History of the Internet

History of the Internet

History Of Email

History Of The World Wide Web

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The Internet has completely altered the way the world communicates with each other. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio and the computer all seem like they were leading to this stage – the Internet. 

The Internet has indeed minimized the importance of geographical distance like no other means of communication preceding it. The discovery or evolution of the Internet began with the early vision of J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in August 1962 when he spoke of a globally interconnected set of computers. He envisioned these computers being able to exchange information and data from any site in the world. Much like what the Internet is today!

Licklider moved to DARPA or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in late 1962 to give shape to his vision. The real breakthrough occurred when Kleinrock – once again from MIT (and later UCLA) – developed the theory of packet switching. He proposed that for computers to exchange data effectively it was necessary to communicate using packets of data rather than circuits. The circuit switched telephone system was totally inadequate according to him. Packet switching basically meant that data was split into small packets when being transmitted and then reassembled at the destination. Packets could also be compressed for better speed and encrypted for security. In addition, it would be possible to send the same packet to multiple recipients. 

In 1965, this theory was confirmed when Lawrence Roberts (MIT again!) connected a computer in Massachusetts to a computer in California and made the computers ‘talk’. He used a dial up telephone line to do so. This experiment confirmed the feasibility of wide area computer networks and also that this was possible only using packet switching.

Roberts joined DARPA in 1966 and put together the plan for the ARPANET. When Roberts presented his plan for ARPANET he also discovered similar research on packet switching by RAND and NLP. The ARPANET moved forward quickly and by 1969 four computers had been connected together in what is today known as the first incidence of the existing Internet. Computers were soon added to this nascent network and the ARPANET began to grow. It used a standardized NCP or Network Control Protocol as its transmission protocol from 1962 to 1982 when NCP was replaced by TCP/IP. 

It was in October 1972 that the ARPANET went public. Kahn demonstrated the ARPANET at the ICCC or International Computer Communication Conference. It was also around the same time when the hot concept of email was introduced. 

Now that the Internet or ARPANET had come into existence, the questions as to its usability arose. Email and discussion boards spurred the growth of the Internet as did USENET. Several military computers connected together formed the first use of the Internet for defense purposes. Also, all major schools and universities across the United States found this a convenient method for sharing information and research data and were connected to each other. The University College Of London, England joined this network in 1973 and became the first-ever intercontinental connection to do so.

As email, discussion boards and chat rooms found more and more popularity, it was Tim Berners-Lee that took the Internet to a new level with the WWW or World Wide Web and the development of the browser.

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