The History of Internet

The first computers were devices designed to do repeated numerical operations previously performed by hand. While computers continued to progress, they were largely utilized for mathematical and scientific computations, message encoding, and decoding. When the first-word processor was invented in the 1970s, computer technology was finally applied to printed communication. Simultaneously, computers became faster, more powerful, and smaller, and computer networks were established to connect them.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense, in collaboration with researchers working on military projects at research centers and universities across the country, created the ARPANET in 1960 to share data and processing time of uniform computer connections over specially equipped telephone lines and satellite links. Any digital signal, including video pictures, sounds, graphics, animations, and text, can be carried via the Internet. As a result, it has grown in popularity as a communication medium.

What is the history of the Internet?

The Internet's history may be traced back to 1957 when the former Soviet Union launched its first satellite, Sputnik I, forcing US President Dwight Eisenhower to establish the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to reclaim the technical lead. The objective of DARPA was to improve science and technology for military purposes. In 18 months, DARPA created its first successful satellite.

As part of its broader objective, it began to focus on computer networking and communication technologies by the end of 1960, primarily to develop communication linkages between research centers and universities around the country. ARPANET was launched in 1969, with 15 nodes and 23 hosts by 1971. Ray Torplinson devised e-mail in 1972 to convey communications across a dispersed network.

The University College of London and the Royal Radar Establishment made the first international link to the developing Internet in 1973. (Norway). DARPA launched a research program the same year to examine strategies and technologies for interconnecting various types of packet networks. The goal was to create communication protocols based on 'packet-switching' that would allow networked computers to interact across many geographically scattered sites in real time. The 'packet-switching' method would divide the data to be conveyed into small packets that might travel multiple paths to their destination -. A network like this may resist a partial nuclear assault, as was anticipated during the Cold War.

Furthermore, intercepting data traveling on the internet in packets would be challenging. This was known as the (Internetting project, and the network system that resulted from the study was known as the 'Internet.' After the two primary protocols were produced: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the set of protocols built during this research endeavor became known as the TCPIIP Protocol Suite (IP).

In 1975, the Defence Communication Agency (DCA) took over operating management of the nascent Internet. The Unix to Unix Copy Program (UUCP) was created in 1976 at Bell Labs (AT & T). The year 1977 saw the evolution of postal standards (RFC 733). Usenet was founded the same year by Duke and the University of North Carolina using UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Program) (UNC). In 1977, DARPA also formed the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB). CSNET (Computer Science Network) was founded in 1981 by a group of colleges and businesses in the United States. The National Science Foundation funded CSNET to provide networking services. CSNET pioneered the use of TCPIIP over X.2S across commercial, public data networks, as well as the Phonenet MMDF protocol for telephone-based electronic mail relaying.

The CSNET server was an early example of a white pages directory service, and its software is still in use at many sites. CSNET had over 200 participant sites and international connections to about fifteen countries at its peak. Another significant breakthrough that year was the establishment of BITNET (Because it is a time network). BITNET began as a cooperative network at the City University of New York, with the initial link to the University of Yale. BITNET used the IBM RSCS protocol suite to connect participant sites through leased lines of the initial BITNET connections linked IBM mainframes at university data centers.

BITNET has always been multidisciplinary, having users from many academic disciplines. It has also supplied its consumers with various unique services (e.g., LISTSERV). BITNET and its sister networks in other regions of the world (for example, EARN in Europe) already have thousands of participant sites. BITNET has recently created a backbone that leverages the TCPIIP protocols with RSCS-based applications operating atop TCP.

The Growth of the Internet

The year 1982 was pivotal in the establishment and development of the Internet. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (lP) suite (often known as TCPIIP) was approved as the official protocol suite for ARPANET by the Defense Communication Agency (DCA) and DARPA. This resulted in one of the first definitions of the Internet as a networked system employing TCPIIP. The Eunet (European UNIX Network) was established the same year to provide e-mail and Usenet services in Europe.

In the same year, the External Gateway Protocol (EGP) was established, which provides methods for connecting non-TCP/IP networks to the Internet. In 1982, the University of Wisconsin created a 'Name Server,' which enabled the translation of names into strings of numbers. This advancement resulted in the practice of giving domain names to websites, which is still in use today. Another notable event in 1982 was the division of ARPANET into ARPANET and MILNET. The MlLNET was eventually linked to the Defence Data Network, established in 1981.

