Internet is basically a need for life like food and water. It has become a utility as well as facility for e-mail, messaging, banking, browsing, chatting, gaming, streaming, downloading, file sharing, and many services.
Undoubtedly, we are fully dependent on the internet for many tasks whether it is communication, gaining knowledge, education, information, entertainment, business, etc.
But many people don’t know the origin of the internet that is was not for the normal public, and general use. Also, its name was not Internet at the time of invention.
- What is Internet
- Invention and History
- Developments at Early Stage
- Father of Internet
- Evolution of NSFNET
- E-Mail Service
- Adoption in Whole World
- Growth Rate of Internet
- The Early Internet Timeline
1. What is Internet?
Internet is the portmanteau of two words Interconnected Network as it is a network of all the computers connected to each other. Some people also call it International Network due to its global adoption and use in every country.
It is the network of networks through which we can share any kind of information from one computer to another computer.
The internet is one of the best and fastest means of communication which provides many services such as e-mail, web, social networking.
Internet is a useful facility for the whole world whether an institute, an office, a government entity, a small store, a big enterprise, or for personal use. Altogether, it acts as a fuel which runs the vehicle of life every day.
2. Invention & History
Main Reason of Invention
If we talk about the invention of the internet, chiefly the reason behind it was the cold war between two great countries that gave birth to this worldwide medium of communication.
From 1939 to 1945, mankind was facing a lot of trouble and struggle for freedom during the Second World War and there was only hatred and destruction everywhere.
When it all finished in 1945, till then America became a nuclear-powered country. By the year 1949, Russia had also successfully tested nuclear weapons. There was a cold war between America and Russia since the end of World War.
America didn’t want to break the ceasefire of course and was afraid of a nuclear attack. So the American government wanted to develop a communication technology that can connect all the computers of government and army to establish a connection and exchange important messages at the time of emergency.
Although, the US army was using walkie-talkies for communication at that time. But it had a limitation that the range was very less and walkie-talkies operate on radio signals.
If Russia attacked America by a nuclear weapon, it failed the communication system of army because the radio waves could not travel in that situation.
Formation of ARPA
Firstly, The Department of Defense formed a committee on 7th February 1958 which was ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency) or some people call it DARPA where ‘D’ stands for Defense.
The engineers and computer scientists of this committee spread underground cables and finally developed a network whose name was ARPANET. It was the base of the information at that time.
Initially, it was the network of four computers which were at four different places-
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
- University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
- Stanford Research Institute (SRI International)
- University of Utah
First Message Sent on Internet
When they established the connection successfully, the network of ARPANET was ready for testing. On 29th October 1969, the first-ever message certainly on the internet was sent from the University of California (UCLA) to the supercomputer of Stanford Research Institute.
The text in the message was short and simple which was ‘LOGIN’. But, the receiving end got only first two letters of the message which were ‘L and O’.
It means that the transmission became possible but the information was incomplete due to data loss even in a small message.
The members of ARPA kept having more trials with time, but some of the data was exhausting before reaching the destination. Everybody was explicitly looking for a solution to develop the connection for proper communication.
3. Developments at Early Stage
To develop the medium of communication, all the committee members of ARPA started to find the solution to this problem of data loss.
In 1973, Mr. Vinton Cerf (a computer scientist of Stanford) and Mr. Bob Kahn (a member of ARPA) developed a new technology for the transmission of messages over the internet.
This technology was TCP/IP Protocol. It is a set of few rules where TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol and IP stands for Internet Protocol.
TCP/IP protocol is a standard method to send any data or information over the internet which uses packet switching techniques. What happens here is whenever we want to send a message, it breaks into small chunks called packets.
Each packet practically contains maximum1500 bytes of information. The role of TCP is to assign a port number to each packet and IP assigns the address of destination computer to each packet where the message needs to be sent.
Since all the packets have the information about their port number and final destination, every packet can travel through different routes at the same time and all the packets reach the same destination.
All the packets reassemble at the receiving end and display the whole message without any data loss.
4. Father of Internet
At the time of the developing stage, the ARPA members used to call TCP/IP protocol as Department of Defense Model as it was developing in ARPA under the department of defense.
In 1983, the department of defense adopted the TCP/IP protocol as a standard method for all military computer networking operations.
The ARPA members brought many improvements and updates to enhance the transmission with time, but we still use TCP/IP protocol for the transmission of messages on the internet.
