Lesson 1.1. History of the Internet

Networks in the 60's

In the 60's, all the existing networks are centralized. A central computer communicates with terminals according to the following illustration:

Système centralisé avec un calculateur central

The main drawback of this type of architecture is robustness. In case of failure of the central computer, the whole system is out of order. In 1967, the US army, more precisely the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), starts a new project on distributed networks where data and comunications are distributed on several computers on different locations. This project, named ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork), is commissioned in 1969. The main innovation of ARPANET is its ability to create new routes between computers if a network node becomes inactive as illustrated below:

Distributed networks - The origine of Internet

In the 70's and 80's

In the 70's, ARPANET is opened to universities and new communication protocoles appears. The chlallenge is to communicate between different computers on the same network. That where the TCP/IP (Transfert Controled Protocol/Internet Protocol) protocole is proposed. In the 80's, the netwok grows, in 1986, 2000 servers are connected, but Internet is still obscure and dedicated to initiated users.

At the beginning of the 90's, the WWW (World Wide Web) revolutionizes the network of networks by offering a more user-friendly interface, greater ease of use and great compatibility. This protocol, invented by the CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research), is based on the use of text files (or hypertext) which are then formatted and interpreted by a browser.

From the 90s to nowaday

In 1995, the MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) and CERN signed a agreement to form the “W3 Organization”, based in Boston, it will work between other for the standardization of WWW and HTML.

The end of the 1990s and the new millennium mark the democratization of Internet around the world. HTML has established itself as the standard language for transmission and display of information on the Internet.

See also

Last update : 03/10/2022