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The History of the Internet

Updated September 10, 2022
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Introduction

Internet, a system architecture that has revolutionized communications and methods of com-merce by allowing various computer networks around the world to interconnect. Sometimes referred to as a “network of networks,” the Internet emerged in the United States in the 1970s but did not become visible to the general public until the early 1990s. By 2015, approximately 3.2 billion people, or nearly half of the world’s population, were estimated to have access to the Internet.

History

As you might expect for a technology so expansive and ever-changing, it is impossible to credit the invention of the Internet to a single person. The Internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today.

Long before the technology existed to actually build the Internet, many scientists had already anticipated the existence of worldwide networks of information. Nikola Tesla toyed with the idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, and visionary thinkers like Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems of books and me-dia in the 1930s and 1940s. Still, the first practical schematics for the Internet would not ar-rive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of an “Interga-lactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” a method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the Internet.

The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of AR-PANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network. The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after sci-entists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be trans-mitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

While it’s often confused with the Internet itself, the web is actually just the most common means of accessing data online in the form of websites and hyperlinks. The web helped popularize the Internet among the public, and served as a crucial step in developing the vast trove of information that most of us now access on a daily basis.

Standard

In the world of computers there is a rich variety of standards. The conventional wisdom, however, is that standards are either simple or straightforward to define or purely technical (REFs). One, if not the, key theme running right through this book is that the development of an information infrastructure, necessarily including the standards, should instead be recog-nized as a highly complex socio-technical negotiation process. It is a pressing need to develop our understanding of how ‘social, economic, political and technical institutions (…) interact in the overall design of electronic communication systems’ (Hawkins 1996, p. 158). There is accordingly a need to classify and conceptualize to grasp the role of standards in the development of information infrastructures.

In computer network engineering, an Internet Standard is a normative specification of a tech-nology or methodology applicable to the Internet. Internet Standards are created and pub-lished by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).The following organizations are princi-pal players in Internet standards development. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a loosely self-organized group that contributes to the Internet’s engineering and stand-ards development. The Internet is built of components implementing standardized communi-cation protocols. Among these are the well-known ones such as TCP, IP, SMTP (email), HTTP (World Wide Web), FTP (file transfer) and TELNET (remote login). But Internet in-cludes many more standards – in June 1997 there were in fact 569 officially registered Inter-net standards (RFC 2200). These standards are split into different categories.

Standards abound. David and Greenstein distinguish among three kinds of standards: refer-ence, minimum quality and compatibility standards. II standards belong to the last category, that is, standards which ensure that one component may successfully be incorporated into a larger system given an adherence to the interface specification of the standard. Formal stand-ards are worked out by standardization bodies. Both OSI and Internet are formal according to such a classification. 1 De facto standards are technologies standardized through market mechanisms, and de jure standards are imposed by law.

De facto standards are often developed by industrial consortia or vendors. Examples of such standards are the W3 consortium currently developing a new version of the HTML format for Worldwide Web, IBM´s SNA protocol, CORBA developing a common object oriented re-pository for distributed computing, X/Open developing a new version of Unix and the Health Level 7 2 standard for health care communication. Some of these consortia operate inde-pendently of the international standardization bodies; others align their activities more close-ly. For instance, the W3 consortium is independent of, but closely linked to, the standardiza-tion process of the IETF (see further below).

Among the 569 registered Internet standards there are 60 standard protocols, 49 draft stand-ards, 260 proposed, 98 experimental, 57 informational and 45 historic. The growth in stand-ards from July 1994 is, as illustrated in Table 1, quite significant – about 62%. However, the growth has been rather uneven among the various standards categories – 3.5% growth in full standards, 133% in draft and 60% in proposed standards.

Domain Assignment

Domain Name Servers (DNS) are the Internet’s equivalent of a phone book. They maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. This is nec-essary because, although domain names are easy for people to remember, computers or ma-chines, access websites based on IP addresses. In general, a domain name represents an Inter-net Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet. In 2017, 330.6 million domain names had been registered.

Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.pcwebopedia.com/index.html, the domain name is pcwebopedia.com. A domain name is your website name. A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. A domain name is used for finding and identifying computers on the Internet. Because of this, domain names were developed and used to identify entities on the Internet rather than using IP addresses.

Managerial Headquarters

The Internet Society (ISOC) is an American nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to pro-vide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy. Its mission is ‘to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world’.[5]

The Internet Society has its global headquarters in Reston, Virginia, United States (near Washington, D.C.), a major office in Geneva, Switzerland, and regional bureaus in Brussels, Singapore, and Montevideo. It has a global membership base of more than 100,000 organizational and individual members.

The Internet Society was formed officially in 1992 by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn[6] with one of its purposes being to provide a corporate structure to support the Internet standards develop-ment process. Cerf, Kahn, and Lyman Chapin released a document, Announcing ISOC, which explained the rationale for establishing the Internet Society. This document also de-fines the original charter of the organization as follows:

The Society will be a non-profit organization and will be operated for international educa-tional, charitable, and scientific purposes, among which are:

  • To facilitate and support the technical evolution of the Internet as a research and educa-tion infrastructure and to stimulate involvement of the academic, scientific, and engineer-ing communities (among others) in the evolution of the Internet.
  • To educate the academic and scientific communities and the public concerning the tech-nology, use, and application of the Internet.
  • To promote scientific and educational applications of Internet technology for the benefit of educational institutions at all grade levels, industry, and the public at large.
  • To provide a forum for exploration of new Internet applications and to foster collabora-tion among organizations in their operation and use of the Internet.[7]

Many of the main forces of the Internet, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), remain very informal organizations from a legal perspective. There was a growing need for financial support and organization structure. The Internet Society was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization which could provide that support structure, as well as promot-ing other activities that are important for the development of the Internet.

Contribution of the internet to:

  • Education sector

Many still recall the time it used to take to do research for a school project. A trip to the li-brary was almost always required. Collaboration meant actually meeting classmates and teachers at schools and offices. Today, students can access information with just a few clicks and collaborate online. The Internet has changed virtually every aspect of education as stu-dents attend classes on the Web and find more opportunities to learn than ever before. The Internet has introduced improvements in technology, communication and online entertain-ment, but it is also incredibly useful for education purposes as well. Teachers use the Internet to supplement their lessons, and a number of prestigious universities have opened up free online lectures and courses to everyone. It has even allowed retired teachers to read to and educate children in poorer countries. Widespread use of the Internet has opened up a substan-tial amount of knowledge to a much broader range of people than ever before.

  • Health Sector

Many health-related processes stand to be reshaped by the Internet. In clinical settings, the Internet enables care providers to gain rapid access to information that can aid in the diagno-sis of health conditions or the development of suitable treatment plans. It can make patient records, test results, and practice guidelines accessible from the examination room. It can also allow care providers to consult with each other electronically to discuss treatment plans or operative procedures. At the same time, the Internet supports a shift toward more patient-centered care, enabling consumers to gather health-related information themselves; to com-municate with care providers, health plan administrators, and other consumers electronically; and even to receive care in the home.

The Internet can also support numerous health-related activities beyond the direct provision of care. By supporting financial and administrative transactions, public health surveillance, professional education, and biomedical research, the Internet can streamline the administrative overhead associated with health care, improve the health of the nation’s population, better train health care providers, and lead to new insights into the nature of disease.

The Internet has impacted all industries in ways we could not have imagined three decades ago. But nowhere has that impact been felt more so than in science research and academic publishing, especially during last 15 years of transition from hard copy to electronic files and the more recent emergence of networked science.

Since the very early days of the printing press, science has been dependent upon the publish-ing industry to advance knowledge. When Galileo’s Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze(The Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences) was published by the House of Elsevier in 1638, it challenged the widely held beliefs of that time about the origins of the universe. Such thinking was held to be bor-dering on heresy by the religious institutions of the day, but the availability of the written word that could be easily transported and made available for others to study, propelled en-lightenment and knowledge.

