The Creation of the Internet

  • Kleinrock thesis describes underlying principles of packet-switching technology

    Leonard Kleinrock, a doctoral student at MIT, writes a thesis describing queuing networks and the underlying principles of what later becomes known as packet-switching technology.
  • ARPA Information Processing Techniques Office

    J. C. R. Licklider becomes the first director of the Information Processing Techniques Office established by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later known as DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Licklider articulates the vision of a "galactic" computer network—a globally interconnected set of processing nodes through which anyone anywhere can access data and programs.
  • On Distributed Communications Networks

    The RAND Corporation publishes a report, principally authored by Paul Baran, for the Pentagon called On Distributed Communications Networks. It describes a distributed radio communications network that could survive a nuclear first strike, in part by dividing messages into segments that would travel independently.
  • ARPANET project

    Larry Roberts of MIT’s Lincoln Lab is hired to manage the ARPANET project. He works with the research community to develop specifications for the ARPA computer network, a packet-switched network with minicomputers acting as gateways for each node using a standard interface.
  • Packet switching

    Donald Davies, of the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex, England, coins the term packet switching to describe the lab’s experimental data transmission.
  • Interface message processors

    Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) wins a DARPA contract to develop the packet switches called interface message processors (IMPs).
  • DARPA deploys the IMPs

    DARPA deploys the IMPs. Kleinrock, at the Network Measurement Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, receives the first IMP in September. BBN tests the "one-node" network. A month later the second IMP arrives at Stanford, where Doug Englebart manages the Network Information Center, providing storage for ARPANET documentation. Dave Evans and Ivan Sutherland, professors researching computer systems and graphics at the University of Utah, receive the third IMP, and the fourth goes t
  • UNIX operating system

    At Bell Labs, Dennis Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson complete the UNIX operating system, which gains a wide following among scientists.
  • Initial ARPANET host-to-host protocol

    In December the Network Working Group (NWG), formed at UCLA by Steve Crocker, deploys the initial ARPANET host-to-host protocol, called the Network Control Protocol (NCP). The primary function of the NCP is to establish connections, break connections, switch connections, and control flow over the ARPANET, which grows at the rate of one new node per month.
  • First public demonstration of the new network technology

    Robert Kahn at BBN, who is responsible for the ARPANET’s system design, organizes the first public demonstration of the new network technology at the International Conference on Computer Communications in Washington, D.C., linking 40 machines and a Terminal Interface Processor to the ARPANET.
  • Electronic Mail

    Electronic mail is introduced by Ray Tomlinson, a Cambridge, Mass., computer scientist. He uses the @ to distinguish between the sender's name and network name in the email address.
  • Paper describes basic design of the Internet and TCP

    In September, Kahn and Vinton Cerf, an electrical engineer and head of the International Network Working Group, present a paper at the University of Sussex in England describing the basic design of the Internet and an open-architecture network, later known as TCP (transmission control protocol), that will allow networks to communicate with each other. The paper is published as "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection" in IEEE Transactions on Communications.
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol standardized

    T (TCP/IP) is designed and in 1983 it becomes the standard for communicating between computers over the Internet. One of these protocols, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), allows users to log onto a remote computer, list the files on that computer, and download files from that computer.
  • Initial testing of packet radio networks

    Initial testing of packet radio networks takes place in the San Francisco area. The SATNET program is initiated in September with one Intelsat ground station in Etam, West Virginia, and another in Goonhilly Downs, England.
  • TCP/IP incorporated

    At DARPA’s request, Bill Joy incorporates TCP/IP (internet protocol) in distributions of Berkeley Unix, initiating broad diffusion in the academic scientific research community.
  • Demonstration of independent networks to communicate

    Cerf and Kahn organize a demonstration of the ability of three independent networks to communicate with each other using TCP protocol. Packets are communicated from the University of Southern California across the ARPANET, the San Francisco Bay Packet Radio Net, and Atlantic SATNET to London and back.
  • Internet Configuration Control Board

    DARPA establishes the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) to help manage the DARPA Internet program. The ICCB acts as a sounding board for DARPA’s plans and ideas. Landweber convenes a meeting of computer researchers from universities, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and DARPA to explore creation of a "computer science research network" called CSNET.
  • USENET

    USENET, a "poor man’s ARPANET," is created by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, and Steve Belovin to share information via e-mail and message boards between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, using dial-up telephone lines and the UUCP protocols in the Berkeley UNIX distributions.
  • NSF and DARPA establish ARPANET nodes

