Birth of the Internet
(Located at http://library.advanced.org/27887/gather/history/internet.shtml)
Internet refers to an interconnection of networks. It is a connection among computer networks that provides direct communication among the connected computers. It is composed of multiple networks that are combined by a common protocol that performs the addressing function for networks. Intranets are smaller Internets utilized in a single organization.
The Internet began as a Cold War military technology. It was a way for military computers to communicate over long distances. Other institutions, such as universities and hospitals began to associate their computers through the Internet during the 1970s and 1980s. With the arrival of the World Wide Web in the late 1980s, consumers and commercial businesses interacted with the Internet. The quantity of computer users getting "connected" increased rapidly after the first appearance of browsers in the 1990s. By early 1996, more than 25 million computers in over 180 countries were interconnected through the Internet and it continued to grow at a dramatic rate. More and more people use the network for "information", a theoretical goal of computer communications to grant businesses, libraries, homes, schools, and any other institution universal access to valuable information.
After the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik1 (the first craft on the earth's orbit), President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the need for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This organization brought together some of the most brilliant people of America. They were the ones who designed the United States' first satellite successfully in 18 months. Many years later, this agency began to concentrate on communications technology and computer networking.
Dr. J.C.R. Licklider was chosen to lead ARPA's research in developing the military's use of computer technology during 1962. Licklider's goal was to make the government's employment of computers more dynamic. Licklider saw the necessity to move ARPA's contracts from the secluded sector to universities, and to establish the basis for what would later become the "ARPAnet".
The ARPANET, Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency was created by the Bolt Beranek and Newman Company (BBN) twelve years after the Sputnik1. ARPANET's primitive aim was to design a network secure enough to oppose a nuclear attack during the Cold War. The Internet was initiated by the ARPANET in 1969 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The agency's objective was to establish a connection, through computers, that would allow scientists at different universities to share research and information.
The first switch that provided communication utilized was developed at BBN, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but ARPANET mostly used packet switching developed by Rand Corporation in 1962 to route messages. Packet switching organized information into "packets." Each packet was held user, addressing and error checking information. This kind of communication switching allowed the usage of a same data line by various computers. It also allowed data to transfer to other computers if one computer went down in the packet network.
In 1974, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), the protocol used on the Internet, was developed. This Internet Protocol is the fundamental software employed to control the Internet. This protocol specifies how data is routed from one computer to the another. The Transmission Control Protocol verifies whether or not the information arrived at the designated computer and if not, makes sure that the information is sent again. American computer scientist Vinton Cerf built these protocols in 1973. This project was sponsored by the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
During the early years of the 1980s, the Internet became more popular as more sites were added to ARPANET. Even though the ARPANET had shut down by 1984, the usage of the Internet was spreading. The Internet was transferred from the ARPANET to the National Science Foundation. By this year an estimation of 500 computers were "connected" (using the Internet).
The Early Internet
The Internet was completely textual and in black and white. All tasks had to be done by using commands of computer language, such as UNIX, developed by Bell Laboratories in 1972. Users actually had to learn computer language commands to be able to use the Internet unless they possessed certain computer skills. However, the appearances of new resources simplified the use of this network. The coming of the World Wide Web (WWW), developed by English computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in the year of 1989, caused major impact in the advancement of computer science. The Web is a group of files, called Web sites or Web pages. It made "surfing" the Internet more simple and interesting. Each of these web sites includes pictures, buttons, and highlighted words or phrases to click on to issue commands. One did not require computer skills. There was no need to learn computer language commands. Information was now available in various forms: sound, graphics, text, and video; and in diverse colors.
In 1993, browsers were included in the network. The Mosaic browser was designed at the University of Illinois as an easier way to access the World Wide Web. The browsers were menu-driven, for example: Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, which provide the users a "menu" of choices; or graphical "buttons" that provide computer users with an simpler way of telling the computer what to do.
Illustration 1-1 is an example of the way the Internet window might appear. This illustration also presents the different graphics, "buttons," and words or phrases used as shortcuts to issue commands. The distinct pull-down menus (file, edit, help, etc.) had the function of facilitating the user's task. To issue a command the user simply had to click on the drop-down menu and it would display a number of commands that a user could choose from.
There are many Internet services. In the early 90s, people were able to move from web site to web site (browsers); connect their computers to the Internet with Home Pages (hosting); talk through the Web (HTML); and store and receive messages (email).
A Web host is the main computer at which documents that users read on the WWW are located. Hosts are the computers through which people "publish" or show credentials on the World Wide Web. These hosts are generally located at corporations, cities, large universities, and Internet service providers.
It is a tool used to write documents that are to be published on the Web. The HTML was accessible in 1991. This word processing software has its own fixed HTML commands that are used for creating Web sites.
Also called the electronic mail. It is a "mail" based on computers; a computerized mail. It allows the computer to send, store and receive messages. The engineer, Ray Tomlinson, created it in 1972, at BBN in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
No one organization actually owns the Internet. It is just a worldwide arrangement of connecting computer networks. However, it is run by many organizations, such as: Network Solutions Inc., Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the Internet Society (ISOC), etc.