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The Internet’s Early Years

Most of the world now revolves around the internet and many people would be lost without it. It has not been around forever though and it has been constantly developed ever since its launch and now it is truly something amazing that the majority take for granted.

In the 1950s electronic computers were developed and these had a link with another terminal away from the computer and these were first examples of the internet. The early stages of the internet only consisted of point-to-point networking which basically information is going straight from one computer to another; a bit like how a telephone works. This stayed the same until the late 1960s which was when packet switching was experimented with. Packet switching had a shared network available to multiple computers although this was relatively basic back then. Through the early packet switching only basic messages making this rather limited.

As this developed a man called Robert Taylor tried to develop the Arpanet and on the 29th October he made an interconnected link between a research centre in Stamford, USA to the University of California, Los Angeles. This was a distance of over 300 miles which was quite an achievement. The only problem with this that only 2 letters were sent over the network and then it crashed but it was a huge step forward and it was a good base to develop from.

Less than 2 months later on the 2nd December 2 more nodes were added with the University of Utah and the University of California, Santa Barbra being added. The University of Utah was over 700 miles way and this shows how quickly the network was developing. This network worked without crashing and continued to develop. By 1981 it had 213 hosts with a new host being added every 20 days. This was a huge growth and showed that it was possible to have a network between multiple computers. Although back then it was expensive to run and this could have limited it a bit.

As this was going on many other networks were developed and not many were as successful as the Arpanet. Nasa created a network that was more successful than all of the other networks and it was truly outstanding. They developed the TCP/IP which connected scientist all over the world. By 1989 it had connected 20,000 scientists in all seven continents proving that the link between computers was not limited at all. These networks could only send messages to other computers and the idea of a website was merely a dream.

As more networks became successful people began looking at ways that the networks could be merged or moved over to one big network. Nasa’s network continued to grow and other organisations began to use it. CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) tried to develop it further and with the help Tim Berners-Lee they helped incorporate this network and create the internet in 1989. Tim Berners-Lee is universally recognised as the inventor of the internet today.

Back when it was first invented it was fairly basic and what you could do was fairly basic. The first website was built within CERN in France in 1991. This website held information about the project of creating a World Wide Web and the address of this website was and this website is still used today. The website also held information on how to use a web browser and other information required so that the internet could be used. In 2004 Tim Berners-Lee received a knighthood to recognise his achievement.

Ever since then the internet has been developing and now you can share practically anything over the internet and you can connect to anyone around the world. In December 2011 there were 2.3 Billion users on the internet which is a huge growth from the two computers sending 2 letters over a distance of 300 miles.



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