    NSF and DARPA agree to establish ARPANET nodes at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Purdue University, the University of Delaware, BBN, and RAND Corporation to connect ARPANET to CSNET sites on a commercial network called Telenet using TCP/IP.
  • ARPANET hosts convert to new TCP/IP protocols

    All hosts connected to ARPANET are required to convert to the new TCP/IP protocols by January 1, 1983. The interconnected TCP/IP networks are generally known as the Internet.
  • UNIX scientific workstation introduced

    Sun Microsystems introduces its UNIX scientific workstation. TCP/IP, now known as the Internet protocol suite, is included, initiating broad diffusion of the Internet into the scientific and engineering research communities.
  • Internet Activities Advisory Board

    The Internet Activities Advisory Board (later the Internet Activities Board, or IAB) replaces the ICCB. It organizes the research community into task forces on gateway algorithms, new end-to-end service, applications architecture and requirements, privacy, security, interoperability, robustness and survivability, autonomous systems, tactical interneting, and testing and evaluation. One of the task forces, soon known as "Internet Engineering," deals with the Internet’s operational needs.
  • The Internet

    ARPANET, and all networks attached to it, officially adopts the TCP/IP networking protocol. From now on, all networks that use TCP/IP are collectively known as the Internet. The number of Internet sites and users grow exponentially.
  • Advent of Domain Name Service

    The advent of Domain Name Service, developed by Paul Mockapetris and Craig Partridge, eases the identification and location of computers connected to ARPANET by linking unique IP numerical addresses to names with suffixes such as .mil, .com, .org, and .edu.
  • NSF links five supercomputer centers across the country

    NSF links scientific researchers to five supercomputer centers across the country at Cornell University, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and Princeton University. Like CSNET, NSFNET employs TCP/IP in a 56-kilobits-per-second backbone to connect them.
  • Internat Engineering Task Force expands

    The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) expands to reflect the growing importance of operations and the development of commercial TCP/IP products. It is an open informal international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers interested in the evolution of the Internet architecture and its smooth operation.
  • Senator Gore proposes new legislation for using fiber-optic technology

    Senator Albert Gore, of Tennessee, proposes legislation calling for the interconnection of the supercomputers centers using fiber-optic technology.
  • World Wide Web software developed

    CERN releases the World Wide Web software developed earlier by Tim Berners-Lee. Specifications for HTML (hypertext markup language), URL (uniform resource locator), and HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) launch a new era for content distribution.
    At the University of Minnesota, a team of programmers led by Mark McCahill releases a point-and-click navigation tool, the "Gopher" document retrieval system, simplifying access to files over the Internet.
  • Gopher

    Gopher, which provides point-and-click navigation, is created at the University of Minnesota and named after the school mascot. Gopher becomes the most popular interface for several years.
    Another indexing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server), is developed by Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp.
  • Internet Society is formed

    The nonprofit Internet Society is formed to give the public information about the Internet and to support Internet standards, engineering, and management. The society later becomes home to a number of groups, including the IAB and IETF, and hold meetings around the world to promote diffusion of the Internet.
  • Distribution of a browser accelerates adoption of the web

    Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, develop an easy-to-use graphical interface for the World Wide Web. Distribution of the "browser," NCSA Mosaic, accelerates adoption of the Web. The technology is eventually licensed to Microsoft as the basis for its initial Internet Explorer browser. In 1994 the team rewrites the browser, changing its name to Netscape. Later "browser wars" focus public a
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996

    President Clinton signs the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Among its provisions it gives schools and libraries access to state-of-the-art services and technologies at discounted rates.
  • Coordination of Internet domain names transitions from federal to private sector

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is chartered by the U.S. Department of Commerce to transition from the federal government to the private sector the coordination and assignment of Internet domain names, IP address numbers and various protocol parameters.
  • Web Design Flourish

    There are more than 92 million websites online.
  • Online Advertisement

    In a move to challenge Google's dominance of search and advertising on the Internet, software giant Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion.
    In a San Fransisco federal district court, Judge Jeffrey S. White orders the disabling of Wikileaks.org, a Web site that discloses confidential information. The case was brought by Julius Baer Bank and Trust, located in the Cayman Islands, after a disgruntled ex-employee allegedly provided Wikileaks with stolen documents that implicate the bank in