The term ‘Internet’ was coined on October 24, 1995. However the origin of the internet and related concepts are much older. The present day Internet is the revolutionized face of the nascent day communication system and is the most successful examples of benefits of sustained investment and commitment to information infrastructure (Leiner et al. , 2003). The unprecedented integration of collaboration, dissemination embarked by a series of gradual changes that the society has undergone with respect to the communication and connectivity needs.
As described by Kristula (1997), it was in 1957 that the USA formed ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) within the DoD (Department of Defence) to establish US lead in science and technology applicable to the military. Until 1960’s, the computers operated almost exclusively in batch mode, where programs were punched on stacks of cards and assembled into batches for the data to be fed in the local computer center. The need for the time sharing system had already set the stage for research and development work to make the time sharing possible on the computer systems.
In an article, Hauben (1995), stated that the time sharing system led the foundation for the Interactive Computing, where the user could communicate and respond to the computer’s responses in a way that batch processing did not allow. Both Robert Taylor and Larry Roberts, future successors of Licklider as director of ARPA’s IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office), pinpoint Licklider as the originator of the vision which set ARPA’s priorities and goals and basically drove ARPA to help develop the concept and practice of networking computers.
Licklider has been described as the father of modern day network, having laid the seeds of the Intergalactic network, the initial prototype of the Internet today. The vision of the interconnection and interaction of diverse communities guided the creation of the original ARPANET. The APRANET pioneered important breakthroughs in computer networking technology and the ability to collaborate and use dispersed resources (Winston, 1998).
In 1962, Paul Baran, a RAND research worker introduced the concept of ‘Packet Switching’, while working towards the need of the U. S. government to take command and control of any kind of nuclear attack. Packet switching was crucial to realization of computer networks and described breaking down of data into ’message blocks’ known as packets / datagrams, which were labeled to indicate the origin and the destination. Baran’s scheme was aided by telephone exchange methodology being used by information theory. The data was now sent in discrete packages around a network to achieve the same result – a more even flow of data through the entire network.
The same concept also developed by British computer pioneer Donald Watt known as Davies’s Pilot Ace. Baran’s Distributive Adaptive Message Blockswitching became Watt Davies’s ‘Packet Switching’. The first host connected to the ARPANET was the SDS Sigma-7 on Sept. 2, 1969 at the UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles) site. It began passing bits to other sites at SRI (SDS-940 at Stanford Research Institute), UCSB (IBM 360/75 at University of California Santa Barbara), and Utah (Dec PDP-10 at the University of Utah).
This was the first physical network and was wired together via 50 Kbps circuits. ARPANET at this stage used NCP (Network Control Protocol). By 1973, development began on TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) and then in 1974, the term ‘Internet’ was used in a paper on TCP/IP. The development of Ethernet, in 1976, supported high speed movement of data using coaxial cables and led the foundation for the LAN (Local Area Network). Packet satellite project, SATNET, went live connecting the US with Europe.
Around the same time, UUCP (Unix –to-Unix Co Py) was being developed by AT&T Bell Labs. The need to link together those in Unix Community triggered the development of the Usenet in 1979. Using homemade auto dial modems and the UUCP, the Unix shell and the find command (that were being distributed with the Unix OS), Bellovin, wrote some simple shell scripts to have the computers automatically call each other up and search for changes in the date stamps of the files.
The Usenet was primarily organized around News net and was called as the ‘Poor Man’s ARPANET’, since joining ARPANET needed political connections was costly too. Woodbury, a Usenet pioneer from Duke University, described how “News allowed all interested persons to read the discussion, and to (relatively) easily inject a comment and to make sure that all participants saw it. ” However, owing to the slow speed, the coding language was soon changed to ‘C’, thus becoming the first released version of Usenet in C programming popularly known as A News.
By 1983, TCP/IP replaced NCP entirely and the DNS (Domain Name System) was created so that the packets could be directed to a domain name where it would be translated by the server database into the corresponding IP number. Links began to be created between the ARPANET and the Usenet as a result of which the number of sites on the Usenet grew. New T1 lines were laid by NSF (National Science Foundation). The Usenet took an unexpected explosion, from 2 articles per day posted on 3 sites in 1979, to 1800 articles per day posted at 11000 sites by 1988.
By 1990, the T3 lines (45 Kbps capacity) replaced the T1 lines and the NSFNET formed the new backbone replacing the ARPANET. The beginning of 1992 marked the establishment of a chartered Internet Society and the development of the World Wide Web. The first graphical user interface, named ‘Mosaic for X,’ was developed on the World Wide Web. By 1994, the Commercialization of the Internet emerged in the form of the first ATM (Asynchronous Transmission Mode) was installed on the NSFNET.
The free access of the NSFNET was blocked and fee was imposed on domains. This describes the series of events that shaped the history for the past two decades, ever since Internet came into existence. The Internet technology is continuously changing to accommodate the needs of yet another generation of underlying network technology. Hoping that the process of evolution will manage itself, we look forward to a new paradigm of Internet Services.