When was the Internet invented?

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The beginnings of internet development begins during the 1950s when electronic computer systems were created. JCR Licklider wrote his ideas about communicating through computer systems that connected to one another using wide-band communication lines in 1960. These memos were written by Licklider, of MIT, during the discussion of his “Galactic Network” concept.

The idea of this concept was that anyone could enter information and data and also retrieve any other information that anyone else has entered from a site. Leonard Kleinrock, also from MIT, wrote the first paper on packet switching theory in 1961, and proceeded to write the first book in 1964. These documents discussed the feasible possibility of using computerized communications via packets, instead of circuits.

The internet was initially used as a communication method for the government in the 60s, but as the Cold War initiated, this made the internet become high priority. Once the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik satellite, the US government needed a way that information could still be stored and distributed even after a nuclear attack.

This need lead to the development of ARPANET, which stood for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network– the network that eventually evolved into what we now know as the internet. This network was very successful, however, membership of this network was very limited to academic and research organizations who had special contracts with the US Department of Defense. As a response to this success, other networks were created for information distribution and sharing.

The “official birthday” of the internet is considered to be January 1, 1983. Before this date, each network that had been created had no way to share information with each other or to merge. The communications protocol TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol) enabled computers across a spectrum of different networks to “talk” and communicate with each other.

The internet and all that it entails has been a vision for scientists and technology researchers for decades, and it took several different ideas and experiments from several different people to make what the Internet what it is for us today. The idea of the Internet was born in the early 60s, but it was in the 1980s when this dream became a very vivid reality.



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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