Internet History Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONThe Internet

Internet History Essay, Research Paper INTRODUCTION The Internet is perhaps today’s most influential technological advance. Significant events in history contributing to the development of the Internet can be traced back to as early as 1844. Here is a timeline of some significant events in history contributing to the development of the Internet:

Internet History Essay, Research Paper


The Internet is perhaps today’s most influential technological advance. Significant events in history contributing to the development of the Internet can be traced back to as early as 1844. Here is a timeline of some significant events in history contributing to the development of the Internet:

1844 ? Telegraph

1858 ? First Atlantic Cable from North America to Europe

1867 ? Typewriter

1876 ? Telephone

1889 ? Phonograph

1894 ? Radio

1946 ? ENIAC, the world?s first computer

1957 ? Satellite able to send info from space

1960 ? First Computer network

1969 ? Internet

1994 ? World Wide Web allows sounds and movies to be sent via the Internet

As the Internet expands in the future, it stands to gain control over much of the world. The earliest event in history leading to the development of the Internet took place in 1858. This was the laying of the Atlantic Cable. It was laid to provide instantaneous communication across the ocean. Although it was seen as a landmark event, it was a technical failure because it only remained in operation for 3 weeks. However, another cable was laid in 1866 and remained in operation for over 100 years. The next major event was the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1875. Today, modems provide digital to audio conversions to allow computers to connect to the Internet over the telephone.


In 1955, Eisenhower announced that the USA hoped to launch a small Earth orbiting satellite. The Kremlin announced that is hoped to do the same. Planning in America focussed on a sophisticated three stage rocket, but in Russia that took a more direct approach. Strapping four military rockets together, on October 1957 the USSR launched Sputnik 1 (a 70kgs sphere) into the Earth?s orbit. The effect in the United States was electrifying, since it seemed overnight to wipe out the feeling on invulnerability the country had enjoyed since the explosion of the first nuclear bomb thirteen years before. One of the immediate reactions was the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the Ministry of Defense. Its mission was to apply state-of-the-art technology to US defense and to avoid being surprised (again) by technological advancements by the enemy. It was also given temporary control of the US satellite program until the creation of NASA in October 1958.

ARPA became the technological think-tank of the American defense effort, employing directly a couple of hundred top scientists and with a budget sufficient for subcontracting research to other top American institutions. Although the advanced computing would come to dominate its work, the initial focus of ARPA?s activities were on space, ballistic missiles, and nuclear test monitoring. Even so, from the start ARPA was interested in communications between its operational base and its sub-contractors, preferably through direct links between its various computers.

In 1962, ARPA opened a computer research program and appointed to its head an MIT scientist John Licklider to lead it. By 1966/67 research had developed sufficiently for the new head of computer research, Leonard Roberts, to publish a plan for computer network system called ARPANET. When these plans were published, it became clear that independently of each other, and in ignorance of each other?s work, teams at MIT, the National Physics Laboratory (UK) and by RAND Corporation had all been working on the possibility of wide area networks, and their best ideas were incorporated into the ARPANET design. The final requirement was to design a protocol to allow the computers to send and receive messages and data, known as an interface massage processor (IMPs). Work on this was completed in 1968, and the time was ready to put the theory to the test. In October 1969, IMPs installed in computers at both UCLA and Stanford. UCLA students would login to Stanford?s computer, access its databases and try to send data. The experiment was successful and the fledging network had come into being. By December 1969, ARPANET comprised host computers as with the addition of research centers in Santa Barbara and Utah. In the months that followed, scientists worked on refining the software that would expand the network?s capabilities. At the same time, more computers were linked to the net. By December 1971, ARPANET linked 23 host computers to each other.


In October 1972, ARPANET went public. At the First International Conference on Computers and Communication, held in Washington DC, ARPA scientists demonstrated the system in operation, linking computers together from 40 different locations. This stimulated in operation, linking computers together from 40 different locations. This stimulated further research in scientific community throughout the Western World. Soon other networks would appear. The Washington conference also set up an Internetworking Working Group (IWG) to coordinate the research taking place. Meanwhile, ARPA scientists worked on refining the system and expanding its capabilities:

▷ In 1972, they successfully employed a new program to allow the sending of messages over the net, allowing direct person-to-person communication that we now refer to as e-mail. This development we will deal with at length in the next section.

