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Overview of how the Internet is organized.
The Internet has its roots in a DARPA (US military research agency) project that aimed at developing a new kind of network that was resilient to outages and able to dynamically establish alternate transmission paths.
The success story of the Internet began with opening the network up to research institutions and universities thus dramatically increasing the number of hosts and users and considerable enlarging the community of contributing researchers.
There is no central control of the Internet. Every country, enterprise or provider can build his own portion of the net and connect to the global Internet through global or regional network providers.
A number of loosely coupled organizations were established to foster and guide the development of the Internet and avoid technology fragmentation.
The most important organizations are IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) which has oversight of the RFC process (definition of new protocols and best practices), ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is responsible for the management of any identifiers and numbers used in protocols to assure uniqueness and finally W3C (World Wide Web Council) that takes care of standardization in HTTP and HTML related technologies.
Standardization of the Internet follows a simple process called RFC (Request For Comment) where organizations and individuals can submit proposals for new protocols etc. The proposals undergo a screening process to clarify any ambiguities and contradictions to established principles and protocols in the Internet.
If two independent implementations of a new protocol proposed by an RFC are available, the protocol is eligible for the standards track to eventually become an official Internet standard.
The topology of the Internet today can be divided along the lines of different Internet Service Providers. Tier-1 providers (global providers) act on a global scale and provide interconnection for regional providers. Tier-2 providers bridge the gap between local providers (Tier-3) and Tier-1 providers.