Assignment History Of Internet

The history of the Internet begins with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. Initial concepts of wide area networking originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.[1] The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s, including for the development of the ARPANET project, directed by Robert Taylor and managed by Lawrence Roberts. The first message was sent over the ARPANET in 1969 from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock's laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Packet switching networks such as the NPL network, ARPANET, Tymnet, Merit Network, CYCLADES, and Telenet, were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols.[2]Donald Davies first demonstrated packet switching in 1967 at the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) in the UK, which became a testbed for UK research for almost two decades.[3][4] The ARPANET project led to the development of protocols for internetworking, in which multiple separate networks could be joined into a network of networks.

The Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was developed by Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf in the 1970s and became the standard networking protocol on the ARPANET, incorporating concepts from the French CYCLADES project directed by Louis Pouzin. In the early 1980s the NSF funded the establishment for national supercomputing centers at several universities, and provided interconnectivity in 1986 with the NSFNET project, which also created network access to the supercomputer sites in the United States from research and education organizations. Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the very late 1980s. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Limited private connections to parts of the Internet by officially commercial entities emerged in several American cities by late 1989 and 1990,[5] and the NSFNET was decommissioned in 1995, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic.

In the 1980s, research at CERN in Switzerland by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee resulted in the World Wide Web, linking hypertext documents into an information system, accessible from any node on the network.[6] Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture, commerce, and technology, including the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. The research and education community continues to develop and use advanced networks such as JANET in the United Kingdom and Internet2 in the United States. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1-Gbit/s, 10-Gbit/s, or more. The Internet's takeover of the global communication landscape was almost instant in historical terms: it only communicated 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunications networks in the year 1993, already 51% by 2000, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007.[7] Today the Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information, commerce, entertainment, and social networking.

Internet history timeline

Early research and development:

Merging the networks and creating the Internet:

Commercialization, privatization, broader access leads to the modern Internet:

Examples of Internet services:

  • 1989 (1989): AOL dial-up service provider, email, instant messaging, and web browser
  • 1990 (1990): IMDb Internet movie database
  • 1995 (1995): online retailer
  • 1995 (1995): eBay online auction and shopping
  • 1995 (1995): Craigslist classified advertisements
  • 1996 (1996): Hotmail free web-based e-mail
  • 1997 (1997): Babel Fish automatic translation
  • 1998 (1998): Google Search
  • 1998 (1998): Yahoo! Clubs (now Yahoo! Groups)
  • 1998 (1998): PayPal Internet payment system
  • 1999 (1999): Napster peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 2001 (2001): BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 2001 (2001): Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • 2003 (2003): LinkedIn business networking
  • 2003 (2003): Myspace social networking site
  • 2003 (2003): Skype Internet voice calls
  • 2003 (2003): iTunes Store
  • 2003 (2003): 4Chan Anonymous image-based bulletin board
  • 2003 (2003): The Pirate Bay, torrent file host
  • 2004 (2004): Facebook social networking site
  • 2004 (2004): Podcast media file series
  • 2004 (2004): Flickr image hosting
  • 2005 (2005): YouTube video sharing
  • 2005 (2005): Reddit link voting
  • 2005 (2005): Google Earth virtual globe
  • 2006 (2006): Twitter microblogging
  • 2007 (2007): WikiLeaks anonymous news and information leaks
  • 2007 (2007): Google Street View
  • 2007 (2007): Kindle, e-reader and virtual bookshop
  • 2008 (2008): Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • 2008 (2008): Dropbox cloud-based file hosting
  • 2008 (2008): Encyclopedia of Life, a collaborative encyclopedia intended to document all living species
  • 2008 (2008): Spotify, a DRM-based music streaming service
  • 2009 (2009): Bing search engine
  • 2009 (2009): Google Docs, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service
  • 2009 (2009): Kickstarter, a threshold pledge system
  • 2009 (2009): Bitcoin, a digital currency
  • 2010 (2010): Instagram, photo sharing and social networking
  • 2011 (2011): Google+, social networking
  • 2011 (2011): Snapchat, photo sharing
  • 2012 (2012): Coursera, massive open online courses


See also: The Victorian Internet

The concept of data communication – transmitting data between two different places through an electromagnetic medium such as radio or an electric wire – pre-dates the introduction of the first computers. Such communication systems were typically limited to point to point communication between two end devices. Telegraph systems and telex machines can be considered early precursors of this kind of communication. The Telegraph in the late 19th century was the first fully digital communication system.

