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The History of the Internet

1957 - 1976

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The core of this timeline is created from texts by Dave Kristula(1), March 1997; Hobbes Timeline and excerpts from the History of the Internet by C.J.P. Moschovitis a.o.. Additional information has been gathered from various sites on the internet

This first chapter discribes the birth of the internet technology ending with the first commercial form of ARPA's off spring: the internet

 

Introduction

The existence of the internet is relatively short but the idea of networks is centuries old.

To get information quick from one place to another has allways been a vital element in commerce, warfare and sciences. And thus complete networks of routes, towers and the like were setup. How complicated these were depended on the general wealth of a certain kingdom, empire or company.

For long times communication was executed by couriers, runners (don't kill the messenger), semaphores, smoke signals and other means of sending messages over large distances.

Then came the internet and the world shrunk to the time it took to send a message from New York to Amsterdam.

 

Backbones: None - Hosts: None

 

1958

Researchers at the Bell labs invent the modem (modulator - demodulator). A modem converts digital signals to electrical (analog) signals and back. Thus enabling communication between computers. (8)

 

1961

Leonard Kleinrock, MIT: "Information Flow in Large Communication Nets" (May 31)  First paper on packet-switching (PS) theory

 

1962

RAND Paul Baran, of the RAND Corporation (a government agency), was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force to do a study on how it could maintain its command and control over its missiles and bombers, after a nuclear attack. This was to be a military research network that could survive a nuclear strike, decentralized so that if any locations (cities) in the U.S. were attacked, the military could still have control of nuclear arms for a counter-attack.

Baran's finished document described several ways to accomplish this. His final proposal was a packet switched network.

"Packet switching is the breaking down of data into datagrams or packets that are labeled to indicate the origin and the destination of the information and the forwarding of these packets from one computer to another computer until the information arrives at its final destination computer. This was crucial to the realization of a computer network. If packets are lost at any given point, the message can be resent by the originator."

 

1963

J.C.R. Licklider & W. Clark, MIT: "On-Line Man Computer Communication" (August) Galactic Network concept encompassing distributed social interactions

Backbones: None - Hosts: None

 

1964

Paul Baran, RAND: "On Distributed Communications Networks" packet-switching networks; no single outage point

 

1965

ARPA sponsors study on "cooperative network of time-sharing computers"

TX-2 at MIT Lincoln Lab and AN/FSQ-32 at System Development Corporation (Santa Monica, CA) are directly linked (without packet switches) via a dedicated 1200bps phone line. Lawrence G. Roberts was the project leader.
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computer at ARPA later added to form "The Experimental Network"

Ted Nelson coins the term: "hypertext" and "hyperlink" to refer to the structure of a computerized information system through which a user can navigate "non sequentially". Or without a pre-structured search path, ad libitum...(8)

 

1966

Lawrence G. Roberts, MIT: "Towards a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers" (October)   First ARPANET plan

 

1967

ARPANET design discussions held by Larry Roberts at ARPA IPTO PI meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan (April)

ACM Symposium on Operating Principles in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (October)

First design paper on ARPANET published by Larry Roberts: "Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication

First meeting of the three independent packet network teams (RAND, NPL, ARPA)

National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Middlesex, England develops NPL Data Network under Donald Watts Davies who coins the term packet. The NPL network, an experiment in packet-switching, used 768kbps lines

Andries van Dam of Brown University develops the first operational hypertext system. It serves as an early model for other hypertext environments.(8)

 

1968

PS-network presented to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)

Request for proposals for ARPANET sent out in August; responses received in September

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) awarded Network Measurement Center contract in October

Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) awarded Packet Switch contract to build Interface Message Processors (IMPs) BBN had selected a Honeywell minicomputer as the base on which they would build the switch. The physical network was constructed in 1969, linking four nodes: University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Utah. The network was wired together via 50 Kbps circuits.

US Senator Edward Kennedy sends a congratulatory telegram to BBN for its million-dollar ARPA contract to build the "Interfaith" Message Processor, and thanking them for their ecumenical efforts

Network Working Group (NWG), headed by Steve Crocker, loosely organized to develop host level protocols for communication over the ARPANET.

Tymnet built as part of Tymshare service

1969

Nodes are brought up as BBN builds each IMP [Honeywell DDP-516 mini computer with 12K of memory]; AT&T provides 50kbps lines
Node 1: UCLA (30 August, hooked up 2 September)
  • Function: Network Measurement Center
  • System,OS: SDS SIGMA 7, SEX 1969_2-node_map.gif (5185 bytes)
Node 2: Stanford Research Institute (SRI) (1 October)
  • Network Information Center (NIC)
  • SDS940/Genie
  • Doug Engelbart's project on "Augmentation of Human Intellect"
Node 3: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) (1 November)
  • Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics
  • IBM 360/75, OS/MVT
Node 4: University of Utah (December)
  • Graphics
  • DEC PDP-10, Tenex

 

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET - Hosts: 4

1969_4-node_map.gif (7745 bytes)

 