It is still the best way to transfer data. Hence Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn are known as The Father of Internet for this invention.
5. Evolution of NSFNET
After declaring TCP/IP as a standard for military communication the flow of messages successfully began in the US army with the help of ARPANET. The American government also wanted to spread this network for the research purpose in different universities.
In 1980, National Science Foundation (established in 1950 by US government) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET) and started to develop a network to connect some supercomputing centers, government agencies, and research institutes.
The network initiated its operation from 1986 and because this network was developed by NSF so it was named NSFNET. The maximum speed of the NSF network at that time was 56 kbps which was later enhanced to 1.5 Mbps.
6. E-Mail Service
In 1971 an expert computer programmer Ray Tomlinson invented the first e-mail (electronic mail) technology for quick exchange of messages.
It was able to send mail across the computers of different companies and different configurations using the ‘@’ symbol to define the name of receiver’s machine.
The e-mail system used Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) for the transmission of messages which was later updated to Extended SMTP in 2008.
The reason behind the popularity of e-mail was that it was a faster mode of communication and it had a feature to attach files with the text message such as an image or document etc.
Today the e-mail service is widely used as a formal means of communication in all the educational institutes, business entities, government or private organization as well as home purpose, etc.
7. Adoption in Whole World
NSFNET was being used by only academic and educational centers and was found very beneficial for research purposes only. To ensure its proper and broadest possibility NSF proposed an NSFNET Acceptable Use Policy to prevent its commercial from purpose.
There were many regional networks developed in this duration and kept on connecting with each other with the help of NSF.
In 1989 the first commercial internet service provider arrived in the United States and National Science Foundation removed its restrictions and allowed the access of NSFNET for commercial use.
In 1990, ARPANET was decommissioned and the network started its expansion in normal public. On 30th April 1995, NSFNET was decommissioned and the network was fully commercialized.
Since this growing network was connecting all the computers with each other, hence this ‘Interconnected Network’ of computers was called the ‘Internet’.
8. Growth Rate of Internet
The internet was fully commercialized and became available for normal users from the year 1995 and till then some internet service providers have started to spread the network outside the US and connected all the countries.
From around 16 million connections in 1995, the total number of internet users has reached 4.3 billion in the year 2019 which is more than 62% of the whole population of the world.
9. The Early Internet Timeline
|1963||Idea to form ARPA committee by Department of Defense|
|1969||ARPANET developed and tested for the first time|
|1971||E-mail service introduced by Ray Tomilson|
|1973||Transmission Control was Protocol published|
|1980||NSF funded CSNET to develop network for research|
|1982||TCP/IP standardized for ARPANET|
|1986||NSFNET initiated its operations with 56 kbps speed|
|1988||NSFNET upgraded to 1.5 Mbps speed link|
|1989||First internet service provider arrived in USA|
|1991||Birth of World Wide Web by Tim Berners lee|
|1992||NSFNET upgraded to 45 Mbps speed link|
|1995||NSFNET decommissioned and internet was commercialized|
Internet has been developed so much with time. After its commercialization, the first mobile with internet connectivity was Nokia 9000 Communicator.
The proposed speed of ARPANET was 50kbps. We upgraded to higher speeds with the new generations of internet (2G, GPRS, EDGE, 3G) and today we are using 4G and going to switch to 5G soon.
Internet has become an important need and basic human right today. The emerging Internet of Things technology is going to transform the world and the future of technology will become brighter. Our devices will talk and connect to each other just like us.
Internet data travels over the world through fiber optic cables that are lying under the sea and connecting all the countries and continents. These cables transfer the data with the speed of light.
Internet Service Providers are those companies that provide internet connectivity through the infrastructure of cables and connect a region with the other region. There are 3 levels of ISP. Tier-1 has infrastructure between two countries or continents, Tier-2 has infrastructure within a country, and Tier-3 has infrastructure in a limited region.
Internet was started in India on 15th August 1995 by VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited). It was the Tier-1 company of Indian government.
In 2008, Tata Group acquired VSNL and currently Tata Communications is the only Tier-1 ISP in India that is providing internet connectivity to Tier-2 companies such as Airtel, Jio, Idea, BSNL.
Nobody owns the Internet. It is equally available for everybody. There is a non-profit organization named ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that regulates the operations, maintenance, developments, and registries of the internet.
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