Evolution And Growth Of The Internet Essay

, Research Paper

Many years ago a network was born having several computers connected and now, that same network has millions of computers connected at all times, it’s called the Internet. This paper will explain the evolution and growth of the Internet. I will offer a guided tour though the evolution of the Internet and explain what this effect has on its growth and popularity. It’s like a plague growing across the world, signs of its growth are seen everywhere. The Internet was started as an experiment to test networks to try and develop a network that could survive a nuclear attack. While the net has never needed to survive a nuclear blast its design has proven again and again how robust it is. It has with stood many an attack from construction, people digging up cables, to lightning blowing up a router. The network has always recovered and bypassed the problem. The Internet began as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) during the cold war in 1969. It was developed by the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) research people in conjunction with a number of military contractors and universities to explore the possibility of a communication network that could survive a nuclear attack. It continued simply because the DOD, DOD’s contractors, and the universities found that it provided a very convenient way to communicate (Wendell). The ARPANET was a success from the very beginning. Although originally designed to allow scientists to share data and access remote computers, e-mail quickly becomes the most popular application. The ARPANET became a high-speed digital post-office as people used it to collaborate on research projects and discuss topics of various interests. By 1971 the ARPANET grew to 23 hosts connecting universities and government research centers around the country (”Net Timeline.”). In 1973 the first international connections were made with England and Norway. Growth continued at a steady pace, by 1987 there were over 10,000 hosts, then by 1989 it had exploded to 100,000 (Rowse). Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf are key members of a team, which created Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the common language of all Internet computers. For the first time the loose collection of networks which made up the ARPANET is seen as an “Internet”, and the Internet as we know it today is born. The mid-80s marks a boom in the personal computer and super-minicomputer industries. The combination of inexpensive desktop machines and powerful, network-ready servers allows many companies to join the Internet for the first time. Corporations begin to use the Internet to communicate with each other and with their customer’s (”Net Timeline.”). The general public gets its first vague hint of how networked computers can be used in daily life as the commercial version of the ARPANET goes online. By 1988 the Internet is an essential tool for communications, however it also begins to create concerns about privacy and security in the digital world. New words, such as “hacker”, “cracker” and” electronic break-in”, are created. These new worries are dramatically demonstrated on Nov. 1, 1988 when a malicious program called the “Internet Worm” temporarily disables approximately 6,000 of the 60,000 Internet hosts (”Net Timeline.”). These concerns lead to the formation of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to address security. In the early 90’s the ARPANET was decommissioned and forced to leave, leaving only the vast network of networks the Internet. The number of hosts by now exceeded 300,000 (Howe). In 1990, HyperText Markup Language (HTML), a hypertext Internet protocol which could communicate with graphic information on the Internet, was introduced. Each individual could create graphic pages (a Web site), which then became part of a huge, virtual hypertext network called the World Wide Web (WWW). The enhanced Internet was informally renamed the Web and a huge additional audience was created. As the Internet celebrates its 25th anniversary in 1996, the military strategies that influenced its birth become historical footnotes. Approximately 40 million people are connected to the Internet. More than $1 billion per year changes hands at Internet shopping malls, and Internet related companies like Netscape are the darlings of high-tech investors. Users in almost 150 countries around the world are now connected to the Internet and the number of computer hosts approaches 10 million (Howe). The Age of the Internet has arrived. Traffic on the Internet expands at a 341,634% annual growth rate (Pedroni). Within 30 years, the Internet has grown from a Cold War concept for controlling the tattered remains of a post-nuclear society to the Information Superhighway. Just as the railroads of the 19th century enabled the Machine Age, and revolutionized the society of the time, the Internet has taken us into the Information Age, and profoundly affects the world in which we live.


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