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Chapter 8. The Internet > The History of the Internet

The History of the Internet

The Internet was started in 1969 by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPANET, in a computer room at the University of California, Los Angeles. The point of the Internet was to enable scientists at universities to share research information created in distant locations. ARPANET was created 12 years after Sputnik, during the Cold War. The original goal of ARPANET was to develop a network secure enough to withstand a nuclear attack. According to an August 24, 1994 article in Network World, Leonard Kleinrock stated, "ARPANET was conceived as a way to save money by getting government-funded researchers to share computers rather than each of them buying their own" (page 6).

The first communications switch used to route messages on the ARPANET was developed at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (BBN was bought by GTE and is now called GTE Internetworking. Bell Atlantic is acquiring GTE.) ARPANET was based on packet switching developed by Rand Corporation in 1962. Data was broken up into "envelopes" of information that contain addressing, error checking and user data. One advantage of packet switching is that packets from multiple computers can share the same data line. A separate path is not needed for each transmission. Moreover, in the case of an attack, if one computer goes down, data can be rerouted to other computers in the packet network. TCP/IP, the protocol still used on the Internet, was developed in 1974. It supports a suite of services such as e-mail, file transfer and logging onto remote computers.


  

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