History of the Internet

In today’s world, it is nearly impossible to go a day without using the Internet for at least something. Whether it be email, checking the weather, reading the news, scrolling through social media, looking for a local business, or for digital marketing; the Internet is engrained in our lives and here to stay. We love all things Internet, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide all of us with the history of the Internet. How did this “thing” that is so important to us, come to be?

Who invented the Internet?

Unlike most other technologies, the Internet has no single “inventor.” When you look at the history of the Internet, you see how it has evolved over time and can come across many different people that paved its way.

Long before the technology behind the Internet actually existed, many scientists had already anticipated the existence of worldwide networks of information. Nikola Tesla toyed with the idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, and visionaries like Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems of books and media in the 1930s and 1940s. 

Why was the Internet created?

When looking at the history of the Internet, the origins are rooted in the USA in the 1950s. The Cold War was at its height and major tensions existed between North America and the Soviet Union. Both superpowers were in possession of deadly nuclear weapons, and people lived in fear of long-range surprise attacks. The US realized it needed a communications system that could not be affected by a Soviet nuclear attack.

At this time, computers were large, expensive machines exclusively used by military scientists and university staff. These machines were powerful but limited in numbers, causing researchers to grow frustrated; they required access to the technology but had to travel far distances to use it.

To solve this problem, researchers started ‘time-sharing’. This meant that users could simultaneously access a mainframe computer through a series of terminals, although individually they had only a fraction of the computer’s actual power at their command. The difficulty of using such systems led various scientists, engineers and organizations to research the possibility of a large-scale computer network.

What was the “first Internet”?

According to History.com, the first practical schematics for the Internet would not arrive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of an “Intergalactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” a method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the Internet.

The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network.

On October 29, 1969, ARPAnet delivered its first message: a “node-to-node” communication from one computer to another. (The first computer was in a research lab at UCLA and the second was at Stanford; each one was the size of a small house.) The message—“LOGIN”—was short and simple, but it crashed the fledgling ARPA network anyway: The Stanford computer only received the note’s first two letters.

Are the World Wide Web and the Internet the same?

In the 1970s, the ARPANET technology continued to grow. Scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet.

The online world took on a more identifiable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The terms ‘World Wide Web’ and ‘Internet’ are often confused. The Internet is the networking infrastructure that connects devices together, while the World Wide Web is a way of accessing information through the medium of the Internet. The World Wide Web relied on ‘hyperlinks’ to connect documents together. Written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), a hyperlink can point to any other HTML page or file that sits on top of the Internet.

The World Wide Web helped to create and popularize the Internet among the public and served as a crucial step in developing the vast amount of information that most of us now access daily on the Internet.

In conclusion

Like the Internet itself, the history of the Internet is complex and can’t be credited to just one thing, rather it was created by a series of events and people. The Internet today, is something that most people can not live without, including us waterbears.

At Water Bear Marketing, we believe that in today’s world, there is no room for guessing with your advertising dollars. We help our customers get a return on their online advertising dollars and prove the results with our reporting.

Make your own mark on the history of the Internet, and contact us today for a free consultation.