  • Religion

Religions are represented in the Internet in many ways. There are sites which attempt to cover all religions, traditions, and faiths, such as Patheos (which also provides a forum for athe-ism/humanism), Religious Tolerance, and Beliefnet, In addition to this, there are sites that are specific to a religious tradition. Many sites are discussion groups, others theological debates and some attempt to provide advice concerning religious doctrine. There are also sites that aim to provide a religious experience facilitating prayer, meditation, or virtual pilgrimages. People also leverage search engines to investigate aspects of religion.

The Internet can help you gather the faithful from the digital droves. According to Google, people launch 30,000 searches per month related to finding church services. But to reach these people, you need an online presence. That means a live, regularly updated website where those who are searching can find you online. Additionally, that includes engaging on social media platforms. Because the Internet is the great filter, funneling people with shared interests into online communities. Fans of authors, celebrities, TV shows, and obscure trivia can all find their niche online.

  • Business

Internet is important for business development. Internet technology provides powerful communication and marketing tools. The Internet is a new Bazaar in which you can find online shops, online degree programs and a lot more. You can browse various educational and busi-ness development websites, management service platforms anytime & anywhere. The Internet is providing great benefits for business communication. The Internet is the easiest way for a business to connect with customer and clients. The business organization is using the high-speed internet to speed up the production. People are working from home for companies around the world. Business information is fastest than ever.

So, you can see from all of this is that internet is now the backbone of offline business to sell online. The business organization is using the high-speed internet to speed up the production. Internet helps businesses to grow, achieve goals and become successful in this competitive market. Marketing is important in business and in this case internet is the first and most important marketing tool business own-ers are looking for. Internet provides great benefits for entrepreneurs to create business infra-structure based on customer’s data and information. Business success is impossible without internet in this modern era. Internet transformed the education, communication and methods of receiving and giving data. Internet technology provides great data management sources for businesses to launch unique and creative solutions for customers.

Conclusion

The evolution of information technology reached a turning point with the development of the Internet. Once a government project, the Internet was created for military purposes. Through the course of its development, researchers began finding other uses for the network and use of the technology spread worldwide. Access to the Internet today by individuals, businesses, and institutions alike has created a global market for Internet service and has spurned an increase in productivity in the technological communication field.

However, in the midst of the global rush to embrace the Internet, some concerns have been raised regarding personal, business, and government access, and the nature of information being transmitted across the information superhighway.

Unfortunately, in addition to the educational, commercial, personal, and governmental uses of the Internet, global use of the Internet also includes Internet fraud, transmitting of illegal items, and certain forms of harassment.

As we venture farther into the Information Age, the nature of life is evidence that future global development will undoubtedly depend on technological advances, particularly in communications. Understanding the underlying reasons certain types of technologies are in use today plays an important part in the overall use of technology. In addition, although the importance of these advances might be obvious, true comprehension of a particular kind of technology lies in the full experience of the machine in question.

Advances made in the technology of the Internet have continued to dazzle its spectators, obstructing comprehension of its origin and initial uses. These phenomena might be due to the rapid change of technology, and the pace at which individuals and businesses are becoming dependent on them. At any rate, the technological movement will continue to evolve, and since it is evident that a complete understanding of technology is unnecessary for its utilization, only those who lack access will be left behind.

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FAQ

What is the brief history of Internet?
January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet . Prior to this, the various computer networks did not have a standard way to communicate with each other. A new communications protocol was established called Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP).
What was the original idea for the Internet?
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network . Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network.
When did Internet history start?
January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet. Prior to this, the various computer networks did not have a standard way to communicate with each other.
Who Invented Internet first time?
The initial idea of the Internet is credited to Leonard Kleinrock after he published his first paper entitled "Information Flow in Large Communication Nets" on May 31, 1961. In 1962, J.C.R. Licklider became the first Director of IPTO and gave his vision of a galactic network.
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