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ck. In laboratories on eitherside of the continent a small group of computer scientists were quietly changing
the future of communication. Their goal was to build a computer network that
would enable researchers around the country to share ideas (Kantrowitz 56). The
Internet we make so much today — the global Internet which has helped scholars
so much, where free speech is flourishing as never before in history — the
Internet was a cold war military project. It was designed for purposes of military
communication in a United States devastated by a Soviet nuclear strike.

Originally, the Internet was a post-apocalypse command grid (Tappendorf 1).

The threat of nuclear war was a tangible, and frightening, possibility during the
cold war period. In the 1960s the Vietnam War was grabbing all of the headlines.

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The history books describe the decade as brimming with social unrest and
change. This decade also witnessed the birth of a military experiment that was to
evolve into what we now call the Net (Net 1). The history of the Internet begins
with the research and development, RAND, group in 1966. Paul Baran was
commissioned by the United States Air Force to do a study on how it could
maintain its command control over its missiles and bombers, after a nuclear
attack. Baran’s finished document described several ways to accomplish this
task. What he finally proposes is a packet switched network (Tappendorf 2).

Packet switching is a method of fragmenting messages into sub-parts called
packets, routing them to their destinations and reassembling them. Packetizing
information has several advantages. It facilitates allowing several users to share
the same connection by breaking up the data into discrete units which can be
routed separately. Because no transmission medium is 100% reliable, packet
switching allows one bad packet to be re-sent while other good packets are
uninterrupted in their transmission (Hardy 6). Packets may carry information
about themselves, where they have been and where they are going. In addition,
packets may be compressed for speed and size advantages or encrypted for
security. Most packets carry some sort of internal check for consistency that helps
to weed out bad packets. Packetizing data has advantages in overcoming certain
inherent bandwidth and speed constraints, particularly in older network and
modem based communication (Hardy 6). The early pioneers of Advanced
Research Projects Agency network, ARPAnet, wanted to create a network that
was robust, reliable, and did not have a single point of failure. A single point of
failure would be a network designed with one device that was the master node,
or controlling device, for the network. This leads to problems in that when the
master node goes down, the whole entire network is lost. These early pioneers of
ARPAnet acknowledged this single point of failure concept, in turn, created a
network that had no central controlling device; rather, it was made up of
individual devices, or nodes that all worked together and participated on the
network. Although these first networks consisted of few machines, it laid the
foundation for things to come (Boyce 492). The reliable networking part
involved dynamic rerouting. If one of the network links were to become disrupted
by enemy attack, the traffic on it could automatically be rerouted to other links.

