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The Internet: A Brief History


Internet adress field on a web browser
Gregor Schuster/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Ever wonder how the Internet got started? It's something we use every day, and most of us probably take it for granted. In this brief historical profile, we're going to take a look at a few of the more memorable milestones that have made this worldwide phenomenon into the network we know and love today.

  • 1957:The United States Department of Defense formed a small agency called ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop military science and technology.
  • 1961-1965:The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) started to research sharing information in small, phone-linked networks. ARPA is one of their main sponsors.
  • 1966: The first ARPANET plan is unveiled by Larry Roberts of MIT. Packet switching technology is getting off the ground, and small university networks are beginning to be developed.
  • 1969:The Department of Defense commissions the fledgling ARPAnet for network research. The first official network nodes were UCLA, Standford Research Institute,UCSB, and the University of Utah. The first node to node message was sent from UCLA to SRI.
  • 1971: more nodes join the network, bringing the total to 15. These new nodes include Harvard and NASA.
  • 1973: ARPAnet goes global when the the University College of London and Norway's Royal Radar Establishment join up.
  • 1974: Network intercommunication is becoming more sophisticated; data is now transmitted more quickly and efficiently with the design of TCP (Transmission Control Program).
  • 1976: Unix is developed at AT and T; Queen Elizabeth sends out her first email message.
  • 1979: USENET, the mother of all networked discussion groups, is developed.
  • 1982: Internet technology protocols are developed, commonly known as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol). This leads to one of the first definitions of an "internet" being a connected set of networks.
  • 1984: Number of hosts is now up to 1000, with more being added every day.
  • 1985: The first registered domain is Symbolics.com.
  • 1987: Number of hosts breaks the 10,000 mark.
  • 1988: First large-scale Internet worm affects thousands of Internet hosts.
  • 1991: Tim Berners-Lee develops the World Wide Web.
  • 1993: The World Wide Web's annual growth is now at a staggering 341,634%.
  • 1994: ARPAnet celebrates 25th anniversary.
  • 1995-1997: RealAudio introduces Internet streaming technology, dial-up systems emerge (America Online, Compuserve), the Internet backbone continues to be strengthened with the addition of MCI, Microsoft and Netscape fight for WWW browser supremacy, and there are now more than 70,000 mailing lists.
  • 1998-present:The Internet continues to experience staggering growth. More people use the Internet to get connected to others, find information, conduct business, and share information than ever before in history.

Source: A Brief History of the Internet

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