I attempt to provide a more relevant overview of how the computers are interconnected with each other across the globe and how you get information in a split second which, in reality, is thousands of miles away from you.

Direct YouTube Link for English Version • https://youtu.be/IrXxUO7B1i4

Now in Hindi (हिंदी) too!

Direct YouTube Link for हिंदी Version • https://youtu.be/N-ec3kWhtjI

Video Transcript

When you open a website, in your phone’s browser, it opens almost instantaneously. Have you ever wondered how? Let’s find out!

Today I will talk about Internet. Internet means International…Network. A network of computers, that is beyond your country’s borders.

Imagine that you’re in India and you have a a smartphone with 4G connectivity, and you are trying to access Amazon.com website. Remember, that Amazon.com is a US website, and not in India. In your phone, as soon as you enter Amazon.com, the first thing your phone does is to try and connect to your Telecom Service Provider’s Tower. A service provider in India could be Airtel or Vodafone, or in US, it could be AT&T.

Cellphone Towers look something like this. You can see a few examples of cellphone towers. And when in residential areas, then cellphone towers are on top of buildings. As you can see here. All these cellphone towers are connected via Fiber Optic cables to a Network Operation Center, or Point of Presence.

Let me show you how Fiber Optic cables look like. This is one example and this is another. And if you’ve observed anytime, the fiber cables are laid underground. Something like this and this.

Let’s get to the Network Operations Center. This one is a little fancy. And this one is more realistic. To this Network Operations Center, multiple cellphone towers from different areas are connected. And every region’s network operations center eventually connects to an Internet Backbone. This Internet backbone also belongs to either your Internet Service Provider or your Telecom Service Provider.

Since you are trying to establish International Connectivity, this Internet backbone connects to a Cable Landing Station. The cable landing stations are in coastal areas, so that they have close proximity to the sea. For instance, if we search for cable landing stations, this one is in India. We can also see the submarine network & connectivity of India.

If you notice, only a few ISPs have license to provide international connectivity from India. Tata is one good example. Then we have Airtel, Global Cloud Exchange, Reliance Jio, BSNL, etc. If you see internationally, in North America’s East coast, which is the eastern side of USA, you can see multiple cable landing stations. If I select Miami’s station, it looks something like this. And it provides connectivity to Latin America and the Caribbean markets.

What you see here is the World Map. And these green lines denote the fiber optic cables that are undersea fiber optic cables. These are at the base of the sea or ocean. And these connect all countries with each other.

India’s connectivity to the USA can go westward, or if there is a cable fault such as the cables are damaged, then India can go eastward via Singapore to connect with USA. These undersea, or submarine cables look something like this. You can see one here. It is at the base of the ocean. This is another. And one more.

And to lay these cables, there are specialised ships. These ships are designed to lay and maintain these cables. This world is interconnected via the ocean through miles and miles of submarine cables. You can see the map here.

Coming back, the request that you sent to Amazon.com, transited through undersea cables and reached the cable landing station of the USA. That station is connected with the Internet backbone. And the Internet backbone is connected to Amazon’s USA Data Center.

Data Center is a place to keep Servers. Servers are nothing but a type of computer, that are comparatively better than the ones we use at home. The data centers provide 24x7 power, connectivity, physical security, cooling, etc. I’ll show how a data center looks like. You can see here. These are called Racks. The servers are put in sequence and are interconnected. And the servers themselves look like this. There are Tower Servers or Rack Servers. This one is a Rack Server, and other is a Tower Server. The advantage of these is that they are more reliable than our laptops or desktops.

So the request that you had given to Amazon.com, that request got to Amazon.com’s Data Center. It had a server which had the relevant information. That server could fulfill the request made to Amazon.com. That server responded, and that response, through Amazon’s data center, went to the Internet Backbone.

From there, it reached the Cable Landing Station. And, through undersea cables, yes - that extensive fiberoptic submarine network, it reached from USA to India, till India’s cable landing station, and from there to the Internet backbone, and from the backbone to the telecom provider’s or the Internet service provider’s network operations center. And from there to the cellphone tower, and then finally to your phone!

And all this activity took a mere second or two.

The distance between USA & India is 8500 miles, that is roughly 14000 kilometers, in a Straight Line. It is remarkable that despite having so many connections and distance, your Internet generally works reliably. If this is not marvellous, then what is?

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