History of the Internet

History of the Internet

Saturday, November 22, 2008
History of the Internet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prior to the widespread internetworking that led to the Internet, most communication networks were limited by their nature to only allow communications between the stations on the network, and the prevalent computer networking method was based on the central mainframe method. In the 1960s, computer researchers, Levi C. Finch and Robert W. Taylor pioneered calls for a joined-up global network to address interoperability problems. Concurrently, several research programs began to research principles of networking between separate physical networks, and this led to the development of Packet switching. These included Donald Davies (NPL), Paul Baran (RAND Corporation), and Leonard Kleinrock's MIT and UCLA research programs.

This led to the development of several packet switched networking solutions in the late 1960s and 1970s, including ARPANET and X.25. Additionally, public access and hobbyist networking systems grew in popularity, including UUCP and FidoNet. They were however still disjointed separate networks, served only by limited gateways between networks. This led to the application of packet switching to develop a protocol for inter-networking, where multiple different networks could be joined together into a super-framework of networks. By defining a simple common network system, the Internet protocol suite, the concept of the network could be separated from its physical implementation. This spread of inter-network began to form into the idea of a global inter-network that would be called 'The Internet', and this began to quickly spread as existing networks were converted to become compatible with this. This spread quickly across the advanced telecommunication networks of the western world, and then began to penetrate into the rest of the world as it became the de-facto international standard and global network. However, the disparity of growth led to a digital divide that is still a concern today.

Following commercialisation and introduction of privately run Internet Service Providers in the 1980s, and its expansion into popular use in the 1990s, the Internet has had a drastic impact on culture and commerce. This includes the rise of near instant communication by e-mail, text based discussion forums, the World Wide Web. Investor speculation in new markets provided by these innovations would also lead to the inflation and collapse of the Dot-com bubble, a major market collapse. But despite this, Internet continues to grow.