The Early Internet

We thought that it would be important to talk about the creation of the internet.  Without the internet there would be no VoIP technology and the face of telecommunications would be a lot different then what we know today.

Before the internet there was the ARPANET or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.  ARPANET was designed to facilitate communication between ARPA computers.  This was invented in the early 1960s before there were computers in every home.  This idea was not put into place until 1969 when a link between multiple computers was invented.  APRANET was invented to make it possible for computers to be connected at different locations.  To be able to take advantage of different computers functions a person would have to travel to each location of the computer.  The APRANET made it possible to efficiently link multiple computers together which would allow users to access the specified functions of different computers and data without the cost of travel and time. ARPA was part of the Defense Department so one of the motivations to create this was to be able to have a communication structure to survive a possible nuclear attack.

By 1962 J.C.R. Licklider authored a series of memos that envisioned a world-wide computer network in which computer terminlas would be linked to one another, so anyone with access to a terminal, had the ability to send and receive info to other computers and users.  Paul Baran, an engineer at the RAND military think tank, developed a conceptual model of communication called distributed communications.  In this model, communication would go from the origin point and then onto one of many different switching nodes, instead of a single regional or national node.  It would allow for safer communication should any given node be eliminated because there would still be multiple nodes for a communication to move across.

In 1965 the first network experiment linking two computers takes place between the TX-2 computer at Lincoln Labs and the Q-32 mainframe at the RAND Corporation.  This was the first time that two computers directly communicated with one another. In 1966 Lawrence Roberts published a plan for the APRANET which utilized the concept of a computer network that used packet switching in which blocks of data (or packets) could be sent over a linked network of nodes in such a way that network nodes could delay the routing of the data packets and pass them on to other nodes.  Packet switching as a method of communication was a break through over circuit switching because it allowed for a more efficient use of a network by increasing the ability of a network communication to function regardless of abnormalities and decreasing the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to move across a given network.  By 1967 the APRANET was up and running with the first node of the ARPANET installed at the UCLA Network Measurement Center in 1969, with nodes at the Stanford Research Institute, The Univeristy of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah.

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The first time that the public got to see the APRANET was in 1972 at the International Computer Communication Conference.  This is also where the public see electronic mail or email for the first time.  Email was one of the major catalysts for increasing interest in developing network technology.  Ray Tomlinson created the first email programs called SNDMSG and READMAIL.  In 1973 Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf worked together on the idea of developing internetworking of connecting multiple networks in a more open form than the closed network of the APRANET.  They developed a networking protocol that would allow an open-architecture for multiple networks to be joined together.  This was later called the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or TCP/IP.  This allowed each individual network to stand alone.  So if one network went down this would not make all of the joined networks go down.  1973 was also the year that the first international connection to the APRANET was made with the addition of the University College of London and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway.

Robert Metcalfe while working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center developed a system that replaced radio transmission of network data with a cable that provideded a larger amount of bandwidth, enabling the transfer of millions of bits of data per second instead of the thousands of bits per second.  This will later be known as the Ethernet.

ethernet-cable
Modern day Ethernet cable
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