Fundamental theoretical work in data transmission and information theory was developed by Claude Shannon, Harry Nyquist, and Ralph Hartley in the early 20th century.

Early computers had a central processing unit and remote terminals. As the technology evolved, new systems were devised to allow communication over longer distances (for terminals) or with higher speed (for interconnection of local devices) that were necessary for the mainframe computer model. These technologies made it possible to exchange data (such as files) between remote computers. However, the point-to-point communication model was limited, as it did not allow for direct communication between any two arbitrary systems; a physical link was necessary. The technology was also considered unsafe for strategic and military use because there were no alternative paths for the communication in case of an enemy attack.

Development of wide area networking

With limited exceptions, the earliest computers were connected directly to terminals used by individual users, typically in the same building or site. Such networks became known as local area networks (LANs). Networking beyond this scope, known as wide area networks (WANs), emerged during the 1950s and became established during the 1960s.


J. C. R. Licklider, Vice President at Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., proposed a global network in his January 1960 paper Man-Computer Symbiosis:[8]

A network of such [computers], connected to one another by wide-band communication lines [which provided] the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and [other] symbiotic functions

In August 1962, Licklider and Welden Clark published the paper "On-Line Man-Computer Communication"[9] which was one of the first descriptions of a networked future.

In October 1962, Licklider was hired by Jack Ruina as director of the newly established Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) within DARPA, with a mandate to interconnect the United States Department of Defense's main computers at Cheyenne Mountain, the Pentagon, and SAC HQ. There he formed an informal group within DARPA to further computer research. He began by writing memos describing a distributed network to the IPTO staff, whom he called "Members and Affiliates of the Intergalactic Computer Network".[10] As part of the information processing office's role, three network terminals had been installed: one for System Development Corporation in Santa Monica, one for Project Genie at University of California, Berkeley, and one for the Compatible Time-Sharing System project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Licklider's identified need for inter-networking would become obvious by the apparent waste of resources this caused.

For each of these three terminals, I had three different sets of user commands. So if I was talking online with someone at S.D.C. and I wanted to talk to someone I knew at Berkeley or M.I.T. about this, I had to get up from the S.D.C. terminal, go over and log into the other terminal and get in touch with them....

I said, oh man, it's obvious what to do: If you have these three terminals, there ought to be one terminal that goes anywhere you want to go where you have interactive computing. That idea is the ARPAnet.[11]

Although he left the IPTO in 1964, five years before the ARPANET went live, it was his vision of universal networking that provided the impetus for one of his successors, Robert Taylor, to initiate the ARPANET development. Licklider later returned to lead the IPTO in 1973 for two years.[12]

Development of packet switching

Main article: Packet switching

The issue of connecting separate physical networks to form one logical network was the first of many problems. Early networks used message switched systems that required rigid routing structures prone to single point of failure. In the 1960s, Paul Baran of the RAND Corporation produced a study of survivable networks for the U.S. military in the event of nuclear war.[13] Information transmitted across Baran's network would be divided into what he called "message blocks".[14] Independently, Donald Davies (National Physical Laboratory, UK), proposed and was the first to put into practice a local area network based on what he called packet switching, the term that would ultimately be adopted. Larry Roberts applied Davies' concepts of packet switching for the ARPANET wide area network,[15][16] and sought input from Paul Baran and Leonard Kleinrock. Kleinrock subsequently developed the mathematical theory behind the performance of this technology building on his earlier work on queueing theory.[17]

Packet switching is a rapid store and forward networking design that divides messages up into arbitrary packets, with routing decisions made per-packet. It provides better bandwidth utilization and response times than the traditional circuit-switching technology used for telephony, particularly on resource-limited interconnection links.[18]

Networks that led to the Internet

NPL network

Main article: NPL network

Following discussions with J. C. R. Licklider, Donald Davies became interested in data communications for computer networks.[19][20] At the National Physical Laboratory (United Kingdom) in 1965, Davies designed and proposed a national data network based on packet switching. The following year, he described the use of an "Interface computer" to act as a router.[21] The proposal was not taken up nationally but by 1967, a pilot experiment had demonstrated the feasibility of packet switched networks.[22][23]

By 1969 he had begun building the Mark I packet-switched network to meet the needs of the multidisciplinary laboratory and prove the technology under operational conditions.[24][25][26] In 1976, 12 computers and 75 terminal devices were attached,[27] and more were added until the network was replaced in 1986. NPL, followed by ARPANET, were the first two networks in the world to use packet switching,[28][29] and were interconnected in the early 1970s.


