The Internet came about in the early 1960s who saw great potential value in allowing computers to share information on research and development in scientific and military fields. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in late 1962 was the birthpace of the Internet where dial-up phone lines were used to form the basis of Internet connections. The first real wide-area connection was made in 1965 when a computer at MIT in Massachusetts connected with a California computer in 1965. It showed the feasibility of wide area networking, but also showed that the telephone line’s circuit switching was inadequate and the use of packet switching theory was born. The result was the ARPANET in 1966.
ARPANET, which was the term used in those days for the Internet, was brought online in December 1969 under a contract led by the renamed Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which initially connected four major computers at universities in the southwestern United States. By 1970 and 1971, many more universities and organizations joined the new Internet.
The Internet was designed in part to provide a communications network that would work even if some of the sites were destroyed by nuclear attack. If the most direct route was not available, routers would direct traffic around the network via alternate routes. The early Internet was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians. There was nothing friendly about it. There were no home or office personal computers in those days, and anyone who used it, whether a computer professional or an engineer or scientist or librarian, had to learn to use a very complex system.
The Internet matured in the 1970’s as a result of the TCP/IP architecture first proposed by Bob Kahn at Bolt, Beranack and Newmann and further developed by Kahn and Vint Cerf at Stanford and others throughout the 1970’s. It was adopted by the Defense Department in 1980 and universally adopted by 1983. In 1986, the National Science Foundation funded NSFNet as a cross country 56 Kbps backbone for the Internet. They maintained their sponsorship for nearly a decade, setting rules for its non-commercial government and research uses.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee and others at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, more popularly known as CERN, proposed a new protocol for information distribution. This protocol, which became the World Wide Web in 1991, was based on hypertext, a system of embedding links in text to link to other text which is commonly used today. This was followed by the development of the graphical browser Mosaic by Marc Andreessen and his team at the National Center For Supercomputing Applications in 1993.
However, during the early days of the Internet, many developers contributed varying ideas on how the web should develop. There was concern that theweb would become a mess of unrelated protocols that would require different software for different applications. In 1994, the World Wide Web Consortium was developed by Tim Berners-Lee and Michael Dertouzos of MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Sciences to promote and develop standards for the Web that are present in every browser. From here on in, independent commercial networks began to grow, making it possible to route traffic across the country from one commercial site to another. Now the Internet plays a major role in everyday living with the growth of wireless technology so that the Internet is available from home or office.