a r e a s


How the Internet Works


The Internet is a global network of networks, connecting various types of computers and devices through a set of common protocols. This page links to sites describing the development of the Internet generally and the World Wide Web in particular:

ISOC - A More or Less Official History of the Internet

The Internet Society (ISOC) addresses issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organizational home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). ISOC maintains a much cited history page at: which includes "A Brief History of the Internet" at:

Two of the "creators" of the Internet, Robert E. Kahn and Vinton G. Cerf, have written a report "What Is The Internet (And What Makes It Work)" Dec. 1999

Introduction to Internet Architecture and Institutions, by Ethan Zuckerman & Andrew McLaughlin (August 2003)

This extremely useful resource provides an introduction to the technical and organizational structure of the Internet, using simple examples. Discusses the challenges to achieving wider Internet connectivity in the developing world. Introduces a wide range of approaches to the problem of expanding connectivity, focusing on one particular approach that will change the connectivity landscape - that of fostering Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) to reduce costs and improve quality of service.


The World Wide Web Consortium was created in October 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the evolution and ensure the interoperability of the World Wide Web. W3C provides a "Little History of the World Wide Web from 1945 to 1995"

Beginner's Guides to the Internet

Yahoo (a popular Internet portal -- a site used primarily for locating and linking to other sites) maintains a list of "beginner's guides" to the Internet.

Other good beginner's guides include:

Beginners Central - an online tutorial, offering step-by-step instruction to new Internet users: maintains an "Internet For Beginners" page:


For similar information in French try going to: This site, although cumbersome, contains good descriptions of the relevant information.

A more comprehensive site in French on the history and operations of the Internet, prepared by Wanadoo and France Telecom, can be found at:

Information and Communication Technologies

List of links to various statistical reports on ICT penetration around the world:

Guide to Administrative Procedures of the Internet Infrastructure

[ftp] This document is intended for system engineers and technical managers of networks who want to make a connection to the Internet, but it has much that might be of interest to lawyers or those involved in policy issues. It assumes a basic knowledge of the Internet and networking. This information is intended to help new or expanding networks understand and follow the Internet administrative procedures, and to provide assistance in filling out the various templates and registration forms.

Technical Information About / Copyright © 2001-2005 / Privacy Policy