▷ Also in the early 70s, scientists developed host-to-host protocols. Before then the system only allowed access to the host?s programs (effectively merging the two host computers into one, for the duration of the link).

▷ In 1974, ARPA scientists, working closely with experts in Stanford, developed a common language that would allow different networks to communicate with each other. This was known as a transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP)

The development of TCP/IP marked a crucial stage in networking development, and it is important to reflect on the implications inherent in the design concepts? since it could all have turned out very differently. One crucial concept was that the system should have an ?open architecture?, in fact implementing Licklider?s original idea of a ?Galactic Network?:

▷ Each network should be able to work on its own, developing its own applications without restraint and requiring no modification to participate in the Internet.

▷ Within each network there would be a ?gateway?, which would like it to the ?outside world?. This would be a larger computer (in order to handle the volume of traffic) with necessary software to transmit and redirect any packages.

▷ This gateway software would retain no information about the traffic passing through. This was designed to cut-down workload and to speed up the traffic, but also remove a possible means of censorship and control.

▷ Packages would be routed through the fastest available route. If one computer were blocked or slow, the packages would be rerouted through the new until they eventually reached their destination.

▷ The gateways between the networks would always be open.

▷ Also implicit in the development was the operating principles would be freely available to all the networks.

This freeing of design information was an early and integral part of the research environment. It is worth remembering, at this stage, that we are still in a world where we are talking almost exclusively about large mainframe computers (owned only by large corporations, government institutions and universities). The system was therefore designed with the expectation that it would work through a limited number of national networks. Although 1974 marked the beginning of TCP/IP, it would talk several years of modification and redesign before it was completed and universally adapted. One adaptation was that already in mid-1970?s, a stripped down version was designed that could be incorporated into the new micro-computers that were being developed. A second design challenge was to develop a version of the software that was compatible with each of the computer networks, including that of ARPANET itself.

Meanwhile, computer networking developed apace. In 1974, Stanford opened up Telnet, the first openly accessible public ?packet data service? (a commercial version of ARPANET). In the 1970?s, the US Department of Energy established MFENet for researchers into Magnetic Fusion Energy, which spawned HEPNet devoted to High Energy Physics. This inspired NASA physics to establish SPAN for space physics. In 1976, a Unix-to-Unix protocol was developed by AT&T Bell laboratories and was freely distributed to all Unix computer users-since Unix was the main operating system employed by universities, this opened up networking to the broader academic community. In 1979, Usenet was established, an open system focusing on e-mail communication and devoted to newsgroups is opened, and still thriving today. In 1981, Bitnet was developed City University New York to link university scientists using IBM computers in the Eastern US. CSNet, funded by the US national Science Foundation was established to facilitate communication for Computer Scientists in universities, industry and government. In 1982, a European version of the Unix network, Eunet, was established- linking networks in the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, followed in 1984 by a European version of Bitnet, known as EARN (European Academic and Research Network).

Throughout this period, the world is still fairly chaotic. ARPANET is still the backbone to the entire system. When, in 1982, it finally adopts the TCP/IP the Internet is born.

From Internet to World Wide Web

So far, the net?s development was almost entirely ?science-led?. All this time, parallel advancements in computer capacities and speeds were enabling the system to expand. This expansion started to produce supply constraints, which stimulated further advancements. By the early 1980?s, when the Internet properly started operation, it was already beginning to face problems created by its own success. First, there were more computer ?hosts? linked to the net that had originally been envisaged (in 1984, the number of hosts topped 1000 for the first time) and second, the amount of traffic per host was much larger (mainly because of the phenomenal success of e-mail). Increasingly predictions were said that the entire system would eventually stop to a halt.

One early, and essential development, was the introduction- in 1984 -of Domain Name Servers (DNS). Until then each host computer had been assigned a name, and there was a single integrated list of names and addresses that could easily be consulted. The new system introduced some tiering into US Internet addresses like edu. (educational), com. (commercial), gov. (governmental) plus org. (international organization) and a series of country codes. This made the names of host computers easier to remember, but the system is even smarter because when we type in these addresses, the computer is sending or receiving a coded sequence of numbers like 132.229.XX.XX.