The introduction of desktop computers in 1982 significantly changed from having a single, huge mainframe computer connected to the Internet at each location to have the complete local area network connected to the Internet. The Internet Activities Board (IAB) was established in the same year to manage the TCP/IP protocol suite's growth and give research recommendations to the Internet community. Domain Name 'Servers' as distributed databases were created in 1984 to assist domain name-to-IP address conversion. The transition from numeric addresses to naming conventions was extremely beneficial in popularising the Internet. For example, is far easier to remember than its numerical equivalent.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States launched the creation of the NSFNET in 1986, which currently serves as a primary backbone communication service for the Internet. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) each donated additional backbone infrastructure in the shape of the NSFNET and ESNET. The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) was created to improve news performance via TCP/IP.

The NSF signed a collaboration arrangement with Merit Networks, Inc. in 1987 to administer the NSFNet backbone. Later, Merit, IBM, and MCI formed Advanced Network and Services, Inc. (ANS). BITNET and CSNET combined the next year to become the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN). CSNET service was discontinued in the fall of 1991, having played an essential early role in providing academic networking services. CREN's operational expenditures are covered by dues paid by its member organizations, which is crucial. In 1988, a computer virus impacted around 6,000 of the total 60,000 hosts on the Internet for the first time. The Internet's vulnerability and the need for increased security were recognized for the first time. In response, DARPA established the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). The Department of Defense adopted Open Systems Interconnection in the same year (OSI).

In 1989, the total number of hosts on the Internet reached 100,000. In addition, the year saw the first relays between a commercial electronic mail carrier and the Internet. MCI Mail was linked via the Corporation for the National Research Initiative (CNRI) and CompuServe via Ohio State University. The merging of CSNET and BITNET resulted in the formation of the Corporation for Research and Education Networking (CREN). In 1989, the lAB established the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF).

Several additional nations joined the NSFNet in the same year, including Australia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. In Europe, important international backbones such as NORDUNET and others connect over 100,000 computers across many networks. The Internet system began to include support for different protocol suites into its core networking architecture over its expansion, notably after 1989. The system's current emphasis is on multi-protocol internetworking, integrating the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) protocols into the architecture.

Recent Developments

OSI protocol implementations became available in the early 1990s. By the end of 1991, the Internet had expanded to encompass over 5,000 networks in over a dozen countries, serving over 700,000 host computers utilized by over 4,000,000 people. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Commercial network operators in the United States and Europe began to offer Internet backbone and access support to interested parties on a competitive basis. 'World' ( provided commercial Internet connection for the first time, becoming the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) providing Internet dial-up access. Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Greece, India, Ireland, South Korea, Spain, and Switzerland were among the nations connected to the Internet in 1990.

Brewster Kahle created Wide Area Information Servers (WAISs), which Thinking Machines Corporation commercialized in 1991. These servers served as the foundation for indexes of material available on the Internet. These engines' indexing and search capabilities enable Internet users to discover information using keywords across massive resources available on the internet. The creation of the World Wide Web (WWW) by Tim Bemers-Lee at the CERN Laboratory in 1991 was the most significant advance in the history of the Internet. Mosaic, the original web browser, was introduced in 1993 and quickly took the Internet by storm. In 1993, several other nations were linked to the Internet. InterNIC was established in 1993 to provide particular Internet services such as a directory of database services, ii) registration services, and iii) information services.

The Internet (ARPANET) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1994. Internet shopping and e-commerce first appeared on the internet. The growth of Internet traffic became geometric, with NSFNet traffic exceeding 10 trillion bytes per month in 1994. WWW surpassed FTP to become the second most popular service on the internet, with Telnet falling to third place. Based on packet count, the WWW surpassed FTP as the service with the most traffic on NSFNet in March 1995.

Several classic dial-up systems in the United States, such as CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy, began to provide Internet connectivity for services other than e-mail, such as WWW, Gopher, and FTP. WWW and search engines were the decade's technology. In the late 1990s, new technologies such as client-based code loaded from web servers such as Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX developed. Research and development on the Internet and associated technologies are ongoing.


The US Federal Government has provided significant assistance to the Internet community, as the Internet was originally part of a federally financed research program and has now become an important element of the US research infrastructure. However, by the late 1980s, the population of Internet users and network components had grown globally and had begun to incorporate commercial services. Indeed, private networking facilities in educational and research institutions, corporations, and government organizations worldwide make up most of the system today.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023

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