Main article: ARPANET

See also: The Internet during the Cold War

Robert Taylor was promoted to the head of the information processing office at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in June 1966. He intended to realize Licklider's ideas of an interconnected networking system. Bringing in Larry Roberts from MIT, he initiated a project to build such a network. The first ARPANET link was established between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Stanford Research Institute at 22:30 hours on October 29, 1969.[30]

"We set up a telephone connection between us and the guys at SRI ...", Kleinrock ... said in an interview: "We typed the L and we asked on the phone,

"Do you see the L?"
"Yes, we see the L," came the response.
We typed the O, and we asked, "Do you see the O."
"Yes, we see the O."
Then we typed the G, and the system crashed ...

Yet a revolution had begun" ....[31]

By December 5, 1969, a 4-node network was connected by adding the University of Utah and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Building on ideas developed in ALOHAnet, the ARPANET grew rapidly. By 1981, the number of hosts had grown to 213, with a new host being added approximately every twenty days.[32][33]

ARPANET development was centered around the Request for Comments (RFC) process, still used today for proposing and distributing Internet Protocols and Systems. RFC 1, entitled "Host Software", was written by Steve Crocker from the University of California, Los Angeles, and published on April 7, 1969. These early years were documented in the 1972 film Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing.

ARPANET became the technical core of what would become the Internet, and a primary tool in developing the technologies used. The early ARPANET used the Network Control Program (NCP, sometimes Network Control Protocol) rather than TCP/IP. On January 1, 1983, known as flag day, NCP on the ARPANET was replaced by the more flexible and powerful family of TCP/IP protocols, marking the start of the modern Internet.[34]

International collaborations on ARPANET were sparse. For various political reasons, European developers were concerned with developing the X.25 networks. Notable exceptions were the Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) in 1972, followed in 1973 by Sweden with satellite links to the Tanum Earth Station and Peter Kirstein's research group in the UK, initially at the Institute of Computer Science, London University and later at University College London.[35]

Merit Network

The Merit Network[36] was formed in 1966 as the Michigan Educational Research Information Triad to explore computer networking between three of Michigan's public universities as a means to help the state's educational and economic development.[37] With initial support from the State of Michigan and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the packet-switched network was first demonstrated in December 1971 when an interactive host to host connection was made between the IBMmainframe computer systems at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Wayne State University in Detroit.[38] In October 1972 connections to the CDC mainframe at Michigan State University in East Lansing completed the triad. Over the next several years in addition to host to host interactive connections the network was enhanced to support terminal to host connections, host to host batch connections (remote job submission, remote printing, batch file transfer), interactive file transfer, gateways to the Tymnet and Telenetpublic data networks, X.25 host attachments, gateways to X.25 data networks, Ethernet attached hosts, and eventually TCP/IP and additional public universities in Michigan join the network.[38][39] All of this set the stage for Merit's role in the NSFNET project starting in the mid-1980s.


The CYCLADES packet switching network was a French research network designed and directed by Louis Pouzin. First demonstrated in 1973, it was developed to explore alternatives to the early ARPANET design and to support network research generally. It was the first network to make the hosts responsible for reliable delivery of data, rather than the network itself, using unreliable datagrams and associated end-to-end protocol mechanisms. Concepts of this network influenced later ARPANET architecture.[40][41]

X.25 and public data networks

Main articles: X.25, Bulletin board system, and FidoNet

Based on ARPA's research, packet switching network standards were developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the form of X.25 and related standards. While using packet switching, X.25 is built on the concept of virtual circuits emulating traditional telephone connections. In 1974, X.25 formed the basis for the SERCnet network between British academic and research sites, which later became JANET. The initial ITU Standard on X.25 was approved in March 1976.[42]

The British Post Office, Western Union International and Tymnet collaborated to create the first international packet switched network, referred to as the International Packet Switched Service (IPSS), in 1978. This network grew from Europe and the US to cover Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia by 1981. By the 1990s it provided a worldwide networking infrastructure.[43]

Unlike ARPANET, X.25 was commonly available for business use. Telenet offered its Telemail electronic mail service, which was also targeted to enterprise use rather than the general email system of the ARPANET.

