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Evolution of internet

The Evolution of Internet: From 1960 to 2022

by Gayatri Talla

The Internet now has become a vital component of the everyday life of people across the globe. The internet that we speak of is a network that is interlinked to various other networks for information and wireless communications. Its network has grown significantly over the decades and now, has become the keystone in communications worldwide. Yet, the Internet itself has evolved. 

Origin of the Internet.

The network was first an experiment in the 1960s by the US military during the cold war as a means for communication capable of sustaining even in a thermonuclear attack. The project was undertaken by researcher Paul Baran, who introduced a design of a network based on high levels of link redundancy and digital communication technology, but for various reasons, the prototype network was never built. 

However, later the US Defense department set up a new Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the department and later funded, purchased, and maintained at least a dozen mainframe computers for universities, institutions, and research facilities that contracted with the agency. From this, the idea of a network of “Resource-sharing” came to life. 

evolution of internet

ARPANET – The Base.

The Idea of “resource sharing” was first founded in ARPA in 1966. The mainframe computers that the agency funded in research institutions were going to be the first phase of the network building but the computers were not compatible with each other and needed complex networking software for each of the computers to communicate and share the information from every device to the system. Yet, this goal wasn’t fully achieved, instead, a sub-net of identical minicomputers (named “‘interface message processors’ or IMPs) were made to link to a single mainframe computer.

 This was completed by 1972 at an astounding speed and was prepared to present to the public later that year. Even though the ARPANET was based on the ideas of Paul Baran, it was a network that had a core system to be linked, which was administered under a single agency, the ARPA.

TCP and IP-based networks.

The ARPA began the various projects after the ARPANET concerning a network based on radio waves and then using the technology to communicate with satellites, these projects were named PRNET and SATNET respectively. By the 1970s the agency was running 3 of its projects simultaneously; they were different but had the same core concept of a network. It was then the agency experimented with connecting the 3 networks, calling it “Internetworking”; the project began in late 1973. 

The ways to connect them were various, but the one that was adopted was to assign a new set of protocols and interlock them on the 2 new ones, thus TCP and IP developed. This way, the TCP/IP became the stepping stone for the new “Network of Networks”, and because the system was not controlled by any single entity, it was not administered by any state. The role of the Internet was concluded to pick the data packets from one end and deliver it to the destination.

The Evolution of Internet into the 70s.

By the end of the 1970s, access to the internet was limited to certain research institutions that contracted with ARPA, but as the subject grew in universities the exclusiveness of the Internet was seemingly dysfunctional. For this, the US national science foundation (NSF) funded the creation of a computer science network (CSNET) in the 1980s.

Unlike the ARPANET, membership to CSNET, which used the same TCP/IP protocols, was allowed to any computer science institutions that subscribed to the network. As a result, the network grew rapidly. In 1994, NSF planned the internet service to be taken over by commercial companies known as the “Internet service providers” ISPs who each had their own backbone, such a way that ISPs would interconnect their systems and allow traffic to pass from one network to another. 

Development of the World Wide Web.

The Web was founded by CERN scientist Tim Berners-lee. The original idea was to develop a way to publish, locate, and retrieve document data stored on various internet servers across the world so that it could be easier for visiting physicians around the world to access them. The prototype was ready by the end of the 1990s and was named “World Wide Web”.

In spite of the accomplishment, the web was slow from 1991-to 92 until 2 scientists working at National Center for Supercomputers Applications (NCSA) developed a browser called Mosaic. This launch of the browser was an important milestone for the evolution of both the Web and the Internet. As one needed access to the internet to use the web, the Mosaic browser triggered the demand for Internet connections among the population.

Google brings revolution.

Google was first a research project of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, that skimmed through the Internet to see which pages were linked to the other pages, which could lead to a kind of search engine. They created a PageRanking algorithm that ranked the pages on the internet with respect to the linkages. This system was launched in 1996 on Stanford’s private network.

In 1998, seeing how vast the linkage of pages had grown, the duo changed the initial name of their project to Google and established it as a company. In the 2000s, with Google’s Internal reconstruction, it introduced products like Google Docs, and Gmail; which further hyped the users around the world when it went public in 2004. In 2008, Google launched the Chrome browser for Windows; in just 4 years Google’s browser left behind Firefox and Internet Explorer in the popularity poll.


Internet-Based companies that changed our lives.

Amazon was the result of Jeff Bezos’s intention for an Internet-based business, the goal was to sell things online, he started it by selling printed books at low prices. As it grew in the 1990s, because of the great demand for books and its dominance in the field, it started investing in e-books and later in digital publishing. In the late 1990s, Amazon stepped into the media industry with Movies and Music for online viewers, however, Amazon Prime came out in 2005.  It is also known for being the creator of Alexa, one of the greatest voice assistants in the market. 

As Amazon expanded its territories in media and digital voice, it focused on faster shipping and the retail market. With its goal of being a “One-stop Shopping site” Amazon bloomed into the e-commerce industry. In 2014, Amazon started the same-day shipping program, along with AmazonFresh for vegetables and frozen products and Prime Pantry. 

Facebook was a college experiment of Mark Zuckerberg in the year 2004, who wanted to create a way for Harvard students to connect with each other; the social media website was the result. It allowed its users to add friends and create a network, soon sharing text became easier. In 2006, Facebook was opened to the world outside of college and its network grew rapidly; the media text was also introduced this year. 


Facebook as a company, provided a digital space for interactions of its users; new ways of sharing were introduced and it took socializing to new heights, and soon the Internet became a way to connect to people and share their views, ideas, and lives. It expanded not only through the software and Internet but geographically too, from the USA to around the world, it held onto its goal of connecting people and changed the way of social interactions forever. 

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