First Request for Comment (RFC): "Host Software" by Steve Crocker (7 April)

RFC 4: Network Timetable

First packets sent by Charley Kline at UCLA as he tried logging into SRI. The first attempt resulted in the system crashing as the letter G of LOGIN was entered. (October 29)

imp_log.jpg (40934 bytes)
 

Univ of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State Univ establish X.25-based Merit network for students, faculty, alumni

 

1970

First publication of the original ARPANET Host-Host protocol: C.S. Carr, S. Crocker, V.G. Cerf, "HOST-HOST Communication Protocol in the ARPA Network," in AFIPS Proceedings of SJCC (:vgc:)

First report on ARPANET at AFIPS: "Computer Network Development to Achieve Resource Sharing" (March)

ALOHAnet, the first packet radio network, developed by Norman Abramson, Univ of Hawaii, becomes operational (July) connected to the ARPANET in 1972

ARPANET hosts start using Network Control Protocol (NCP), first host-to-host protocol

First cross-country link installed by AT&T between UCLA and BBN at 56kbps. This line is later replaced by another between BBN and RAND. A second line is added between MIT and Utah

 

1972

15 nodes (23 hosts): UCLA, SRI, UCSB, Univ of Utah, BBN, MIT, RAND, SDC, Harvard, Lincoln Lab, Stanford, UIU(C), CWRU, CMU, NASA/Ames

BBN starts building IMPs using the cheaper Honeywell 316. IMPs however are limited to 4 host connections, and so BBN develops a terminal IMP (TIP) that supports up to 64 terminals (September)

Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents the email program to send messages across a distributed network. The original program was derived from two others: an intra-machine email program (SENDMSG) and an experimental file transfer program (CPYNET) Ray Tomlinson (BBN) modifies email program for ARPANET where it becomes a quick hit. The @ sign was chosen from the punctuation keys on Tomlinson's Model 33 Teletype for its "at" meaning (March)

Larry Roberts writes first email management program (RD) to list, selectively read, file, forward, and respond to messages (July)

International Conference on Computer Communications (ICCC) at the Washington D.C. Hilton with demonstration of ARPANET between 40 machines and the Terminal Interface Processor (TIP) organized by Bob Kahn. (October)

First computer-to-computer chat takes place at UCLA, and is repeated during ICCC, as psychotic PARRY (at Stanford) discusses its problems with the Doctor (at BBN).

International Network Working Group (INWG) formed in October as a result of a meeting at ICCC identifying the need for a combined effort in advancing networking technologies. Vint Cerf appointed first Chair. By 1974, INWG became IFIP WG 6.1 (:vgc:)

Louis Pouzin leads the French effort to build its own ARPANET - CYCLADES

RFC 318: Telnet specification

 

1973

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was renamed The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (or DARPA)

ARPANET was currently using the Network Control Protocol or NCP to transfer data. This allowed communications between hosts running on the same network.

Development began on the protocol later to be called TCP/IP, it was developed by a group headed by Vinton Cerf from Stanford and Bob Kahn from DARPA. This new protocol was to allow diverse computer networks to interconnect and communicate with each other.

First international connections to the ARPANET: University College of London (England) via NORSAR (Norway)

Bob Metcalfe's Harvard PhD Thesis outlines idea for Ethernet. The concept was tested on Xerox PARC's Alto computers, and the first Ethernet network called the Alto Aloha System (May)

Bob Kahn poses Internet problem, starts internetting research program at ARPA. Vinton Cerf sketches gateway architecture in March on back of envelope in a San Francisco hotel lobby

Cerf and Kahn present basic Internet ideas at INWG in September at Univ of Sussex, Brighton, UK

SRI (NIC) begins publishing ARPANET News in March; number of ARPANET users estimated at 2,000

ARPA study shows email composing 75% of all ARPANET traffic

Christmas Day Lockup - Harvard IMP hardware problem leads it to broadcast zero-length hops to any ARPANET destination, causing all other IMPs to send their traffic to Harvard (25 December)

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET - Hosts: 23+

 

1974

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection" which specified in detail the design of a Transmission Control Program (TCP). [IEEE Trans Comm]

BBN opens Telenet, the first public packet data service (a commercial version of ARPANET)

First Use of term Internet by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn in paper on Transmission Control Protocol.

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET - Hosts: 23+

 

1975

Operational management of Internet transferred to DCA (now DISA)

First ARPANET mailing list, MsgGroup, is created by Steve Walker. Einar Stefferud soon took over as moderator as the list was not automated at first. A science fiction list, SF-Lovers, was to become the most popular unofficial list in the early days

John Vittal develops MSG, the first all-inclusive email program providing replying, forwarding, and filing capabilities.

Satellite links cross two oceans (to Hawaii and UK) as the first TCP tests are run over them by Stanford, BBN, and UCL

"Jargon File", by Raphael Finkel at SAIL, first released

Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

 

reference indexpart 2other story lines Last Updated on 19 March 2001 For suggestions  please mail the editors 

 

Footnotes & References

 

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