The New Media Institute (NMI) is a research and fact finding organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of issues surrounding the Internet and other forms new media communications. NMI works directly with the news media, researchers, academics, government and industry professionals and serves as a primary resource of facts, statistics and analysis.

History of the Internet

History of the Internet - 1980s

1980-1982: At a meeting of computer scientists determined to expand accessibility to the ARPANET, Dave Farber reveals how a project which he and his colleagues at the University of Delaware are working on aims to build an inexpensive network by using dial-up phone links rather than radio or satellite as the means of connection. In 1982, after funding from the National Science Foundation, computer scientists build the PhoneNet system and establish Internet connections between the PhoneNet system, the ARPANET, and the first commercial network, Telenet. This CSNET system broadens overall access to the Internet and allows almost any school to access the network through less costly PhoneNet service. CSNET also greatly expands the geographic reach of the Internet by allowing e-mail between the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Korea, Finland, Sweden, Australia, Israel, and the United Kingdom. This incarnation of the Internet would continue to grow at an increasing rate by way of the increase in the number of networks that were attached to the Internet.

1981: 3Com announces an Ethernet product for workstation computers followed by a version for personal computers in 1982. The 3Com Ethernet networking system allows users to build more affordable local area networks (LANs) and has come to be the standard way of building personal networks. In the same year, IBM releases its own Personal Computer (PC) which will become the industry standard. Sun Microsystems launches the Sun I workstation.

1982-1983: ARPANET is split into two separate entities: MILNET to serve the needs of national defense and the military community and ARPANET which is primarily utilized by academics and researchers. This is the first step toward the commercialization of the Internet. The unofficial birth of the Internet occurs when both ARPANET and Defense Data Networks begin to use TCP/IP protocol. After an increase in the number of users and networks connected to the Internet, computer scientists begin to consider new methods of naming and addressing users and networks. The Domain Name System, first defined by Paul Mockapetris, Jon Postel, and Craig Partridge is created to divide Internet names between host names (x.com) and user names (user@x.com). This method of naming made the maintenance of host information more manageable. ARPA created six domains consisting initially of: edu (educational), gov (government), mil (military), com (commercial), org (other organizations), and net (network resources).

1984: Apple Macintosh is launched.

1985: The first domain is registered.

1989: Performance Systems International begins offering TCP/IP network services to businesses.


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