A second development was the decision by national governments to encourage the use of the Internet throughout the higher educational system. In 1984, the British government announced the constitution of JANet (Joint Academic Network) to serve British universities, but more important was the decision, the following year, of the US National Science Foundation to establish NSFNet for the same purpose, one definite requirement for receiving funding was that access had to be for all qualified users on campus. The American program involved a number of decisions that were crucial for the further development of the Internet:

▷ The use of TCP/IP protocols was mandatory for all participants in the program.

▷ Federal Agencies would share the cost of establishing common infrastructures and support the gateways.

▷ NSFNet signed shared infrastructure ?no-metered-cost? agreements with other scientific networks (including ARPANET) which formed the model for all subsequent agreements.

▷ It threw support behind the ?Internet Activities Board? (the direct descendant of the Internetworking Working Group established in 1972) and encouraged international cooperation in further research.

▷ Finally, NSFNet agreed to provide the ?backbone? for the US Internet service, and provided five ?supercomputers? to service the envisaged traffic. The first computers provided network capacity of 56,000 bytes per second but the capacity was upgraded in 1988 to 1,544,000,000 bytes per second. There was one proviso?. this facility didn?t include ?purposes not in support of research and education?.

The effect of the creation of NSFNet was dramatic. In the first place it broke the capacity bottleneck in the system. Secondly, it encouraged a surge in Internet use. It took a decade for the number of computer hosts attached to the Net to top the thousand mark. By 1986, the number of hosts had reached 5000 and a year later the figure had climbed to 28,000. Thirdly, the elimination of commercial users from the back-bone had had the (intended) consequence of encouraging the development of private Internet providers.

The exclusion of commercial users from the backbone did not mean that their interests had been ignored. For several years, hardware and software suppliers had been adding TCP/IP to their product packages, but tat had little experience in how the products were supposed to work, so it was difficult for them to adapt to their own needs. Part of the force behind the Internet?s early development had been the open availability of information but now the Internet Activities Board went a step further. In 1985, it organized the first workshop, specifically targeting the private sector, to discuss the potential-and current limitations- of TCP/IP protocols? beginning a dialogue between government/academic scientists and the private sector, and among private entrepreneurs themselves. In 1987, the first subscription based commercial Internet company, UUNET was founded. Others follow. At this stage, the Internet is still quite a forbidding place for the uninitiated. Access commands to find data were complicated, the documentation available was mostly (highly) scientific and the presentation script was unattractive (courier script, no color), finding information is ver complicated and transfer times are relatively slow. The main attractions for the commercial sector are the e-mail and access to e-mail, newsgroups, chat and computer games.

Although commercial exploitation of the net had started, the expansion of the Internet continued to be driven by government and academic communities. It was also becoming more international. By 1989, the number of hosts went over 100,000 for the first time and had climbed to 300,000 a year later. The end of the 1980?s and the start of the 1990?s provided a convenient cut-off point for lots of reasons:

▷ In 1990 ARPANET (which had been stripped of its military functions in 1983 became a victim of its own success.

▷ In 1990, the first Internet search-engine for finding and retrieving computer files, Archie, was developed at McGill University, Montreal.

▷ In 1991, the NSF removed its restriction on private access to its backbone computers

▷ ?Information superhighway? project came into being.

▷ In 1991, the World Wide Web was released to the public.


The World Wide Web is a network of sites that can be searched and retrieved by a special protocol known as a Hypertext Transfer protocol (HTTP). The protocol made the writing of addresses simpler and automatically searched the internet for the address indicated and automatically called up the document for viewing. The WWW concept was designed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and scientists at CERN, the European center for High Energy Physics, who were interested in making it easier to get research documentation. A year later, he had developed a ?browser/editor? program and had coined the name World Wide Web as a name for the program. The program is released free on an ftp (file transfer protocol) site. This was a major leap foreword, although it might not sound too dramatic. Once the entire dial- and retrieve- language had been simplified, the next step was to design an improved browser, a system which allowed the links to be hidden behind text and activated by a click with the mouse. Until that occurred, the transition to the number was still no more than 150.

