When you connect a computer to the Internet, it becomes part of a global mega-network of millions of other computers that are able to quickly and accurately transmit information to each other. The Internet's early development, in the 1960s and early 1970s, laid the foundation for a decentralized network of connections among an ever-increasing number of computers. Data is transmitted from computer to computer across these connections, guided by protocols, specialized format languages that direct Internetbased systems such as e-mail, news lists, and the World Wide Web.

The Internet depends on the seamless transmission of data among digital computers through analog forms of connections. Analog systems, such as electricity and the telephone, represent and transmit data using a system that allows an infinite variety of values, ...

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