This chapter covers the background networking concepts you need to understand before writing networked programs in Java (or, for that matter, in any language). Moving from the most general to the most specific, it explains what you need to know about networks in general, IP and TCP/IP-based networks in particular, and the Internet. This chapter doesn't try to teach you how to wire a network or configure a router, but you will learn what you need to know to write applications that communicate across the Internet. Topics covered in this chapter include the definition of network, the TCP/IP layer model, the IP, TCP, and UDP protocols, firewalls and proxy servers, the Internet, and the Internet standardization process. Experienced network gurus may safely skip this chapter.