The first public dial-in networks used asynchronous TTY terminal protocols to reach a concentrator operated in the public network. Some networks, such as CompuServe, used X.25 to multiplex the terminal sessions into their packet-switched backbones, while others, such as Tymnet, used proprietary protocols. In 1979, CompuServe became the first service to offer electronic mail capabilities and technical support to personal computer users. The company broke new ground again in 1980 as the first to offer real-time chat with its CB Simulator. Other major dial-in networks were America Online (AOL) and Prodigy that also provided communications, content, and entertainment features. Many bulletin board system (BBS) networks also provided on-line access, such as FidoNet which was popular amongst hobbyist computer users, many of them hackers and amateur radio operators.[citation needed]

UUCP and Usenet

Main articles: UUCP and Usenet

In 1979, two students at Duke University, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, originated the idea of using Bourne shell scripts to transfer news and messages on a serial line UUCP connection with nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following public release of the software in 1980, the mesh of UUCP hosts forwarding on the Usenet news rapidly expanded. UUCPnet, as it would later be named, also created gateways and links between FidoNet and dial-up BBS hosts. UUCP networks spread quickly due to the lower costs involved, ability to use existing leased lines, X.25 links or even ARPANET connections, and the lack of strict use policies compared to later networks like CSNET and Bitnet. All connects were local. By 1981 the number of UUCP hosts had grown to 550, nearly doubling to 940 in 1984. – Sublink Network, operating since 1987 and officially founded in Italy in 1989, based its interconnectivity upon UUCP to redistribute mail and news groups messages throughout its Italian nodes (about 100 at the time) owned both by private individuals and small companies. Sublink Network represented possibly one of the first examples of the Internet technology becoming progress through popular diffusion.[44]

Merging the networks and creating the Internet (1973–95)


Main article: Internet Protocol Suite

With so many different network methods, something was needed to unify them. Robert E. Kahn of DARPA and ARPANET recruited Vinton Cerf of Stanford University to work with him on the problem. By 1973, they had worked out a fundamental reformulation, where the differences between network protocols were hidden by using a common internetwork protocol, and instead of the network being responsible for reliability, as in the ARPANET, the hosts became responsible. Cerf credits Hubert Zimmermann

35 Years of the Internet, 1969–2004. Stamp of Azerbaijan, 2004.
1974 ABC interview with Arthur C. Clarke, in which he describes a future of ubiquitous networked personal computers.
Map of the TCP/IP test network in February 1982

A Brief Guide to the History of the Internet


(Visual representation of the the Internet from the Opte Project.)

What is the Internet ?

The Internet is a worldwide system of interconnected computer networks that use the TCP/IP set of network protocols to reach billions of users. The Internet began as a U.S Department of Defense network to link scientists and university professors around the world.

A network of networks, today, the Internet serves as a global data communications system that links millions of private, public, academic and business networks via an international telecommunications backbone that consists of various electronic and optical networking technologies.

Decentralized by design, no one owns the Internet and it has no central governing authority. As a creation of the Defense Department for sharing research data, this lack of centralization was intentional to make it less vulnerable to wartime or terrorist attacks.

The terms "Internet" and "World Wide Web" are often used interchangeably; however, the Internet and World Wide Web are not one and the same.

The Internet is a vast hardware and software infrastructure that enables computer interconnectivity. The Web, on the other hand, is a massive hypermedia database - a myriad collection of documents and other resources interconnected by hyperlinks. Imagine the World Wide Web as the platform which allows one to navigate the Internet with the use of a browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Follow the Internet Timeline below to see how the Internet has evolved over the years and take a glance at what lies ahead in the future as the Internet continues to change the world we live in.


Internet Timeline

1957 – USSR launches Sputnik into space. In response, the USA creates the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) with the mission of becoming the leading force in science and new technologies.

1962 – J.C.R. Licklider of MIT proposes the concept of a “Galactic Network.” For the first time ideas about a global network of computers are introduced. J.C.R. Licklider is later chosen to head ARPA's research efforts.

1962 - Paul Baran, a member of the RAND Corporation, determines a way for the Air Force to control bombers and missiles in case of a nuclear event. His results call for a decentralized network comprised of packet switches.

1968 - ARPA contracts out work to BBN. BBN is called upon to build the first switch.

1969 – RPANET created - BBN creates the first switched network by linking four different nodes in California and Utah; one at the University of Utah, one at the University of California at Santa Barbara, one at Stanford and one at the University of California at Los Angeles.

1972 - Ray Tomlinson working for BBN creates the first program devoted to email.

1972 - ARPA officially changes its name to DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

1972 - Network Control Protocol is introduced to allow computers running on the same network to communicate with each other.

