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History Of The Internet Essay

1302 words - 5 pages


The year is 1957 and the USSR has just launched the first artificial earth satellite. In response America launches the Advanced Research Projects
Agency (ARPA) within the Department of Defense (DOD) to create America’s
lead in science and technology. The Internet had its humble beginnings here,
within ARPA’s many projects.
     The Internet has become one of the key symbols of today’s pop culture:
everything has a “dot com” address; people do not say “call me,” but instead its
“I’ll E-mail you;” and the new word on the stock market is “E-business.” The
Internet has not always been such a key figure in American life; in fact it was
mostly unheard of until recently.
     The theory for the Internet first started being published in 1961 with
Leonard Kleinrock’s document on packet-switching theory, “Information Flow in
Large Communication Net.” This document presented the theory behind the first
problem of the Internet, and how to solve it1. The problem was this: when a
large document is sent then pieces of it become lost in transfer and the entire
document has to be resent, but then different pieces are missing from the new
copy of the document. This is a major problem and the obvious solution is to
“chop” the information up into smaller pieces and then transmit the smaller
pieces2. Then another problem was realized, how does the computer know
where to put these small bits of information? The solution to that was what has
come to be known as packet-switching (PS). In PS, the entire document is sent
in a bunch of tiny “packets,” these packets contain the information of the
document “wrapped” in its placement on the page. The receiving computer then
sends a message back to the transmitting computer telling it which packets were
corrupted or missing and the transmitting computer then re-sends the lost
information3.
     The next problem that the Internet faced was first discovered at the
ARPA’s networking project, ARPAnet. Since it was militarily connected, the
leaders of ARPAnet wanted a way that information could be moved between two
computers without requiring a direct connection in case the direct link between
two computers failed (was destroyed). The way that the ARPAnet project dealt
with this was by having the network bounce the information around without it
taking a direct path to the receiving computer4. The result of this was that
almost no two packets will travel the same path and there will always be a
connection between two computers.
     The final problem that ARPAnet came across was the fact that most
computers did not run exactly the same hardware or software as another. Their
solution to this was to build smaller computers (called Interface Message
Processors or IMPs) that were in direct contact with the main computer and also
in connection with the other IMPs on the network. All of the IMPs were built to
the same specifications so...

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