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A Brief History Of Internet

This is intended to be a brief, necessarily cursory and incomplete history. Much material currently exists about the Internet, covering history, technology, and usage. A trip to almost any bookstore will find shelves of material written about the Internet. 2

A brief history of Internet


In this paper,3 several of us involved in the development and evolution of the Internet share our views of its origins and history. This history revolves around four distinct aspects. There is the technological evolution that began with early research on packet switching and the ARPANET (and related technologies), and where current research continues to expand the horizons of the infrastructure along several dimensions, such as scale, performance, and higher-level functionality. There is the operations and management aspect of a global and complex operational infrastructure. There is the social aspect, which resulted in a broad community of Internauts working together to create and evolve the technology. And there is the commercialization aspect, resulting in an extremely effective transition of research results into a broadly deployed and available information infrastructure.

The Internet is as much a collection of communities as a collection of technologies, and its success is largely attributable to both satisfying basic community needs as well as utilizing the community in an effective way to push the infrastructure forward. This community spirit has a long history beginning with the early ARPANET. The early ARPANET researchers worked as a close-knit community to accomplish the initial demonstrations of packet switching technology described earlier. Likewise, the Packet Satellite, Packet Radio and several other DARPA computer science research programs were multi-contractor collaborative activities that heavily used whatever available mechanisms there were to coordinate their efforts, starting with electronic mail and adding file sharing, remote access, and eventually World Wide Web capabilities. Each of these programs formed a working group, starting with the ARPANET Network Working Group. Because of the unique role that ARPANET played as an infrastructure supporting the various research programs, as the Internet started to evolve, the Network Working Group evolved into Internet Working Group.

The origins of the internet are rooted in the USA of the 1950s. The Cold War was at its height and huge tensions existed between North America and the Soviet Union. Both superpowers were in possession of deadly nuclear weapons, and people lived in fear of long-range surprise attacks. The US realised it needed a communications system that could not be affected by a Soviet nuclear attack.

IP stands for Internet Protocol and, when combined with TCP, helps internet traffic find its destination. Every device connected to the internet is given a unique IP number. Known as an IP address, the number can be used to find the location of any internet-connected device in the world.

The invention of DNS, the common use of TCP/IP and the popularity of email caused an explosion of activity on the internet. Between 1986 and 1987, the network grew from 2,000 hosts to 30,000. People were now using the internet to send messages to each other, read news and swap files. However, advanced knowledge of computing was still needed to dial in to the system and use it effectively, and there was still no agreement on the way that documents on the network were formatted.

In 1990, Berners-Lee developed Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and designed the Universal Resource Identifier (URI) system. HTTP is the language computers use to communicate HTML documents over the internet, and the URI, also known as a URL, provides a unique address where the pages can be easily found.

In 1994 Andreesen formed Netscape Communications with entrepreneur Jim Clark. They led the company to create Netscape Navigator, a widely used internet browser that at the time was faster and more sophisticated than any of the competition. By 1995, Navigator had around 10 million global users.

The history of the Internet has its origin in information theory and the efforts of scientists and engineers to build and interconnect computer networks. The Internet Protocol Suite, the set of rules used to communicate between networks and devices on the Internet, arose from research and development in the United States and involved international collaboration, particularly with researchers in the United Kingdom and France.[1][2][3][4]

Several early packet-switched networks emerged in the 1970s which researched and provided data networking. ARPA projects, international working groups and commercial initiatives led to the development of various standards and protocols for internetworking, in which multiple separate networks could be joined into a network of networks. Bob Kahn, now at DARPA, and Vint Cerf, at Stanford University, published research in 1974 that evolved into the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), two protocols of the Internet protocol suite. The design included concepts from the French CYCLADES project directed by Louis Pouzin.

By 1968,[36] Davies had begun building the Mark I packet-switched network to meet the needs of the multidisciplinary laboratory and prove the technology under operational conditions.[37][38] The NPL local network and the ARPANET were the first two networks in the world to use packet switching,[39] and the NPL network was the first to use high-speed links.[40] Many other packet switching networks built in the 1970s were similar "in nearly all respects" to Davies' original 1965 design.[41] The NPL team carried out simulation work on packet networks, including datagram networks, and research into internetworking and computer network security.[42][43] The Mark II version which operated from 1973 used a layered protocol architecture.[40] In 1976, 12 computers and 75 terminal devices were attached,[44] and more were added until the network was replaced in 1986.

The CYCLADES packet switching network was a French research network designed and directed by Louis Pouzin.[67] He developed the network to explore alternatives to the early ARPANET design and to support internetworking research. First demonstrated in 1973, it was the first network to implement the end-to-end principle conceived by Donald Davies and make the hosts responsible for reliable delivery of data, rather than the network itself, using unreliable datagrams. Concepts implemented in this network influenced TCP/IP architecture.[68][69][67]

Based on international research initiatives, particularly the contributions of Rémi Després, packet switching network standards were developed by the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (ITU-T) in the form of X.25 and related standards.[70][71] X.25 is built on the concept of virtual circuits emulating traditional telephone connections. In 1974, X.25 formed the basis for the SERCnet network between British academic and research sites, which later became JANET, the United Kingdom's high-speed national research and education network (NREN). The initial ITU Standard on X.25 was approved in March 1976.[72] Existing networks, such as Telenet in the United States adopted X.25 as well as new public data networks, such as DATAPAC in Canada and TRANSPAC in France.[70][71] X.25 was supplemented by the X.75 protocol which enabled internetworking.

With so many different network methods, something was needed to unify them. Louis Pouzin initiated the CYCLADES project in 1971, building on the work of Donald Davies. In his work, Pouzin coined the term catenet for concatenated network. An International Networking Working Group formed in 1972; active members included Vint Cerf from Stanford University, Alex McKenzie from BBN, Donald Davies and Roger Scantlebury from NPL, and Louis Pouzin and Hubert Zimmermann from IRIA.[76][77][78] Later that year, Bob Kahn of DARPA recruited Vint Cerf to work with him on the problem. Bob Metcalfe at Xerox PARC outlined the idea of Ethernet. By 1973, these groups had worked out a fundamental reformulation, where the differences between network protocols were hidden by using a common internetwork protocol, and instead of the network being responsible for reliability, as in the ARPANET, the hosts became responsible.[1][3]

Kahn and Cerf published their ideas in May 1974,[79] which incorporated concepts implemented by Louis Pouzin and Hubert Zimmermann in the CYCLADES network.[80] The specification of the resulting protocol, the Transmission Control Program, was published as .mw-parser-output cite.citationfont-style:inherit; .citation qquotes:"\"""\"""'""'".mw-parser-output .citation:targetbackground-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133).mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free abackground:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration abackground:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription abackground:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px .cs1-ws-icon abackground:url("//")right 0.1em center/12px .cs1-codecolor:inherit;background:inherit;border:none; .cs1-hidden-errordisplay:none; .cs1-maintdisplay:none;color:#3a3; .citation .mw-selflinkfont-weight:inheritRFC 675 by the Network Working Group in December 1974.[81] It contains the first attested use of the term internet, as a shorthand for internetwork. This software was monolithic in design using two simplex communication channels for each user session.

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