Fortunately, the net rarely has come under enemy attack. But an errant backhoe
cutting a cable is just as much of a threat, so it’s important for the net to be
backhoe resistant (Levine 12). Starting with the ARPAnet the government began
researching ways to exchange information among various government sites
located in the United States. The research and implementation of ARPAnet led to
the early beginnings of the Internet. This network allowed government officials at
various sites to exchange files, documents, and messages with one another, even
though they were physically separated by many miles (Boyce 492). In 1969, what
would later become the Internet was founded. It contrasts sharply with today’s
Internet. The ARPAnet network had four machines on it, linked together with a
packet switched network. Soon afterward other government agencies became
interested in this new network; Department of Defense, NASA, National Science
Foundation, and the Federal Reserve Board. Because of this new interest and the
fact that ARPAnet was growing, now 24 nodes in 1972, Information Processing
Techniques Office, IPTO, began to look to other ways to transmit data other than
through a wire. Two projects were launched to settle these needs. The first was
the use of satellites for data transmission. IPTO quickly learned that it would be
possible to send data via satellite and went into negotiations with the board of
directors of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization. The second
project was for radio transmitted data. It soon also became apparent that a packet
switched radio network for mobile computing would be possible. In 1976, the
packet satellite project went into practical use. Atlantic packet Satellite network,
SATNET, was born. This network linked the United States with Europe. This
network was interesting in that it used commercial Intelsat satellites that were
owned by the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization as
opposed to government military satellites (Tappendorf 2). In the same year a man
called Ray Tomlinson created an e-mail program that could send personal
messages across the network. Seems harmless enough, but this development
played an important role in the nets evolution by helping it move further away
from its military roots. The academics with access to the system were using it
predominantly to communicate with colleagues, and their messages were not
always about research. Mailing lists on a variety of subjects proved to be very
popular (Net 2). In 1973, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, DARPA, initiated a research program to investigate techniques and
technologies for interlining packet networks of various kinds. The objective was
to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to
communicate transparently across multiple, linked packet networks. This was
called the Internetting Project and the system of networks which emerged from
the research was known as the Internet. The system of protocols which was
developed over the course of this research effort became known as the TCP/IP
protocol suite, after the two initial protocols developed: Transmission Control
Protocol, TCP, and Internet Protocol, IP (Liener 1). In 1976 the Department of
Defense, began to experiment with this new protocol and soon decided to require
it for use on ARPAnet. January 1983 was the date fixed as when every machine
connected to ARPAnet had to use this new protocol (Tappendorf 3). In addition
to the selection of TCP/IP for the NSFNET program, Federal agencies made and
implemented several other policy decisions which shaped the Internet of today
(Leiner 11). The creation of the TCP/IP protocol made possible the text based
Net communications systems so popular today, including electronic mail,
discussion lists, file indexing, and hypertext. E-mail, of course, is the most
widely used of the Net services, the most convenient and the most functional
(Diamond 42). The backbone had made the transition from a network built from
routers out of the research community to commercial equipment. In its 8 1/2 year
lifetime, the backbone had grown from six nodes with 56 kbps links to 21 nodes
with multiple 45 Mbps links. It had seen the Internet grow over 50,000 networks
on all seven continents and outer space, with approximately 29,000 networks in
the United States (Leiner 12). Widespread development of Lans, Pcs, and
workstations in the 1980s allowed the nascent Internet to flourish. Ethernet
technology, developed by Bob Metcalfe at Xerox PARC in 1973, is now
probably the dominant network technology in the Internet, and Pcs and
workstations the dominate computers. This change from having a few networks
with a modest number of time- shared hosts, the original ARPAnet model, to
having many networks has resulted in a number of new concepts and changes to
the underlying technology. First, it resulted in the definition of three network
classes A, B, and C to accommodate the range of networks. Class A represented
large national scale networks, a small number of networks with large number of
hosts; Class B represented regional scale networks; and Class C represented
local area networks, a large number of networks with relatively few hosts
(Leiner 8). Beginning around 1980, university computing was moving from a
small number of large time-sharing machines, each of which served hundreds of
simultaneous users, to a large number of smaller desktop workstations for
individual users. Because users had gotten used to the advantages of time-sharing
systems, such as shared directories of files and e-mail, they wanted to keep those
same facilities on their workstations (Levine 12). Workstation manufactures
began to include the necessary network hardware also, so all anyone had to do to
get a working network was to string a cable to connect the workstations,
something that universities could do inexpensively because they usually could get
students to do it (Levine 13). In 1983, the ARPAnet was split into ARPAnet and
MILnet. The latter was integrated into the Defense Data Network created in
1982. ARPAnet was taken out of service in 1990. ARPAnet’s role as network
backbone was taken over by NSFNET which may in time be supplanted by the
National Research and Educational Network, NREN (Hardy 8). In 1988, in a
conscious effort to test Federal policy on commercial use of Internet, the
corporation for National research Initiatives approached the Federal Networking
Council for permission to experiment with the interconnection of MCI Mail with
the Internet. An experimental electronic mail relay was built and put into
operation in 1989, and shortly thereafter Compuserve, ATTMail, and Sprintmail,
followed suit. Once again, a far-sighted experimental effort coupled with wise
policy choice stimulated investment by industry and expansion of the nation’s
infrastructure. In the past few years, commercial use of the Internet has exploded
(Cerf 5). The Internet is experiencing exponential growth in the number of
networks, number of hosts, and volume of traffic. NSFNET backbone traffic more
than doubled annually from a terabyte per month in March 1991 to 18 terabytes, a
terabyte is a thousand bytes, a month in November 1994. The number of host
computers increased from 200 to 5,000,000 in the 12 years between 1983-1995
— a factor of 25,000 (Cerf 5). In an extraordinary development, the NSFNET
backbone was retired at the end of April 1995, with almost no visible efforts
from the point of view of users. This left all of the hard work to be handled by the
Internet service providers. A fully commercial system of backbones has been
erected where a government sponsored system once existed. Indeed, the key
networks that made the Internet possible are now gone — but the Internet thrives
(Cerf 6). In 1990, Hyper Text Markup Language, HTML, a hypertext Internet
protocol which would communicate the graphic info on the Internet, was
introduced. Each individual could create graphic pages, a website, which then
became part of a huge, virtual hypertext network called the World Wide Web.

The enhanced Internet was informally renamed the Web and a huge additional
audience was created (Wendell 1). The initial development of the Web was
limited to text; it did not have the multimedia capabilities of today’s browsers.

