History Of The Internet Timeline
In 2011 the Internet has become an integral part of everyone's lives. Although every business in America uses the Internet everyday most people still don't know how this technological wonder came to be. The timeline below outlines the creation of the Internet and many of the important milestones leading up to where we are today.
Early Evolution Of The Internet
The Internet first evolved by connecting several independent wide-area networks together. One of the most influential was ARPANET, which was funded by the department of defense. The first implementation of ARPANET was designed by a company called BBN. The protocols that were first used varied widely as the computers in the 1950s were rather new, and technologies, such as packet switching, were still largely theoretical. Packet switching was the critical development that lead to the rise of the Internet as we know it today.
Important Dates In Internet History
- 1960 - The invention of packet switching (PDF) technology.
- 1969 - The first message is sent over ARPANET on October 9th.
- 1971 - E-mail is introduced, and quickly suggested to be a waste of network resources.
- 1973 - Norway and England become the first international networks connected.
- 1979 - Usenet Established.
- 1982 - TCP/IP is made the protocol for ARPANET
- 1983 - ARPANET splits from MILNET.
- 1983 - The first name server is put into use, and users no longer need to know exact network paths.
- 1985 - Domain name servers, now totaling 1000 or more domains, eliminate the need to use IP addresses, allowing for domain names to be used as a nickname for a network.
- 1986 - The Internet 'backbone'(PDF) (the servers which guide internet traffic) are upgraded to handle 56kbs data.
- 1989 - With over 100,000 hosts, the Internet Backbone is upgraded to T1, able to handle up to 1.5 Mbps.
- 1990 - The first search engine, Archie, is released enabling people using the FTP protocol to index files. In essence Archie is also the first file sharing service.
- 1991 - Gopher protocol for file sharing is established.
- 1992 - Tim Berners-Lee Invents Hypertext, as well as the world's first Web Browser.
- 1993 - The highly graphical Mosaic Web Browser debuts. Mosaic plays a critical role in making the World Wide Web Accessible, and interesting, and is largely credited with making the Internet interesting to consumers.
- 1993 - InterNIC is established to manage registration of domain names, and the White House gets its own Web Site drawing massive media attention.
- 1994 - The first search engine for the World Wide Web, Yahoo, is established.
- 1995 - Numerous commercial High Speed Internet Providers are established making the Internet widely, and easily, accessible to non-government, and non-corporate users.
- 1996 - JAVA, a Sun Microsystems programming language, initially intended as an operating system for home appliances, enables complex web sites that interact in real time between the user and the server.
- 1996 - eBay is started, initially as a place for consumers to market items to each other. One of the first sales was that of a broken laser pointer.
- 1996 - WebTV is created as a way to browse the Internet on consumer televisions.
- 1996 - With so much consumer traffic, educational institutions establish internet2 is established solely to provide higher speed transmissions between educational institutions.
- 1997 - AltaVista debuts BabelFish (PDF), which forms the gamut of the technology behind Google Translate today.
- 1998 - Google is founded hoping to improve the quality of search results.
- 1998 - PayPal is formed for consumer to consumer payments. A natural fit for eBay it quickly becomes the payment method of choice for eBay customers.
- 1998 - Apple introduces the iMac as the world's first Internet centric computer.
- 1999 - Napster popularizes internet file sharing (PDF), especially of music, and popularizes the mp3 file format (which originally was the audio format of MPEG 2 video content). Several File Sharing Services, like Aimster, emerged trying to legally perform the same function.
- 2001 - Kaaza (PDF), a popular file sharing service, is first introduced.
- 2001 - Drawing on the popularity of the mp3 file format Apple introduces the iPod, designed initially only as an mp3 player, but also integrated with Apple's internet music store iTunes.
- 2002 - The creators of Kazaa develop Skype (PDF), initially called Sky Peer-To-Peer, as a means for using the internet to make phone calls.
- 2002 - Dropping its cumbersome and infrequently used payment services, eBay acquires PayPal making it the official way to pay for eBay purchases.
