The Creation of the Internet: The Early Days

Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by Sean B

Before the creation of the internet or even computers, as we know them today, voice and data communication was made possible from one location to another using circuit switching technology. This initial communication technology was entirely basic, and the system worked by an operator in the exchange creating, or “switching on” a direct electronic connection between the two telephone sets or fax machine trying to connect. This system of communication was challenged by Paul Baran of the RAND Corporation, who intended to create a system that could remain functional even in the case of partial destruction of the infrastructure in any event of a catastrophe.

Paul’s idea was followed by Bob Taylor, who successfully lobbied with the director of the US Government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and got funding amounting to $1 million to research on and develop an internet connectivity network capable of processing and transmitting data between remote computers. It was the precursor to the internet as we know it today. Let’s see what happened following the first successful electronic connection of two computers in 1969 and how things developed to take the form of the internet we are familiar with today.

Since the creation of the internet, the reach of it has grown. Now the reach of the internet is massive as shown on this map.

The Creation of the Internet: A Brief Timeline

The major events in the creation of the internet, after the first remote connection between two computers was established, are the following:

1969: On the 29th of October 1969, nodes were installed at the University of California Los Angeles’s Network Measurement Center, Stanford Research Institute, University of Utah, and University of California Santa Barbara. The first attempted message was “LO,” which was sent by a student named Charles Kline to the SRI system but was never received, because of the SRI system crashing.

1972: The next important milestone in the development of the internet as we know it today was the introduction of the first network email service by Ray Tomlinson from BBN.

1973: This was the year when the word internet was invented. The first instance of an internet connection was the link established between the University College of London and the ARPANET.

1974: Telenet came forward as the first internet service provider (ISP) after they implemented a commercially viable version of ARPANET. This was the same year when the first formal transmission control protocol was developed by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, which was called “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection.”

1976: This was the year when Queen Elizabeth II sent her first email on the internet.

1981: A grant was established by the National Science Foundation to develop a Computer Science Network (CSNET) in order to make networking between different computers and users possible for enhancing the advancement of computer science.

1982: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), commonly referred to as TCP/IP, were implemented as the communication standards on the ARPANET.

1983: The domain name system (DNS) was developed to make the naming of websites simpler than a string of numbers. This was the time when the domain extensions like .edu, .gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, and .int were introduced.

1985: The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1985, paving the way for large-scale development of the internet for the common man and not just the scientists and military. The first domain was also registered in this year by Symbolics Computer Corp.

1986: NSFNET, the network of the National Science Foundation, went online and connected with supercomputer hubs at a speed of 56,000 bits per second. The connection speed kept getting better and better, and slowly all the computer networks of the United States were linked together, forming a network of networks with the NSFNET being the backbone.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher from Europe’s nuclear research institute CERN and a key figure in the creation of the internet, developed the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a language still widely used in the realm of internet communications.

1991: As a continuation of Lee’s work, CERN made the World Wide Web available to the public.

1992: The first audio and video files were transferred across the internet. Surfing the internet was a term that was popularized in this era.

1993: The White House and the United Nations take it to the internet, marking the completion of 600 websites on the internet. By this time, there were more than 2 million connected computers on the internet.

1994 to 1997: The internet’s development during this period was mainly the integration of the internet in the computers people used and their operating systems. CERN and Microsoft tried their best at making the best web browser.

1998: Google emerged as one of the leading internet search engines, and it totally changed the way people interacted with the internet.

2000: The .com bubble started, and internet services like Yahoo and AOL saw the height of their operational life.

An internet terminal in an airport.

The Pioneering Websites

Among the most important developments in the creation of the internet, the first website ever was developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991 for CERN, and you can even use it today at home.cern. Other pioneering websites were the following. Other important websites, including some that are still widely used today include the following:

World Wide Web Virtual Library: It was originally a web catalog developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991 and contained books arranged by their subject.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center: Paul Kunz from SLAC met Tim Berners-Lee and used his research to create a website for SLAC.

Bloomberg.com: was developed in 1992 and provided information including market status, currency exchange rates, news, and Bloomberg Terminal Subscriptions.

The Internet Movie Database: IMDb was formed in 1990, launched their website in 1993, and it was hosted by the computer science department of Cardiff University in Wales.

MTV: The music television network launched its website in 1993 it was initiated by VJ Adam Curry.

Yahoo: The American based web service was launched in 1994 and became one of the very first instant messaging services on the internet.

Google: This multinational technology company, specialized in internet-related services, was launched in 1998, and it changed the way people used and interacted with the internet forever.

In Conclusion

Since the creation of the internet it has come a long way, starting from the first message sent from one computer to another on the ARPANET to the point where billions of messages are exchanged across billions of devices every day. The initial working and capabilities of the internet might appear to be humble, but all of them were important steppingstones in the development of the internet and it taking the form as we know it today.

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