How the Internet works: Submarine fibre, brains in jars, and coaxial cables – Ars Technica

Ah, there you are. That didn’t take too long, surely? Just a click or a tap and, if you’ve some 21st century connectivity, you landed on this page in a trice.

But how does it work? Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP, or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet.

And perhaps even more importantly, as our reliance on omnipresent connectivity continues to blossom, the number of our connected devices swells, and our thirst for bandwidth knows no bounds, how do we keep the Internet running? How do Verizon or Virgin reliably get 100 million bytes of data to your house every second, all day every day?

Well, we’re going to tell you over the next 7,000 words.

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