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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

History of the Internet; a brief overview

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We live in a world where we cannot imagine a life without the internet. Most of us have almost 24/7- and 365-days uninterrupted access to the internet. We use it on our phones, laptops, computers, and other hardware devices to gather information. In short, we live in a world where information and data become the two most fundamental factors of our lives. But the questions are what is the internet when it was invented and how does it work? This article is to explain all these matters in simple language.

What is the internet?

Internet is a short version of internetworking. It is a domain consisting of a vast and complex network of thousands of computers. The domain includes multiple devices ranging from computer sets, cables, towers, routers, and satellites. This assembly forms a single network for the transmission of data and communique.

The basic idea behind it was the ease of communication with people in far-flung areas. It has revolutionized the arena of transmission of messages. With its help, we communicate with people across the continent within seconds with the use of several mediums like the web, email, messenger, WhatsApp, etc. In addition to communication, it also supports businesses of people by providing the opportunity for e-commerce like Amazon, Alibaba express, Daraz, etc.

Who invented the internet and when?

The modernized version of the internet we see these days is the developed form. It was not like this when invented. Its development enhanced in the era of WW-II and during the cold war period. These are the crucial epochs of human history that required early and fast communication of messages between the states. A brief history of internet development consists of three portions.

Pre-modernization era of the internet

Towards modernization

The modernized era of the internet

Pre-modernization era of the internet

The premodern version of the internet resonates with the early devices of communication. These devices worked on the principle of electromagnetic transmission of signals between two ends. Initially, the idea was just the flow of messages from one end to another. Hence, at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, we have seen telegraphs, phone lines, and telex machines. The other name for the telegraph is the Victorian internet.

In 1920 information theory was developed that was later adopted in the 1950s for the fastest mode of communication. Claude Shannon forwarded the idea of noise-free communication by enhancing the bandwidth of signals. Moreover, the development of transistors also revolutionized the field of internet prototypes.

Towards modernization

Legit modernization of the internet commenced in the 1960s in the United States and England’s research centers. For this uprising the services of J. C. R. Licklider and Donald Davies are remarkable. The timeline of internet upgrading is as follows.

  • Defense advanced research project agency (DARPA) is based in the United States and it built an office called the Information Processing Technique Office (IPTO). This office started research on developing fast computers. Licklider gave the idea of an interconnected computer network system that would enhance the speed and bandwidth of computers.
  • Similarly, in the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the UK Davies started research on local area networks (LAN) to forward messages in a limited bandwidth of a local area.
  • In 1966 Advanced research project agency net (ARPANET) was established for the working of a small area limited up to an organization or a building.  It was adopted in four institutes including the University of California, Berkley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one in Santa Monica, and the last University of California, Los Angles.
  • In 1966 Merit Network was established in the state of Michigan to control the working of the University of Michigan. The host-to-terminal system was enhanced in 1973 by introducing new items in the connection like ethernet cables.
  • In 1972 X. 25 provided an opportunity for business purposes to send and receive telemails.
  • Subsequently in 1979 UUCP net was framed and it was relatively cheaper than ARPANET and X.25. Its user number increased to 940 in 1984.
  • In the same year, Vint Cerf became a member of an international networking working group. In this era, this group formulated internet protocols including the transmission control protocol (TCP) and internet protocol (IP). And the hosts became responsible for the reliability of the internet.
  • In 1986 National Foundation of Networks (NSF) established NSFNET to enhance regional education research in the United States.
  • CERN started globalizing its system by installing TCP/IPs in the 1980s. Several countries like Canada, Germany, Korea, and Australia adopted this system.

The modernized era of the internet

The Internet entered its modern phase in the 1990s when Tim Burner Lee introduced World Wide Web (WWW). Before that only governmental institutions had the internet. In 1995 Microsoft introduced internet explorer. In 2004 Mozilla Firefox browser was established. Moreover, in 2008 Google came into inception.

How does it work?

We have seen that the internet operates through computing hardware and it is virtual reality. The Internet world is the third space. In this space, we can see and talk to each other. We have a space to interact that does not exist physically but virtually.

The working of the internet system is complex. It includes three main components

Servers: a body that stores tons of information for dissemination when requested by the clients.

Clients: the host end or the user who requires the information.

Nodes; the internet does not send information directly; it connects to our device through several nodal points or connecting points. These nodes work in a streamlined way. For instance, fiber optics, cables, towers, and satellites.

Protocols: or commands are the same thing. The hardware machines cannot function properly without a command system. These protocols are in a computer language that they can understand.  

Thus, the client by using its phone sends a command to the server to access information on the internet. Servers operate through protocols and the relevant server sends information back to the client via nodes. And finally, we see that information on our screen.

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