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History of the Internet

History of the Internet - 1970s

1970: The first radio network which makes use of random packet transmission, the Alohanet, is launched at the University of Hawaii.

1972: Robert Kahn exhibits the first public demonstration of the ARPANET at the International Computer Communication Conference. This public demonstration is also the first time that electronic mail (email) is exhibited and is a major catalyst for increasing interest in developing network technology. The first email programs called SNDMSG and READMAIL are written by Ray Tomlinson marking the beginning of one of the most widely used applications today.

1973: Robert Kahn, program manager for ARPAs Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), and Vinton Cerf (then a graduate student at Stanford University) worked together on the idea of developing internetworking or of connecting multiple networks in a more open form than the closed network of the ARPANET. Kahn and Cerf helped to develop a networking protocol that would allow an open-architecture for multiple networks to be joined together. This protocol later emerged as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or TCP/IP. This new protocol would allow each individual network to stand alone such that if another network was brought down, it would not cause the collapse of all joined networks. Additionally, the new protocol conceptualized by Kahn and Cerf would involve no overall global manager and would join various networks together through what would later be known as routers and gateways. After the original TCP/IP protocol was written, what emerged as the Internet would result from ongoing experimentation and TCP/IP would emerge as on almost universal host protocol on which the Internet would be built. In the same year, the first international connections to the ARPANET are made with the addition of the University College of London and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway.

1973-1975: While working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Robert Metcalfe develops a system which replaces radio transmission of network data with a cable that provides a larger amount of bandwidth, enabling the transfer of millions of bits of data per second in comparison with the thousands of bits per second when using a radio channel transmission. This system is originally known as the Alto Aloha network but which was later known as Ethernet. Metcalfe would later leave Xerox to found 3Com.

1974: Ted Nelson releases the countercultural technology manifesto Computer Lib in which Nelson advocates ordinary people learning about computer and network technology. Nelson also proposes hypertext as a way of organizing information, making it possible to link information in a less linear manner.

1975: The first commercially available popular personal computer, the Altair 8800 is introduced as a kit.

1976: Apple Computer founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

1977: ARPA funds the Bolt, Beranek, and Newman electronics company (intimately involved in the evolution of the ARPANET and the Internet) to use the TCP/IP protocol along with the emerging and popular Unix operating system. This is an example of the initial efforts of expanding the use of TCP/IP in the hopes of spreading a uniform standard protocol for internetworking which would allow for the emergence of the modern Internet.

1978: The first mass-marketed personal computer, the Apple II, is launched.

1979: Tom Truscott and Steve Bellovin make use of a UNIX program that allows files to be transferred between networked computers to exchange electronic newsletters between Duke University and the University of North Carolina by way of a dial-up connection. This system spreads and comes to be known as USENET. USENET distributes online forums or newsgroups concerning any number of topics across the Internet, allowing users to submit messages to newsgroups and communicate electronically in a informal manner.

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