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Journal Writing Projec: Andy Wolter

Fri, Jan 24th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I was wondering about the roots of the Internet a few days ago, and I found some good information. My internet research corresponded quite nicely with my lack of a Journal topic, just in case you were curious like me.

The idea of an internet was conceived in the early ‘60s when the RAND corporation started research on communications networks for the military. The military needed a communications line that could survive in the event of a nuclear attack.

Between 1962 and 1969 the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency created a small network, known as ARPANET, which was to be used to connect university computers together to link researchers across the country.

The first ARPANET network was set up during 1969 and linked Stanford Research Institute, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Utah.

The ARPANET network was a success. Even though it was originally supposed to be used for scientists to access remote computers and share data, email became the most popular usage for people to work on research projects and communicate.

By 1971 ARPANET had 23 hosts that connected universities and research centers all over the country, and by 1973 ARPANET had gone international with connections to universities in London, and The Royal Radar Establishment in Norway. In 1974 the first commercial version ARPANET was opened and named “Telenet”.

In 1979 two grad students from Duke establish the first USENET newsgroups, where people from all over the world can join in discussion groups on the net, politics, and many other topics.

The 1980s was a big decade for the advancement of the internet. TCP/IP, a common internet language was created, and the internet as we know it was born.

With new advancements in hardware technology, and more inexpensive desktop computers many companies got “on line” to better communicate with each other and with customers. The 80s also held the first occurrence of security problems on the internet when in 1988 the “Internet Worm” was unleashed and shut down 10% of all Internet hosts. In response to the Internet Worm, CERT, or the Computer Emergency Response Team, was formed to look at possible security problems. 1989 closed out the decade with over 100,000 Internet hosts.

The 90s started with the decommissioning of ARPANET, leaving only a large network of networks - The Internet. At this time the number of hosts was growing rapidly and had topped 300,000.

The 90s was the beginning of commerce on the Internet. Early in the 90s the main section of the Internet was NSFNET, the Nation Science Foundation’s network, and they banned commercial usage. In 1991, The National Science Foundation lifted the restriction on commercial use, opening up a lot of opportunity for commerce on the Internet.

Around the same time, a group led by Mark MaCahill at the University of Minnesota, created “Gopher” an application that let you point and click to navigate files on the Internet, and Marc Andreeson and some student programmers created the first graphical web browser at the Nation Center for Supercomputing Applications know as Mosaic which was to be released in 1993.

In 1992 the first audio and video broadcasts over a section of the Internet known as “MBONE” or Multicast Backbone.

When Mosaic was released in 1993, traffic on the Internet was expanding at a 341,635% rate annually, and in 1994 The Rolling Stones broadcasted their Voodoo Lounge concert tour over the M-Bone. Also in ‘94, Marc Andreeson, the Mosaic creator, and Jim Clark form Netscape Communications Corporation, a major internet company.

By 1996 the NSFNET was back to being a research project, and the Internet was in commercial hands. The Internet celebrated it’s 25th anniversary, and 40 million people are connected to the Internet by over 10 million hosts. Over $1 Billion a year is spent at Internet malls, over 150 countries around the World are connected. The age of the Internet had arrived.

Andy Wolter is a student at Rushford-Peterson High School.The Journal Writing Project focuses on the writing of area young people.

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