Despite this, Tim Lee’s project was the basis for later developments. In 1992, his
software was released to the public. Its popularity grew steadily, but by February
1993, the Web still only accounted for 0.1 per cent of all Internet traffic. When
we first connected to the Internet through a university account it was a bland
textual world. At this point in time it had not become the major attraction that it is
today (Net 3). One of the major forces behind the exponential growth of the
Internet is a variety of new capabilities in the network — particularly directory,
indexing, and searching services that help users discover information in the vast
sea of the Internet. Many of these services have started as university research
efforts and evolved into businesses. Examples include the Wide Area Information
Service, Archie, LYCOS from Carnegie Mellon, YAHOO from Stanford, and
INFOSEEK. Aiding and stimulating these services is the recent arrival of a killer
ap for the Internet: the World Wide Web (Cerf 6). The Web is a hypertext system
which has the ability to link documents together. Hypertext is not a new idea, in
1945 Vaneavear Bush, the science adviser to president Eisenhower came up with
the idea of a machine that would not only store vast amounts of information, but
also allow readers to link related information. In 1968, the eccentric Ted Nelson
coined the term hypertext, and real efforts were finally made to create working
models. Ted Nelson went on to found the overly ambitious Xanadu project, but
the first real system accessible to the public was developed by Apple computers
as late as 1987 (Net 2). The development of Tim Lee’s World Wide Web project
becoming the most successful hypertext system was largely due to software
developments that dramatically improved its look and interface. The major
breakthrough came in June 1993, with the release of the Mosaic browser for
Windows. It was created by the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications. The initial versions of Mosaic are very similar to the browsers we
use today. With this new development the Web became far more popular. By
1994, the Web accounted for most of the traffic across the net. In 1995, Netscape
Communications Corp. was founded by Mark Andreessen and others involved in
the original Mosaic project. The new Netscape browser ushered in a new era for
the Internet. The fact that Microsoft is now trying to get a piece of this market is
testimony to the part that Mosaic and Netscape have played in the Web’s
commercial and popular appeal (Net 2). The development of HTML and the
Mosaic browser led to the explosion of Internet usage of the World Wide Web in
particular. But the World Wide Web is not the only aspect of the Internet that has
grown since 1983. E-mail still remains the most used application on the Internet.

Other usage of the Internet includes: FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Usenet
(Internet newsgroups), Archie, Gopher, Telnet, and IRC (Internet Relay Chat). It
is all of these applications together that have led to the growth of the Internet.

Today, there are more than 30 million users who are using the Internet. This is a
6,000 percent increase over the number of users who were using the Internet in
1983 (Boyce 493). As of May 1995, there were over 30,000 Web sites on the
Internet and the number is doubling every two months. companies that were
formerly unsure about the utility of the Internet have rushed to use the Web as a
means of presenting products and services. The rest of the 1990s belongs to the
content providers, who will use the rapidly evolving infrastructure to bring
increasingly sophisticated material to consumers (Cerf 6). The explosive growth
of the Internet has involved millions of individual users with modem-equipped
personal computers. The prime cause of the boom has been development of a
far-flung World Wide Web service — a collection of several hundred thousand
independent computers, called Web servers, scattered worldwide. There are
more than 30 million users and two million computers on the Internet. The web
has grown to more than 50 million public pages with millions more private pages
behind corporate firewalls (Curtis 9). In Anthony Curtis’s timeline he states that
Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, has predicted a meltdown on the Internet,
citing alarming usage figures. Bob Metalfe said that in the first half of 1996, 3.5
million new hosts were added to the already-congested conglomeration of
Internet networks. Netscape alone gets 80 million hits on its Web site each day.

America On- Line, Netcom and small Internet service providers have
experienced serious network crashes and extensive down times for their
services. A full 30 percent of telephone calls to service providers get a busy
signal. The rate of growth is a giant tsunami nearing the shores of our
accessibility to unlimited information (Curtis 10). The Internet has changed much
in the two decades since it came into existence. It was conceived in the era of
time-sharing, but has survived into the era of personal computers, client- server,
peer-to-peer computer, and the network computer. It was designed before LANs
existed, but has accommodated that new network technology. It was envisioned
as supporting a range of functions from file sharing and remote login to resource
sharing and collaboration, and has spawned electronic mail and ,more recently,
the World Wide Web. But most important, it started as the creation of a small
band of dedicated researchers, and has grown to be a commercial success with
billions of dollars of annual investment (Leiner 18). There is also now talk of
Internet2. With the promise of access and transfer rates of up to 1,000 times what
is possible with the Internet today, the Internet2 (I2) project is deserving of the
attention it has received. But do not expect to be cruising at lightning speed
anytime soon. Internet2 is currently confined to academia, government research
centers, and non profit organizations (Krueger 302). It remains to be seen
whether Internet2 can accomplish its goals and then merge its findings and
advances with the commercial Internet in the time frame suggested. In the end,
improved bandwidth and multimedia solutions that meet or exceed the goals of
the Next Generation Internet, NGI, may be realized — all by the year 2002
deadline. Only time will tell. If I2 flies, however, we may soon hear the
buzzword Internet3 (Krueger 306). One should not conclude that the Internet has
now finished changing. The Internet, although a network in name and geography,
is a creature of the computer, not the traditional network of the telephone or
television industry. It will, indeed it must, continue to change and evolve at the
speed of the computer industry if it is to remain relevant. The most pressing
question for the future of the Internet is not how the technology will change, but
how the process of change and evolution itself will be managed. If the Internet
stumbles, it will not be because we lack for technology, vision, or motivation. It
will be because we cannot set a direction and march collectively into the future
(Leiner 18).

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