The internet, ubiquitous now, arose in the 1970s through a US Department of Defence project to enable computers to communicate with each other. Growing into a network for scholars to exchange messages, it eventually evolved into today’s fully graphical and interactive environment that is friendly to many different kinds of devices.
A Brief History of the Internet
The internet originated as ARPANET, a 1970s US government project intended to enable intercomputer communication. In those days, there was a wide variety of restrictive computer hardware and many customized operating systems shared by only a few computers, so wide inter-computer communication was difficult. DARPA, a part of the United States Department of Defence, began development on a communication standard that would compensate for the differences between individual computers. This so-called internet protocol suite enabled widespread contact between many geographically distant computers, so that large educational institutions and businesses began using it. What first arose were various text-only message sharing networks such as Usenet, which were similar to text-only forums. By the mid-1990s, actual non-interactive websites began to arise, and soon after both graphics and interactive capability came along. The early, slow ,single-line modems were replaced by faster, multiuser broadband, modems, and internet service providers and webhosts for the general public proliferated.
The Internet Protocol Suite at a Glance
The internet protocol suite is often called TCP/IP because it consists of the transmission control protocol (TCP) and the internet protocol (IP). It is a system for exchanging both data control and flow information and packets of actual data. It has four layers: the link layer, for communications between a single network segment, such as the various devices on a local network; the internet layer, which connects different, separate networks; the transport layer, which handles communication between hosts; and the application layer, which handles data communication on a specific and highly detailed level. These four processes take place simultaneously over an internet connection.
The Net Today
The net, as it is sometimes called, today permits access for a variety of reasons on a variety of devices. It provides access to sites dedicated to online banking, purchase transations, audio and video, file sharing and storage, socializing, entertainment, education, and information. The emergence of cloud storage permits most data to be stored and shared easily between devices, while webhosts enable consumers to have their own personalized net presence. It is accessed through a variety of devices, ranging from large servers to laptops and notebooks to tablets and ereaders to smartphones.