Gigaom

For many people the internet is an idea; the cloud, as it were. Or maybe it’s the web, or their mobile apps on their phone. It’s quite likely that as more of our interactions happen online, our entertainment is delivered via the internet and unconnected devices are transformed thanks to a web connection, the internet will fade even further from people’s minds as a physical entity, much like we no longer consider voltage unless we’re about to hop on a plane to another country.

But the actual internet is a physical place — thousands of them. When you want to check your email, packets are sent over the coaxial cable, fiber or DSL line from the modem that sits in your home to a box in your neighborhood. From there it travels to a bigger box containing servers and communications equipment. That request might travel still further to a massive…

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