A Brief History

To better understand the history of the Internet, let us study the timeline of the Internet:

- ARPA(Advanced Research Projects Agency)goes online and provides a connection between 4 major U.S universities, purely for educational and research purposes.
- Ray Tomlinson, a computer scientist,introduces e-mail. The @ symbol is also used to differentiate between the sender's name and the network's name in the e-mail address.
- Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed by Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn which would go on to become the official standard for Internet communication in the year 1983.
-Presidental candidate Jimmy Carter uses the e-mail to plan events during his election campaign
-Microsoft invents the Disk Operating System (DOS).
- The term "Internet" is introduced.
-Domain Name System(DNS)is introduced and domain names were given .com, .org and .edu extensions.
-America Online debuts, offers e-mail,bulletin board,news and other services.
-Tim Berners-Lee develops the World Wide Web.
- The world's firsts search engine, Archie debuts.
- White House launches it's first website.
-America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy start providing dial-up Internet access.
-45 million users are recorded on the Internet.
- The term "blog is introduced.
-First office of Google is set up in California.
-Launch of Napster.
-Launch of Wikipedia.
-Launch of YouTube.
-21.3% of the world population and 72.4% of U.S citizens use the Internet.

How Does It Work?

Internet Infrastructure

To put it simply,the Internet is a network of networks.It is a global collection of different networks which are connected to form a single entity called the Internet.Who runs it? The answer is, no particular individual runs it, it is managed by hundreds of thousands of network providers. The policies and protocols of the Internet are decided by the Internet Society.

Whether you are at home or work, if you are using the Internet,it means you are connected to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) through a modem/DSL line/phone.This ISP goes on connect to larger networks, which in turn become a part of your network. Many companies have their own dedicated backbones covering different regions. Every region has a Point of Presence(POP), which helps users access the network and different backbones of various companies are connected through Network Access points (NAP).Thus, your home network becomes a partof a much larger network, than you can ever imagine.

Why is it So Popular?

Internet Statistics

The popularity of the Internet and in particularly the World Wide Web is overwhelming. The reasons behind this are many and not difficult to comprehend. The instant access to millions of websites, which allows users to find and share information is the mai driving factor. At the click of a button, you can learn about anything from cookies to computers, from apples to a sale at Abercrombie and Fitch. Blogs and social networking have also taken the world by storm. The facility of instant communication makes them appealing to millions of users worldwide.Internet has also become a powerful tool for business. E-commerce has changed the way people shop. The convenience factor that it offers to customers makes it much more popular than other means.

With new applications and websites being launched every single day,it is no wonder that the Internet and World Wide Web are growing at a gigantic pace. On the last count,72.4% of U.S population and 21.3% of the world population use the Internet.Thus, the term "global village" has been brought to life by the Internet. Like Bill Gates aptly put it "he Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow". Internet has revolutionized the way we live, think and anaylze and it has made possible for everybody to learn about anything they want at the click of a button. With so many benefits, it is clear that that it will continue to reign as the single most powerful technology for the generations to come.

©2010 by Swapna Kasturi