bit 110: ISP's



how Internet Service Providers give users access to the worldwide web

We are living in a society with constant access to the internet, across multiple platforms and devices. Despite what it may seem like, access to the internet is not free. Internet Service Providers, or ISP’s, are the intermediary company which charges a fee in exchange for internet access. I will be breaking down this article by Lifewire, which describes the functions of ISP’s and their networks.

The main function of ISP’s is to provide users with with access to a server to download webpages and files. Common examples include AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, NetZero, and more. Depending on the user’s preferences, they can be wired directly to homes and businesses, or wirelessly via satellite technology. This process works by using DNS servers to translate webpages into IP addresses, which can then be encoded by ISP’s. The specific IP address is sent from your personal router out to a local ISP, which forwards the request to load a certain page onto the ISP of their domain. For example, if I was trying to load, the URL is decoded to an IP address which is transferred from my ISP to Google’s ISP at a rapid pace. The data from Google is then sent back to my router, and shows up on my computer as a functional webpage.

A crucial element of ISP functionality is that the network on each end has a public IP address, which is assigned by the user’s ISP. The concept is the same for downloading files from the internet, as this data can only be transferred through an ISP.

More specific types of ISP’s include hosting services that offer email or online storage, as well as nonprofit ISP’s which provide free internet access, but include advertisements. Each ISP company has their own bandwidth, or speed of data processing, which can be tracked with an internet speed test. Most providers give dynamic IP addresses to customers that are subject to change. However, businesses often subscribe with a static IP address to improve functionality. It is important to note that most ISP connections are wireless, and are connected to a router which communicates with the ISP.

More info on the digital world coming soon…