1973 - Vinton Cerf working from Stanford and Bob Kahn from DARPA begin work developing TCP/IP to allow computers on different networks to communicate with each other.

1974 - Kahn and Cerf refer to the system as the Internet for the first time.

1976 - Ethernet is developed by Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe.

1976 – SATNET, a satellite program is developed to link the United States and Europe. Satellites are owned by a consortium of nations, thereby expanding the reach of the Internet beyond the USA.

1976 – Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, sends out an email on 26 March from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in Malvern.

1976 - AT& T Bell Labs develops UUCP and UNIX.

1979 - USENET, the first news group network is developed by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis and Steve Bellovin.

1979 - IBM introduces BITNET to work on emails and listserv systems.

1981 - The National Science Foundation releases CSNET 56 to allow computers to network without being connected to the government networks.

1983 - Internet Activities Board released.

1983 - TCP/IP becomes the standard for internet protocol.

1983 - Domain Name System introduced to allow domain names to automatically be assigned an IP number.

1984 - MCI creates T1 lines to allow for faster transportation of information over the internet.

1984- The number of Hosts breaks 1,000

1985- 100 years to the day of the last spike being driven on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the last Canadian university was connected to NetNorth in a one year effort to have coast-to-coast connectivity

1987 - The new network CREN forms.

1987- The number of hosts breaks 10,000

1988 - Traffic rises and plans are to find a new replacement for the T1 lines.

1989- The Number of hosts breaks 100 000

1989- Arpanet ceases to exist

1990 - Advanced Network & Services (ANS) forms to research new ways to make internet speeds even faster. The group develops the T3 line and installs in on a number of networks.

1990 - A hypertext system is created and implemented by Tim Berners-Lee while working for CERN.

1990- The first search engine is created by McGill University, called the Archie Search Engine

1991- U.S green-light for commercial enterprise to take place on the Internet

1991 - The National Science Foundation (NSF) creates the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

1991 - CERN releases the World Wide Web publicly on August 6th, 1991

1992 – The Internet Society (ISOC) is chartered

1992- Number of hosts breaks 1,000,000

1993 - InterNIC released to provide general services, a database and internet directory.

1993- The first web browser, Mosaic (created by NCSA), is released. Mosaic later becomes the Netscape browser which was the most popular browser in the mid 1990's.

1994 - New networks added frequently.

1994 - First internet ordering system created by Pizza Hut.

1994 - First internet bank opened: First Virtual.

1995 - NSF contracts out their access to four internet providers.

1995 - NSF sells domains for a $50 annual fee.

1995 – Netscape goes public with 3rd largest ever NASDAQ IPO share value

1995- Registration of domains is no longer free.

1996- The WWW browser wars are waged mainly between Microsoft and Netscape. New versions are released quarterly with the aid of internet users eager to test new (beta) versions.

1996 – Internet2 project is initiated by 34 universities

1996 - Internet Service Providers begin appearing such as Sprint and MCI.

1996 - Nokia releases first cell phone with internet access.

1997- (Arin) is established to handle administration and registration of IP numbers, now handled by Network Solutions (IinterNic)

1998- Netscape releases source code for Navigator.

1998-Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) created to be able to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks

1999 - A wireless technology called 802.11b, more commonly referred to as Wi-Fi, is standardized.

2000- The dot com bubble bursts, numerically, on March 10, 2000, when the technology heavy NASDAQ composite index peaked at 5,048.62

2001 - Blackberry releases first internet cell phone in the United States.

2001 – The spread of P2P file sharing across the Internet

2002 -Internet2 now has 200 university, 60 corporate and 40 affiliate members

2003- The French Ministry of Culture bans the use of the word "e-mail" by government ministries, and adopts the use of the more French sounding "courriel"

2004 – The Term Web 2.0 rises in popularity when O'Reilly and MediaLive host the first Web 2.0 conference.

2004- Mydoom, the fastest ever spreading email computer worm is released. Estimated 1 in 12 emails are infected.

2005- Estonia offers Internet Voting nationally for local elections

2005-Youtube launches

2006- There are an estimated 92 million websites online

2006 – Zimbabwe's internet access is almost completely cut off after international satellite communications provider Intelsat cuts service for non-payment

2006- Internet2 announced a partnership with Level 3 Communications to launch a brand new nationwide network, boosting its capacity from 10Gbps to 100Gbps

2007- Internet2 officially retires Abilene and now refers to its new, higher capacity network as the Internet2 Network

2008- Google index reaches 1 Trillion URLs

2008 – NASA successfully tests the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet. Using software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking, or DTN, dozens of space images are transmitted to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about more than 32 million kilometers from Earth

2009 – ICANN gains autonomy from the U.S government

2010- Facebook announces in February that it has 400 million active users.

