Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Around the World in….0.3 Seconds?!

Patients…how much patients do you have? (Not the type of patients in which doctors take care of btw) This was a question that I thought of when I was in my lecture the other day. The lecturer was making the point of how we seem to think that the internet will always work and when it doesn’t, we start to become less tolerant. For example, when a web page loads just that 0.15274634856293760983 seconds slower (or maybe not loading at all) or when the computer freezes, we get a little grumpy.

So I want to tell you a very very very very very very simplified version on how you actually get a web page on your screen and don’t worry, I will try to explain as much as possible afterwards.

So here’s my very very very very very simplified version:
your computer -> n x router hops -> Server -> n x router hops -> your computer
Simple enough?   Yes? You’re a genius =D
                           No? Then unfortunately, no cookie for you =P

For those who don't quite understand, let me break it down for you *starts dancing*

In the picture above, your request for the page, in this case my example is Youtube
1. It starts with my computer (my IP address which I’ve blurred for all the stalkers out there =P)
2. It will hop to my gateway (this basically joins 2 networks together)
3. Then hop to the TPG server in your area (or whatever company you’re with)
4. Then hop to the Melbourne TPG server
5. Then hop to the Sydney TPG server
6. It will hop to router
7. It will hop to router
8. It will hop to router
9. The last hop goes to the server which is located in Sydney and request for the web page Youtube

The 3 columns that you see is the time required to reach the destination (3 columns because by default 3 request will be sent), in this case it took 35 milliseconds to reach the destination and back.

So what is your point you may be asking. Good question! Let me get back to you on that....

I'm kidding!

What I want to say is that a lot of things happen behind the scenes once your press that enter button on your browser. Your request for the web page travels, in this case, Melbourne to Sydney in just 35 milliseconds. I wish I could go from Melbourne to Sydney in less than 1 second so I wouldn’t have to put up with airplane food --“ I also did another test and it took the request a maximum of 1.7 seconds (lowest was 0.328 seconds) to travel to United Kingdom and 0.186 seconds to travel to California!

We just need to be happy that the internet works (well most of the time) and it actually does exists but it’s not perfect. Can you imagine one day if Google didn’t work? Or if you can never watch videos like this again?

On a side note,
To that lady on the train who was shaking her phone every time she wanted Facebook to load a page.

Also for those who want to try, just open your command prompt (you can find it in the folder in
programs --> accessories from the start menu or go to run and type in cmd). Once the command prompt shows, type in tracert *webpage you want to go* or just follow from the example picture above. =)

Until next time,

Pictures and video credit to rightful owners 

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