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Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online
Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online

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3 Why we need standards on the internet

A photograph of a complicated road layout, from above.
Figure 8

As you’ve learned, when you send data over the internet it is sent across several hierarchies of networks, using different technologies from many different providers and operated by different organisations.

These networks must use a standard form of communication so information from one network can be passed across to another network.

To some extent, the way any one of these separate networks works internally is nobody’s business but the owner and users of that network. However, where a network joins to other networks, where it becomes part of the internet, it has to conform to the standards of the internet.

The internet is not owned by a single organisation, so there is no one authority that dictates how it works. Yet all the different people and organisations with their own networks that together make up the internet have to work to common standards, or data would be unable to move between the different networks.

In the next section you’ll find out about the TCP/IP protocols.