The internet refers to a series of interconnected computers all over the world. These computers use the TCP/IP network protocols to reach the billions of people using it. The internet started as a United States Department of Defense network. It was used to link university professors and scientists worldwide.
On February 7th, 1958, Neil McElroy, the Secretary of Defense, signed the Department of Defense Directive 510.15. Neil’s signature launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which is currently referred to as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Creating this agency was important as it led to the creation of the internet as we know it today.
During 1950s, the Cold War was at its peak. The U.S. was worried about the growing scientific expertise of the Soviet Union. After Sputnik 1 was launched in 1957, the U.S. military feared that the Soviet Union would attack them from space and destroy the United States’ long-distance communications network.
The national defense network that existed then depended on telephone wires and telephone lines which were prone to get damaged. J.C.R. Licklider, an MIT and ARPA scientist, suggested, in 1962, the idea of connecting many computers to maintain a communications network that would be active in the United States in case of a nuclear attack. The network came to be referred to as the ARPA Network (ARPAnet). Packet Switching made it possible for data transmission in 1965, and by the year 1969, military contractor Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) devised an early form of routing devices referred to as interface message processors (IMPS). It was revolutionary for data transmission.
The first local area network connecting distant workstations was the Stanford University Network. The NSF decided to expand ARPAnet to national computer science researchers in 1981 after funding the Computer Science Network (CSNET). BBN took over CSNET operation management in 1984. In 1983, ARPAnet decided to adopt the transmission control protocol (TCP). In 1985, engineers designed the TCP to connect university computer science departments across the United States.
The adaptation of the TCP and IP protocols accelerated the spread of internetworking technology. ARPAnet technology spread fast not only to university campuses, but also to the emerging Internet Service Providers so as to support industry and commerce. NSFNET became the internet backbone across the United States. ARPAnet phased out in 1990.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research came up with the hypertext transfer protocol (http). It was a standardization which enabled diverse computer platforms to access the same internet sites. This made Berners-Lee to be widely regarded as the father of the World Wide Web.
The Mosaic web browser was created in 1993. It was the first to show images in line with text. It offered many more graphical user interface norms that are popular today. The NSFNET eventually modified its acceptable use policy for commercial use. It was decommissioned by 1995 and soon the internet provider model came up with network access points. They allowed the development of the commercial side of the internet.
The internet grew from a research idea to a technology used by more than 3.2 billion people in a period of fewer than sixty years.
- Andrews, E. (2019, 03 14). history.com. Retrieved from HISTORY: https://www.history.com/news/who-invented-the-internet
- Fitzpatrick, T. (2017, 02 09). Science node. Retrieved from sciencenode.org: https://sciencenode.org/feature/a-brief-history-of-the-internet-.php