2010 – The U.S House of Representatives passes the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 4061)

2012 - A major online protest shook up U.S. Congressional support for two anti-Web piracy bills - the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate. Many in the tech industry are concerned that the bills will give media companies too much power to shut down websites.

The Influence and Impact of the Internet

 The influence of the Internet on society is almost impossible to summarize properly because it is so all-encompassing. Though much of the world, unfortunately, still does not have Internet access, the influence that it has had on the lives of people living in developed countries with readily available Internet access is great and affects just about every aspect of life.

To look at it in the most general of terms, the Internet has definitely made many aspects of modern life much more convenient. From paying bills and buying clothes to researching and learning new things, from keeping in contact with people to meeting new people, all of these things have become much more convenient thanks to the Internet.

Things that seemed like science fiction only a couple of decades ago such as paying your bills from your mobile phone or accessing your music library anywhere are commonplace today thanks to the Internet. The concept of cloud computing and having all of your files with you at all times, even when you are miles away from your computer, is another aspect of the Internet that gives people great convenience and mobility that were unimaginable before it. For example, opening up and working on a Microsoft Word file located on your home computer can be done from anywhere, as long as you have Internet access, thanks to programs like Dropbox and Google Drive or a remote desktop access program or application.

Communication has also been made easier with the Internet opening up easier ways to not only keep in touch with the people you know, but to meet new people and network as well. The Internet and programs like Skype have made the international phone industry almost obsolete by providing everyone with Internet access the ability to talk to people all around the world for free instead of paying to talk via landlines. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have also contributed to a social revolution that allows people to share their lives and everyday actions and thoughts with millions.

The Internet has also turned into big business and has created a completely new marketplace that did not exist before it. There are many people today that make a living off the Internet, and some of the biggest corporations in the world like Google, Yahoo and EBay have the Internet to thank for their success. Business practices have also changed drastically thanks to the Internet. Off-shoring and outsourcing have become industry standards thanks to the Internet allowing people to work together from different parts of the world remotely without having to be in the same office or even city to cooperate effectively.

All this only scratches the surface when talking about the Internet’s impact on the world today, and to say that it has greatly influenced changes in modern society would still be an understatement. 

The Future: Internet2 and Next Generation Networks

The public Internet was not initially designed to handle massive quantities of data flowing through millions of networks. In response to this problem, experimental national research networks (NRN's), such as Internet2 and NGI (Next Generation Internet), are developing high speed, next generation networks.

In the United States, Internet2 is the foremost non for profit advanced networking consortium led by over 200 universities in cooperation with 70 leading corporations, 50 international partners and 45 non profit and government agencies. The Internet2 community is actively engaged in developing and testing new network technologies that are critical to the future progress of the Internet.

Internet2 operates the Internet2 Network, a next-generation hybrid optical and packet network that furnishes a 100Gbps network backbone, providing the U.S research and education community with a nationwide dynamic, robust and cost effective network that satisfies their bandwidth intensive requirements. Although this private network does not replace the Internet, it does provide an environment in which cutting edge technologies can be developed that may eventually migrate to the public Internet.

Internet2 research groups are developing and implementing new technologies such as Ipv6, multicasting and quality of service (QoS) that will enable revolutionary Internet applications.

New quality of service (QoS) technologies, for instance, would allow the Internet to provide different levels of service, depending on the type of data being transmitted. Different types of data packets could receive different levels of priority as they travel over a network. For example, packets for an application such as videoconferencing, which require simultaneous delivery, would be assigned higher priority than e-mail messages. However, advocates of net neutrality argue that data discrimination could lead to a tiered service model being imposed on the Internet by telecom companies that would undermine Internet freedoms.

More than just a faster web, these new technologies will enable completely new advanced applications for distributed computation, digital libraries, virtual laboratories, distance learning and tele-immersion.

As next generation Internet development continues to push the boundaries of what's possible, the existing Internet is also being enhanced to provide higher transmission speeds, increased security and different levels of service.

For more information on the history of the Internet, see the links below:

How the Internet was Born

The History of the Internet

A Brief History of the Internet

Internet Society

Net History with a Human Face

The Internet

A Little History of the World Wide Web

A Brief History of the World Wide Web

Internet for Historians

History of the Web

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