A Brief History of the Internet

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The stringing of the first communications cables during the 1800s laid the groundwork for what would become the Information Super Highway, known as the Internet. It took many building blocks and more than a century for the Internet to take on the form we use today. The Internet is constantly growing and will continue to change form to accommodate that growth. Currently the system as we know it, is in the process of moving from the IPv4 system that we use to a new, faster, and greatly expanded IPv6 system.

1858 The Transatlantic cables in the 1800s provided direct communication across the Atlantic and set the stage for instant communication around the world.

1876 The telephone system was invented. This provided a backbone to build the internet connections we know today.

1945 Vannevar Bush wrote an article about a system to make and follow links between documents on microfiche.

1957 USSR launches Sputnik, the first satellite. Many of today's communications now use satellites to send signals globally.

1958 In response to Sputnik, the US military forms ARPA, (Advanced Research Projects Agency).

1961 Len Kleinrock wrote the first paper about Packet Switching, "Information Flow in Large Communications Nets"

1962 J.C.R. Licklider and W. Clark conceptualize the Internet in their paper "On-Line Man Computer Communications".

1964 Paul Baran proposes packet switching as the best option for the military to maintain control of missiles after a nuclear attack. He writes "On Distributed Communications". A paper about using message blocks to send information across a network.

1965 The first Networking experiment between two computers using packet switching.

1968 Douglas Engelbart demonstrates the system he designed- NLS or "oN-Line System" which used the first practical Hypertext system to link documents.

1969 ARPANET becomes a physical reality with the first Nodes installed.

1972 Ray Tomlinson wrote the first E-mail program to send messages across the ARPANET

1973 ARPANET began its first International Communication with England and Norway.

1973 TCP/IP protocol development began and in 1974 Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn published "A protocol for Packet Network Interconnection" telnet services begin on ARPANET.

Between 1971 and 1981 Many new groups and systems came online. MUDs, Packet Radio Network, News Groups USENET, BITNET, Computer Science Network CSNET.

1980 Tim Berners-Lee writes the program "Enquire Within", a system that allowed for links between arbitrary nodes. This program became the predecessor to the World Wide Web.

1983 CERN used satellite systems to link segments of their network. Cisco Systems was founded. Domain Name System, DNS, was established creating .edu, .gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, and .int.

1985 The National Science Foundation began setting up T1 lines.

1987 The Internet became commercialized with 10,000 hosts on the Internet

1989 In 2 years the number had jumped to over 100,000 hosts.

1990 APRANET ends. Tim Berners-Lee begins work on a Hypertext GUI applicaiton which becomes the World Wide Web. T3 lines start being constructed to help with the flow of traffic.

1991 The World Wide Web was introduced.

1993 The first web browser, Mosaic was introduced. InterNIC was established. There are 2 million hosts on the Internet and over 600 www web sites.

1994 Commercialized use of the Internet begins. The first Cyberbank opened. Pizza Hut offered online orders. Netscape Communications founded. ATM systems were installed

1995 NSF closes off their backbone network and reverts it to research. Internet Service Providers become the backbone of the world wide web. There are over 6.5 million hosts on the Internet and 100,0000 web sites. An annual fee is imposed on domain names.

1996 The browser wars begin between Netscape and Internet Explorer.

1998 ICANN,Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers was established. They are responsible for DNS management, Root server systems, Protocol parameters, and IP address allocation.

2000 Wireless internet becomes an alternative. Over 10,000,000 domain names are registered.

2001 Internet crimes begin to get attention. Napster gets shut down for distributing copyright material. The first HDTV transmission is sent across a WAN.

2003 RIAA sues over 200 individuals for distributing copyright material. Text messages reach over 5 billion messages a day.

2004 RIA- Rich Interactive Applications that allow users to be interactive with websites become popular and social media launches into a world wide epidemic with DIGG and Facebook.

2005 Youtube launched bringing online streaming movies and clips into the lives of the public.

2008 Candidates running for public office use the internet to drive election results through the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Information gathered from w3.org, webopedia.com, netvalley.com, princeton.edu, ucla.edu, rand.org.