Evolution of The Internet

The internet traces its roots to the US Defence Department project in the 1960s which started out in the Cold War. Desires to have armed forces communicate over a connected, distributed network started. The ARPA began to work on a communication project which led to the creation of ARPANET. It eventually connected military installations, third-party contractors, and a handful of universities. By the 70s, ARPANET connected NORSAR – US-Norwegian system designed to monitor seismic activity from earthquakes/nuclear blasts over satellite. The system then connected to computers in London and eventually parts of Europe.

The SDS Sigma 7 was used by the University of California, LA to send first message over ARPANET to Stanford University. Scientific data, and early US Computer built the first computer that connected to the network.  Researchers were trying to type “login” and the system crashed so the first message was sent over the word “lo;”.

Broadband Development

In the early days, these systems used IMPs (Interface Message Processors) which were computers designed to organize and receive data coming in and out of the network. Essentially, they were the earliest version of the modern router.

Mobile Broadband was introduced connecting through a cell phone. The first mobile data was 3G in 2003 when radio technology allowed more calls and texts to be sent over the air.

In 2009 4G launched. In 2013 there was about 1.9 billion smartphone subscriptions growing to 5.3 billion in 2018. In 2018 the newest/modern 5G was launched for home network and 5G for mobile in 2019 making it the first globally to offer next-generation network.

Internet Protocols

When message is sent through the internet, it doesn’t use every protocol in the suite below.

Different types of Internet Protocols layers:

  • Application Layer
  • Transport Layer
  • Network Layer
  • Link Layer

Network Layer (IP)

This is where we address protocols to uniquely identify who sends data and who receives data. We use IP addresses to identify each computer, mobile, smart TV etc.

Transport Layer (TCP)

To ensure reliable transport, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is used with sequencing, acknowledgement and retries. There is another way which faster but not so reliable called User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

Link Layer (Wireless LAN)

Has two computing devices that needs physical mechanisms to send digital data. Electromagnetic signals are sent over wired or wireless connections and interpret signal at bits. Bit rate and bandwidth are affected over the connection type.

Transport Layer (TCP)

When two devices exchange information it isn’t just one straight path, the data goes from one router to another where it finally reaches the destination. When exchanging information, the entire data packet cannot be sent over the path, therefor the data should be broken up into smaller packets which are reassembled when the packets reach the destination.

Application Layer (DNS)

By visiting a website, a domain name needs to be typed into the browser address bar, where the browser turns the domain into an IP address using the Domain Name System (DNS). To transport data that contains private information, Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol uses algorithms to encrypt data while certificate authorities help trust the encryption.



J.C.R. Licklider came up with the idea of global computer network. He shared his idea with his colleagues at U.S Department of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).


ARPANET launches, creating the core of what will become the Internet.


Electrical engineer Robert Kahn gives the first public demonstration of the ARPANET featuring terminals that can access computer located across the country.


Kahn enlisted computer scientist Vinton Cerf to help expand ARPANET by integrating other packet-switching networks into a “Internetwork”.


Kahn and Cerf developed the internet’s core communications protocol suite, TCP/IP, providing standards for error-free data transmission and identifying networked destinations.


Metcalfe’s company announced Ethernet products for workstation computers and personal computers which allowed establishment of Local Area Network.


The PhoneNet system was established and connected to ARPANET which became the first commercial network, Telenet. This allowed broad access to the internet and email communications between multiple nations.


The first Domain was registered which belonged to a computer manufacturer.


ARPANET is decommissioned.


Microsoft launched Widows 95 and Amazon, Yahoo and eBay are also launched. Internet Explorer was introduced, and Java was created.


Congress passes the Communications Decency Act to combat the growing amount of objectionable material on the internet.


Google was released, followed by the first virus in 1999.


The dot-com bubble began to pop.


BitTorrent, decentralized communication protocol for peer-to-per file sharing, is released.


Facebook was created, signalling the new era for social media on the internet.


Amazon Web Services marketed IT infrastructure to businesses, and he term “cloud computing” gained traction.


Apple introduced the iPhone which quickly evolved into a dominant platform of the mobile web.


Satoshi Nakamoto launched the Bitcoin network.


There are many different platforms (apps) that use the internet, in the future these apps will just advance while the internet keeps growing and become more advanced each year.