The Creation of the Internet
The internet that we know and love today has become a necessity in day-to-day life. It’s an entity that most people and businesses feel they can’t live without. It seems to have been here forever, and anyone under the age of 25 won’t be able to imagine a time when the internet didn’t exist.
However, not too long ago, the internet hadn’t been invented. Managing today without it is unimaginable but only one generation ago, the wheels of industry turned without the benefits of the web, and social networking was something you did at parties.
No one single person can be credited with creating the internet. Rather, it exists thanks to the dedication of a number of different people, who have contributed to its development since the 1960s. The first of these was Leonard Kleinrock, an American computer scientist who is credited with coming up with the initial idea of the internet.
On 31st May 1961, 27-year-old Kleinrock (a professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California, Los Angeles) published a paper entitled, Information Flow in Large Communication Nets. His ideas laid the theoretical foundation of computer networking. During his time at the university, he was also instrumental in developing the ARPANET – the forerunner of the internet.
In 1962, American computer scientist Joseph “JCR” Licklider became director of the Information Processing Techniques Office, where he revealed his vision of a galactic network. In June 1966, Robert Taylor became director of IPTO. Combining the ideas of Licklider and Kleinrock, he was in charge of the ARPANET project until 1969, furthering its advancement.
In 1968, Elmer Shapiro chaired the first meeting of the Network Working Group at the Stanford Research Institute in California. The topic under discussion was about getting hosts to communicate with each other. In December 1968, the resulting SRI report, A Study of Computer Network Design Parameters, led ARPA employees Barry Wessler and Lawrence Roberts to create the Interface Message Processor specifications. The contract to build the IMP subnetwork was awarded to Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc.
First internet message
The University of California (UCLA) sent out a press release on 3rd July 1969 to introduce the public to the internet, although it wasn’t something they would be using for several more years. The first network equipment (a network switch and an Interface Message Processor) was sent to the UCLA in August 1969.
At 10.30pm on 29th October 1969, Kleinrock sent the first ever internet message from his laboratory at UCLA. It was called “LO” – an abbreviated form of “LOGIN”. However, when Charley S Kline (a student who studied computer science under Kleinrock) tried to log in, the SRI system crashed, so the message was never completed. The problem was soon resolved.
People may think email is a relatively modern invention, but the first network email was sent as long ago as 1971. Ray Tomlinson was a pioneering US computer programmer. He set up the first email program using the ARPANET system. It became the first system that sent messages across the network to other users.
Transmission Control Protocol
In 1973, American electrical engineer Robert “Bob” Kahn and internet pioneer Vinton Cerf designed Transmission Control Protocol. In December 1974, they published it in RFC 675, with the help of Cerf’s students, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine. Most people consider Kahn and Cerf as the inventors of the internet.
As the first commercial version of ARPANET, Telenet was launched in 1974. It was considered the first Internet Service Provider. Electrical engineer Bob Metcalfe conceived and developed the idea of Ethernet and in 1977, the 80-103A Modem was introduced by Dale Heatherington and Dennis Hayes.
In 1978, TCP split into TCP/IP, enabling it to support real-time traffic. It remains the primary protocol used on the internet today. However, the first commercial Internet Service Provider called “The World” wasn’t introduced until 11 years later in the US.
Published online on 6th August 1991, the first website was recognised as info.cern.ch after being developed at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee. His WWW became available to everyone on 23rd August and was the culmination of decades of research and development by many people. Without the WWW and the technology used to develop it, today’s internet would not be in existence.
The internet provides an endless supply of knowledge, enabling information to be shared with anyone across the world. It gives access to a global workforce, with collaboration and working from home making life easier. The internet is an ideal place to sell goods or services to make money, whether you’re a business or a private seller using online auction sites.
It helps charities to raise funds, as supporters can make an online donation at the click of a button. In leisure terms, the internet provides an endless stream of entertainment with access to films, videos, live online TV, music, video games and social networking sites. People can catch up and keep in touch with friends and relatives and follow businesses, organisations, charities, bands and celebrities in real time.
The internet has revolutionised the way in which the world does business on a global and local level. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it enhances every aspect of life and helps with the efficient running of a company – including marketing, gathering data on competitors, recruiting employees and speeding up communication. It gives access to online banking at any time.
In short, the internet is crucial to daily life!
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