Tubes Reflection #2

The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet take us further into how the internet was developed over the course of the last 60 plus years. Finding where the internet began was one thing, but finding how it came together for all of us to be connected to it was a whole new ball game. This man had to go to the top geeks of the early 21st century to find out how the internet became so widely accessible to all so rapidly. In Palo Alto, he met with men that were there at the heart of the internet’s connectivity. They explained that over the last couple of decades, the internet itself has become the way it is through a couple of warehouses that housed information exchange units that provide the connections we see in the present day web. The Palo Alto Information exchange was the first physical place with wires and huge boxes that has made the internet accessible to all around the world through the process of sending and receiving information through the cable and wireless systems we have in place.

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Furthermore, how he describes the housing of the entire internet is just as fascinating. How can a physical box such as the router we have in our homes be the key to accessing the web instantly at any point in time? Even more fascinating is how one website such as Facebook can give us access to the internet as a whole just by the content that people post. This ranges from the places where people have visited from check ins to the people that users tag into post that have interacted with these users both online and in person. To me, the most mind blowing thing that I have found in this book so far is how the lights in the routers act as guides to the internet itself. In the fifth chapter, he talks with a technician that explains to him how these boxes and lights work. The parts of the router include receivers that send and receive electronic signals to and from the router throughout the home or business. The mind blowing part deals with the lights in the box that send and receive such signals in the forms of access points billions of times per second. I don’t recall the exact number of nano seconds these boxes give and receive signals, but it is still fascinating nevertheless. Average people like myself don’t think about how such lights inside a little box can give such enormous visible and yet invisible access to the internet from anywhere that such access points exist. These lights as he refers to them are indeed the beacons that let us human users know that the internet is accessible and that it exists.

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