In 1993, Mark Andreesen of NCSA (National Center for SuperComputer Applications, Illinois) launched Mosaic X. It was easy to install, easy to use and, significantly, backed by 24-hour customer support. It also improved the graphic capabilities and installed many of the features that are familiar to you through the browsers which are using to view these pages such as Netscape (which is the successor company established be Andreesen to exploit Mosaic) Bill Gates? Internet Explorer. Like so many other Internet innovations, trial versions of Mosaic were made available free to the educational community. Mosaic soon became a runway hit. By 1994, tens of thousands of versions had been installed on computers throughout the World. The potential of HTML to create graphically attractive web-sited and the ease with which these sited could be accessed through the new generations of web-browsers opened by the Web to whole new groups. Until now, the Web had served two main communities ? the scientific community 9accessing on-line documentation) and a wider ?netizens? (net citizens) community (accessing e-mail and news groups). Now commercial web-sites began their proliferation, followed at a short distance by local school, club, or family sites. These developments were accelerated by the appearance of powerful- and cheap- professional computers, which increased both the number of netizens and the market for business and by the increase in capacity of the communications infrastructure. The Web now exploded.

In 1994, there were 3,2 million hosts and 3,000 web-sites. Twelve months later the number of hosts had doubled and the number of web-sites had climbed to 25,000. By the end of the next year, the number of host computers had doubled again, and the number of web-sites had increased to over 200,000. In 1997, the number of host computers integrated in to the Web had reached 19.5 million, and the number of web-sites had reached 4.2 million.



-1969- The Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) creates an experimental network called ARPANET. This network provides a test-bed for emerging network technologies.


Networking tools are developed in the 70?s including:

-1972- The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) develops the telnet application for remote login, making it easier to connect to a remote computer.

-The beloved @ symbol is born.

-1973- FTP (file transfer protocol) is introduced, standardizing the transfer of files between networked computers.


Several significant events happened in 1983, including:

-The TCP/IP suite networking protocols, or rules, becomes the only set of protocols used on the ARPANET. This decision sets a standard for other networks, and generates the use of the term ?Internet? as the network of networks which either use the TCP/IP protocols or are able to interact with TCP/IP networks.

-To keep military and non-military network sites separate, the ARPANET splits into 2 networks: ARPANET and MILNET.

-The first virus attacks.

In 1982, and 1983, the first desktop computers begin to appear. Many are equipped with an operating system called Berkeley UNIX, which includes networking software. This allows for easy connection to the Internet using telnet

The personal computer revolution continues through the 80?s, making access to computer resources and networked information increasingly available to the general public.

-1985-86: The National Science Foundation (NSF) connects the nation?s six super computing centers together. This network is called the NSFNET, or NSFNET backbone. As it appeared in 1993:

-1987- The NSF awards a grant to Merit Network, Inc. to operate and manage future development of the NSFNET backbone. Merit Network, Inc. collaborates with International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation and MCI Telecommunications Corporation to research and develop faster networking technologies.

-1989? The backbone network is upgraded to ?T1? which means that it is able to transmit data at speeds of 1.5 million bits of data per second, or about 50 pages of text per second.


-1990- The ARPANET is dissolved.

-1991- Gopher is developed at the University of Minnesota. Gopher provides a hierarchical, menu-based method for providing and locating information on the Internet. This tool makes using the Internet much easier.

-1993- The European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Switzerland (CERN) releases the World Wide Web uses hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and hypertext links, changing the way information can be organized, presented and accessed on the Internet.

-1993- The NSFNNET backbone network is upgraded to ?T3? which means that it is able to transmit data at speeds of 45 million bits of data per second, or about 1400 pages of text per second.

-1993- 1994- The graphical web browsers Mosaic and Netscape Navigator are introduced and spread through the Internet community. Due to their intuitive nature and graphical interface, these browsers make the WWW and the Internet more appealing to the public.

-1995- The NSFNET backbone is replaced by a new network architecture, called vBNS (very high speed backbone network system) that utilizes Network Service Providers, Regional networks and Network Access points (NAPs).


The Internet has evolved through a series of advancements in networking and computer technologies. From its beginning in 1969, the ARPANET provided a test-bed for networking research and development. An important development that grew out of ARPANET was the TCP/IP protocols, which provided standard rules for networked computers to communicate with each other.

Other significant events included the introduction of the desktop computer, the development of networking tools such as telnet, FTP, gopher and WWW, and the release of graphical browsers. Advancements in networking enabled the NSFNET to upgrade its speed several times, allowing more and more connections.