Who invented the concept of computer networks

What would your life be like without the internet? Perhaps you would talk to customers on the phone much more often and hand out flyers in the neighborhood. You would gather your marketing knowledge in the library instead of using our blog. And there would be neither video conferences nor streamed series after work. One thing is certain: the Internet has radically changed the lives of all of us in just a few years.

Find out here how exactly it came about and get an overview of the history of the Internet.

How long has the internet been around?

The forerunner of today's Internet was called Arpanet and was developed in the USA in 1964, but was not presented to the public until 1969. At that point, four computers from Stanford, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Santa Barbara Universities were connected. The first data transfer succeeded on October 29, 1969.

The World Wide Web was invented much later: the idea for it came from computer expert Tim Berners-Lee around 1990. It has been available to everyone since April 30, 1993.

Internet and WWW (World Wide Web) - What is the difference?

The terms Internet and World Wide Web - WWW for short - are often used synonymously. In fact, they don't mean the same thing.

In general, the Internet is a global network that connects individual computer networks with one another. The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is a service within the Internet. It enables websites to be created and visited. There are also many other services on the Internet, such as e-mail and radio. However, the WWW is the most widely used by all.

The evolution of the internet

If we start the story at the very beginning, we even have to look in front of the Arpanet. 1957 - in the middle of the cold war - the Soviet Union sent its first satellite into space. The US feared the Soviet Union might destroy its communications system. They were therefore looking for a way of decentralized control of their networks in the future. Even if one network site went down, others should be able to continue working normally.

For this reason, among other things, the Advances Research Project Agency - ARPA for short - founded. She researched the exchange of military knowledge and information and developed the Arpanet. However, after the first successful transmission of a message in 1969, the number of computers connected to the network grew only slowly.

In 1971, 23 computers were finally connected to the Arpanet. In the same year, the computer technician Ray Tomlinson presented a communication system he had developed: the e-mail. He also introduced the @ symbol, which is still in use today.

Another major milestone followed in Summer 1973: The scientists Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn developed the technical Internet protocol TCP. This made it possible to transmit data in small packages. Cerf was the first to use the term “Internet”. It stands for "Interconnected Networks".

In 1974 the Arpanet expanded abroad: The first computers in Norway, England and Hawaii followed.

In the years to come, the number of computers in the network rose continuously. In 1983 it broke the 4,000 computer mark. A year later, the Domain Name System, or DNS for short, was developed. Users could now address computers around the world with easy-to-remember names instead of IP addresses.

Via the World Wide Web to mass suitability

Tim Berners-Lee after all, it made a decisive contribution to the fact that the Internet could continue to expand. Of 1989 until the 90s into it he gradually presented the Concept of the world wide web, first drafts for the markup language HTML and invented URLs, browsers and web servers. Also the protocol HTTP and the setting of links between different websites was Berners-Lee's idea.

1990 The US National Science Foundation decided to open the internet for commercial purposes. From then on, private individuals could also use it. A little later the Arpanet was completely replaced by the WWW and shut down.

1993 the first mass-market Internet browser "Mosaic" was developed. A year later, the search engines Lycos and Yahoo started operations. Google went online in 1997.

In the years that followed, the Internet was used more and more intensively. It also rapidly gained popularity in Germany. This development can still be observed today.

Summary: The history of the internet in a timeline

You can track the most important milestones in Internet development in this timeline:

1958 - The Advances Research Project Agency (ARPA) is founded.

1964 - The Arpanet is developed.

1969 - The first message is transmitted between two computers.

1971 - The first email is sent in the Arpanet.

1972 - The File Transport Protocol (FTP) is developed.

1973 - Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn develop the Internet protocol TCP.

1974 - The first computers outside the USA are connected to the Arpanet.

1983 - The network protocol IPv4 is introduced.

1984 - The Domain Name System (DNS) is developed. The first German computer is connected to the CSNet computer network at the University of Karlsruhe.

1989 - Tim Berners-Lee presents his idea of ​​the World Wide Web. In the following years he also developed HTML, HTTP, URLs, browsers and web servers.

1990 - In the US, the Internet is being made available to everyone.

1993 - “Mosaic”, the first graphic internet browser suitable for the masses, is launched.

1994 - The first search engines start operating with Yahoo and Lycos.

2004 - Social networks like Facebook and Xing are becoming fashionable.

2007 - After the presentation of the first iPhone, the development of the mobile Internet is picking up speed.

Conclusion: The development of the Internet is far from over

After a rather slow development at the beginning, the Internet rapidly gained acceptance by the early 1990s at the latest. Today it has become an indispensable part of everyday life - and the developments are far from over. New offers are constantly being developed within the Internet, research is being carried out more and more in the field of artificial intelligence and work is being carried out in Germany on the introduction of the new 5G mobile communications standard. It is therefore quite possible that the Internet will continue to influence our lives in the future.

Cover picture: Nutthaseth Vanchaichana / getty images

Originally published September 10, 2020, updated 10 September 2020

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