Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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The Internet
A wide area network ( WAN ) is a network that covers a large geographic area (such as a city,
country, or the world) using a communications channel that combines many types of media such
as telephone lines, cables, and radio waves (Figure 38). The Internet is the world’s largest WAN.
communications
satellite
cellular
connection
main
office
server
telephone
network
Internet
access
provider
Internet
branch
office
branch
office
telecommuting
employee
branch
office
mobile
employee
international
office
Figure 38 An
example of a WAN.
The Internet
The Internet is a worldwide collection of networks that links millions of businesses, government
agencies, educational institutions, and individuals. With an abundance of resources and data acces-
sible via the Internet, more than one billion people around the world use the Internet for a variety
of reasons, including the following (Figure 39):
Communicating with and meeting other people
• Researching and accessing a wealth of information and news
• Shopping for goods and services
• Banking and investing
Participating in online training
• Engaging in entertaining activities, such as planning vacations, playing online games, listening
to music, watching or editing videos, and reading books and magazines
• Sharing information, photos, and videos
Downloading music and videos
• Accessing and interacting with Web applications
An access provider is a business that provides individuals and organizations access to the
Internet free or for a fee. Access providers are categorized as ISPs, online service providers, and
wireless Internet service providers. An ISP ( Internet service provider ) is a regional or national
access provider. A regional ISP usually provides Internet access to a specific geographic area.
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