History and evolution of internet

Written By: Javaria Farooq

According to the concise Oxford English
Dictionary,11th Edition, It is a global
computer network providing a variety of
information and communication
facilities, consisting of interconnected
networks using standerdized
communication protocols”
The physical infrastructure of Net is
owned by companies, governments and
individuals, the network as a whole is
not owned by any individual or
It is organized on a cooperative
principal. It functions through the
cooperation of various national
governments, global and multinational
bodies and individuals. The question of
governance is of fundamental
importance in understanding the
Internet and its place in human society.
The history of the internet and the World
Wide Web ( www) has been
comprehensively documented,
appropriately enough, on the number of
Richard Griffiths writes that the origin of
the Internet can be traced to 1957.In
1955,President D. Wight D. Eisenhower
of the USA had announced that his
country wished to launch an earthorbiting satellite as part of these
While competition between the two
superpowers (USA & USSR) for
technological supremacy in the
prevailing of Cold War atmosphere, the
USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics) announced that it, too, hoped
to launch a satellite. The Soviet Union
won the race by launching Sputnik, the
world’s first artificial satellite on
October 4,1957. Clearly, American
power was not necessarily supreme any
The USA responded to this challenge by
setting up the Advanced Research
Project Agency (ARPA) in February
7,1958 within its defense
establishment. ARPA’s mission was to
adapt the latest technologies to military
American technological lead over the
USSR. It was also given the control of
the US Satellite program until the
creation of National Aeronautics and
Space Administration in October
1,1958. The initial focus of ARPA’s
activities was therefore space, ballistic
missiles and nuclear test monitoring.
Another important priority was
communication between its operational
base and its sub-contractors through
linked computers.
The two most important governing
principal’s of the internet, namely the
galactic network and packet switiching,
took shape in 1961-1962, and were
brought together in an ARPA program
started in 1962. John Licklider, a
scientist of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT), who had been
working on the first concept, was the
leader of this program. He had
visualized a computer network in which
every node would be accessible to
everyone at every other node. Leonard
Kleinrock of MIT is generally considered
the pioneer in packet switiching, on
which he published the first paper in
July 1961.
In October 1969 to successfully link
computers at the University of California
in Los Angeles and Stanford University
in a way that users at one location could
access files stored on the computer at
another location.
This was the Birth of the first of those
networks, which would later transform
into the Internet. Named ARPAnet, it
grew to include 23 computers by
December 1971. Other networks also
began to be set up and important
technological advances followed, one of
these being the development of E-mail
by 1972.
The first International Connection on
ARPAnet was established in 1973 for
the University of London.
One if the most important milestones
reached around this time was the
development of TCP/IP ( Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) jointly
by scientists of ARPA and Stanford in
1974. TCP/IP enabled different
networks to communicate with one
another and made possible the open
architecture which the net has today,
making it the galactic network of
Licklider’s vision. The year 1974 also
marked the opening of the first public
data network called Telenet owned by
Stanford University.
Important developments that would
make the net what it is today were
taking place in the sphere of hardware
as well. Till the mid 1970s the
networked computers were all large
mainframes belonging to big
corporations, government institutions
and universities. But small
microcomputers and versions of TCP/IP
suitable for these were also being
developed. These microcomputers were
predecessors of the personal computers
In 1990, Tim Berners Lee invented the
World Wide Web (www) as a method of
publishing information on the internet.
The Web began to take off in 1993,
after a Computer Science student Marc
Andreessen created the first popular
web browser known as Mosaic. Since
the number of web pages have
exploded. Three Billion people are using