The internet is a worldwide series of interconnected networks that are available to the public and can be accessed from anywhere around the globe. The technology works by transmitting data through packet switching using standard internet protocols. However, the internet wasn’t always available to the public and comes with an interesting background.
Since the internet is a vast and ever-changing technology, it’s difficult to credit its origins to a single person. It has been the result of hard work over the years, of a number of scientists, engineers and programmers, with each one contributing to an aspect of the internet’s development, making it the information superhighway that it is today.
The short history of the internet is steeped in defense strategies needed by the USA against their rival, the Soviet Union. The internet has its origins in the military project termed SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environments) which could network the radar systems across the entire USA for the first time in 1958. Its creation was meant as an attempt to regain leadership in technology over the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik. In 1969, a group of defense engineers working with the University of Los Angeles-California (UCLA) were the first to ever send an instant message via ARPANet to another group of scientists located hundreds of miles away at Stanford University. ARPANet technology allowed multiple computers to communicate together on a single network via packet switching.
ARPANet was also funded by the Department of Defense in USA and was meant to create a system to connect its various facilities for the purpose of sharing information, software and storage space. It was created to cover the redundancy in communications in the event of a nuclear attack and was also meant to connect different networks with one another, mainly those owned by the military and educational institutions.
Even though the internet has its roots in the military-only data grid, it has evolved rapidly over the years into a grid that covers the entire planet. This technology continued to evolve further into the 1970’s when the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) were developed as standard communication models for data transmission among different networks. The ARPANet then adopted the TCP/IP model, and from here, scientists finally began the journey towards building the ‘network of networks’, the precursor of the modern-day internet. Tim Berners-Lee further invented the World Wide Web (www) in 1989 and this was the crucial step required towards building the vast trove of information available on the internet as we know it today.