To understand networking, let’s first ask…
What is a network?
A network is simply collection of devices (e.g. — computers, printers, cell phones, TVs) that can communicate with one another.
For these devices to communicate and share information, they need to be connected with each other through cables and/or wifi.
The sender and receiver need to speak the same language. They need to agree on how to handle the information being transmitted.
This is called a protocol. A protocol is the set of instructions that defines how to handle the information being transmitted.
Networking is simply how those devices are connected with one another.
How does information get from one device to another over the internet?
For our purposes, let’s use two computers connecting to one another.
Computer A ←→ Computer B
The information on Computer 1 needs to be broken down into bite sized pieces before it can be shipped over a network.
The information on Computer A needs to be broken down into bite sized pieces before it can be shipped over a network.
Not just bite sized pieces. But literal bits.
You’ve likely heard it said that everything on computers and the internet can be broken down to zeros and ones. But what does this mean?
Those zeros and ones are really just representations of voltage being on or off. When the voltage is on, it represents a 1. When it’s off, it represents a 0.
A bit is either a 0 or 1 (known as a binary digit). A bit is the smallest increment of data on a computer. A computer uses voltage to indicate a 0 or 1.
Because bits are so small, they have to be put together into bigger chunks, called bytes.
A byte is a group of eight bits. Like this: