The Deranged Spider

 We tend to think of the Internet as a network similar to the phone system. That is a hub and spoke arrangement in which we send information from our location to a central command center where it is routed or switched to the intended recipient. The intelligence needed to connect the call is located at the central switch and once the connection is established there is an unbroken link from sender to receiver.

The Internet does not work that way at all. It is more like a tangled web of connections; if the web was created by a deranged spider. There is no symmetry and there is no stable structure. Connections change constantly as data is routed around the system. A map of Internet data movement created this instant would look quite different from a map made an hour from now. When data is transferred it does not pass through a continuous connection all at once like a phone call. The data is broken up into “packets” that are routed separately and travel completely different routes to get to the final address.

The intelligence needed to route an Internet communication is not located at a hub but is at the periphery where the message originates.

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