- 2005 - Skype is acquired by eBay who hopes to use peer-to-peer calls to aid in support of its consumer-to-consumer auctions.
- 2006 - The concept of cloud computing becomes increasingly popular, and numerous services try to implement cloud computing networks, and infrastructure.
- 2007 - Apple introduces the iPhone, which words with its cloud-like service MobileMe. The iPhone, to a far more sincere extent than iMac and iPod, becomes the most Internet centric mobile phone, quickly saturating data usage on AT&T's network.
- 2008 - NASA tests an internet-like deep space network.
- 2008 - With IP Addresses rapidly becoming scarce IP6 is developed to increase the number of available IP addresses.
- 2009 - Presidential Candidate Ron Paul pioneers Internet driven 'money bombs' drawing in millions in donations made in very small amounts.
- 2010 - The film "The Social Network" is released chronicling not only the history of Internet file sharing but also the rise of social networking sites.
- 2011 - Cyrllic Domains names (written in the non-Latin Cyrillic character set) become operational, and Russia adopts the .?? as an alternative to .ru
- 2011 - Microsoft Acquires Skype
Although this video was made in 2009, it provides a nice Internet timeline that covers all of the major technology milestones from 1957 forward:
What Has The Internet Done For Communication?
The Internet has done a lot for communication. E-mail and chat are now routinely used in professional companies for exchanging information quickly in real time. IP telephony carries voice data around the world very affordable through technologies like Skype. Video conferencing technologies, like VoIP, are available either on a computer or also on phones like iPhone, which features forward facing cameras for this purpose.
Internet Protocol Suite
The Internet protocol suite, also called TCP/IP controls traffic between computers and servers attached to the Internet. All other Internet related protocols have to transmit over TCP/IP. TCP means Transfer Control Protocol, and is the packet switching protocol used by the Internet Protocol Suite, the other protocol, Internet Protocol, is based on the original ARPANET protocol for exchanging information over the Internet.
The Structure Of The Internet
The Internet consists of computers and servers attached to it, and a series of interlinked servers which guide traffic along it. Worldwide there are several 'internet backbones' that are high speed networks that help to route data nearer to it's intended location.
These networks also have name servers that share with one another domain names associated with a specific address (IP) on the network. Every time these change name servers send each other information to synchronize this list.
Government Involvement In Maintaining The Internet
The Internet began as a largely military endeavor. For some time ARPANET remained a military project, though higher education had a lot of access to it. Even after ARPANET became less tied to the military the US government maintained much control over the Internet.
As recently as 2010, ICANN, the organization that maintains domain name registration rules was largely US controlled. Very recently ICANN has been given more autonomy, and it is widely discussed whether the organization should be managed by an international organization not tied to a specific government.
The Social Impact Of The Internet
The Internet has changed the social scene in a lot of ways. Initially many who used the Internet were seen as computer geeks, but as more content has appeared online few still hold that stereotype. Social networking sites like MySpace, have allowed bands to connect to their fans, and sites like Facebook, and twitter have connected friends and celebrities at home and internationally. The massive success of the film 'The Social Network' has shown that today the Internet has earned its 'cool factor'.
Of note is the recent Internet response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the United States Military. Within minutes of the announcement there were twitter tweets, and Facebook posts weighing in on the killing, as well as whether it was factual or not.
The Internet has evolved considerably. It cannot be understated that no one planned to create anything like what is now known as the Internet. Most of those who've contributed to the history and evolution of the Internet readily concede they had no idea the significance at the time.
It is difficult to predict what might change for the Internet next, especially given the impending change to IP6 and the rapidly changing array of devices with access to the Internet. What is certain however is that the place for the Internet in history is not any less great than that reserved for radio, the telephone, or space exploration, and the Internet promises to affect human life for centuries to come.
In addition to this Internet timeline, our website provides articles on many Internet-related topics, such as computer privacy, ways to increase modem speed, and Internet statistics.