The story of the internet begins with the history of the internet backbone. Then it progresses from the internet service provider (ISP) to the home or business internet connection. Public and private local area networks connect to a set of high speed transmission lines using the TCP/IP protocol, and can include multiple configurations, such as wireless networks and cloud computing (a type of distributed architecture).
From cultural history key dates, it was during the 1990s that home computers, laptops and the World Wide Web (or “the Web”) spread like wild fire through the internet. Today, people talk about broadband, internet telephone and wireless internet. This invention has undergone quite a bit of evolution since the days of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The internet backbone was funded and managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1991, numerous privately owned long-distance connections were established on the backbone. And in 1995, NSF withdrew completely from internet oversight.
The Internet and ISP
The internet or “net” began as an international network of computers linked up to exchange information. The core of this network consisted of computers permanently joined through cable Internet high-speed connections.
For anyone to access the internet or be online, his or her computer needs to be connected to any of these networked computers through an internet service provider or ISP. Once online or with appropriate connections, the computer can “talk” to any other computer on the internet anywhere in the world.
Rewind of the Early Internet Players and Administrators
In the early days of the internet, technically that is, a number of powerful players like Compuserve, Microsoft, AOL, Cisco, and Netscape played major roles in putting the framework of the net in place, along with various agencies concerned with its administration.
Front line of these administrators are:
- the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) which registers domain names;
- the Internet Security which acts mainly as a clearing house for technical standards; and
- the World Wide Web Consortium, which discusses the future of the Web’s programming language.
Online Bomb Shelter
The concept of the Internet began in 1957, when the United States Department of Defense formed the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to crack up its technological capabilities. Twelve years later, ARPAnet became the world’s first decentralized computer network.
Its driving force was the bomb-proofing factor: that bombing a network would, at worse, remove only a few nodes, while the remaining units would remain unharmed, routing around the problem area.
Internet Wiring of the World
Over the next ten years, research agencies and universities mobilized themselves to join the network. Soon, big businesses including the financial sectors and market traders moved onto computer screens to join the information technology area. There wasn’t any stopping as the world was driving for a people’s network.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web
In 1989, English scientist Tim Berners-Lee of CERN, the European particle physics laboratory and institute near Geneva, proposed the basis of the World Wide Web (WWW) or “the web.” His goal was a network in which data could be accessed from any source – in a simple, consistent way with one program on any computer.
Berners-Lee coined the word “World Wide Web” as he proposed a global read-write information space, and that any source of information would have its own unique “uniform source identifier.” Thanks to Sir Berners-Lee, in time, computer programs called “search engines” could easily find the source of the information.
The web did this, encompassing all existing information systems. Tim Berners-Lee has been honoured many times over, but mainly, with a knighthood, a Fellowship of the prestigious Royal Society. In 1999, he was named as one of 20th century’s most influential people.
The Internet Now and Beyond
The web has grown, and it is still growing in leaps and bounds. The hypertext invented by Ted Nelson has also facilitating sharing of information over the Internet. Every corner of the world is connected or perhaps those in obscure places are in the process of being connected. Google continues to be the most powerful search engine.
Nowadays, people not only talk about broadband internet, but internet telephone and wireless internet. Along with the net, other related technological advances in communication are also taking place, including the widely-used mobile phones and iPods.
Meanwhile, with thousands of millions of people accessing the Internet every day, and connecting instantaneously anywhere, there is no doubt of the web’s power and immense influence. The internet has dominated human life at work and at home. No wonder, the email address has become more noted than a person’s actual name.