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The History of the Internet

1976 - 1987

This chapter starts with the first satellites going up, ethernet is developed. And ends with establishing intercontinental internet connections



pointer.gif (149 bytes)Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe develops Ethernet, which allowed coaxial cable to move data extremely fast. This was a crucial component to the development of LANs.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The packet satellite project went into practical use. SATNET, Atlantic packet Satellite network, was born. This network linked the United States with Europe. Surprisingly, it used INTELSAT satellites that were owned by a consortium of countries and not exclusively the United States government.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)UUCP (Unix-to-Unix CoPy) developed at AT&T Bell Labs and distributed with UNIX one year later.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Department of Defense began to experiment with the TCP/IP protocol and soon decided to require it for use on ARPANET.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom sends out an e-mail on 26 March from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in Malvern

pointer.gif (149 bytes)UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy) developed at AT&T Bell Labs and distributed with UNIX one year later.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Multiprocessing Pluribus IMPs are deployed

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 111+



pointer.gif (149 bytes)THEORYNET created by Larry Landweber at Univ of Wisconsin providing electronic mail to over 100 researchers in computer science (using a locally developed e-mail system over TELENET)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Tymshare spins out Tymnet under pressure from TELENET. Both go on to develop X.25 protocol standard for virtual circuit style packet switching (:vgc:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First demonstration of ARPANET/SF Bay Packet Radio Net/Atlantic SATNET operation of Internet protocols with BBN-supplied gateways in July (:vgc:)



pointer.gif (149 bytes)TCP split into TCP and IP (March)



pointer.gif (149 bytes)USENET (the decentralized news group network) was created by Steve Bellovin, graduate student, and Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, programmers at University of North Carolina, and programmers. It was based on UUCP. First usenet message between Duke and UNC by and Steve Bellovin. All original groups were under net.* Hierarchy.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Creation of BITNET, by IBM, "Because its Time Network", introduced the "store and forward" network. It was used for e-mail and listservers

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Meeting between Univ. of Wisconsin, DARPA, National Science Foundation (NSF), and computer scientists from many universities to establish a Computer Science Department research computer network (organized by Larry Landweber).

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First MUD, MUD1, by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw at U of Essex

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ARPA establishes the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Packet Radio Network (PRNET) experiment starts with DARPA funding. Most communications take place between mobile vans. ARPANET connection via SRI.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)On April 12, Kevin MacKenzie e-mails the MsgGroup a suggestion of adding some emotion back into the dry text medium of e-mail, such as -) for indicating a sentence was tongue-in-cheek. Though flamed by many at the time, emoticons became widely used

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 111+



pointer.gif (149 bytes)ARPANET grinds to a complete halt on 27 October because of an accidentally-propagated status-message virus

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First C/30-based IMP at BBN




pointer.gif (149 bytes)National Science Foundation created backbone called CSNET 56 Kbps network for institutions without access to ARPANET. Vinton Cerf proposed a plan for an inter-network connection between CSNET and the ARPANET.

BITNET, the "Because It's Time NETwork"

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CSNET (Computer Science NETwork) built by a collaboration of computer scientists and Univ. of Delaware, Purdue Univ., Univ. of Wisconsin, RAND Corporation and BBN through seed money granted by NSF to provide networking services (especially e-mail) to university scientists with no access to ARPANET. CSNET later becomes known as the Computer and Science Network. (:amk,lhl:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)C/30 IMPs predominate the network; first C/30 TIP at SAC

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Minitel (Teletel) is deployed across France by France Telecom.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)True Names by Vernor Vinge (:pds:)


Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 213




pointer.gif (149 bytes)Norway leaves network to become an Internet connection via TCP/IP over SATNET; UCL does the same

pointer.gif (149 bytes)DCA and ARPA establish the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), as the protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, for ARPANET.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)EUnet (European UNIX Network) is created by EUUG to provide e-mail and USENET services.



pointer.gif (149 bytes)On January 1st, every machine connected to ARPANET had to use TCP/IP. TCP/IP became the core Internet protocol and replaced NCP entirely.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The University of Wisconsin created Domain Name System (DNS).(7) This allowed packets to be directed to a domain name, which would be translated by the server database into the corresponding IP number. This made it much easier for people to access other servers, because they no longer had to remember numbers.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)No more Honeywell or Pluribus IMPs; TIPs replaced by TACs (terminal access controller)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Stuttgart and Korea get connected

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Movement Information Net (MINET) started early in the year in Europe, connected to Internet in Sept

pointer.gif (149 bytes)CSNET / ARPANET gateway put in place

pointer.gif (149 bytes)ARPANET split into ARPANET and MILNET; the latter became integrated with the Defense Data Network created the previous year. 68 of the 113 existing nodes went to MILNET

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Desktop workstations come into being, many with Berkeley UNIX (4.2 BSD) which includes IP networking software (:mpc:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Networking needs switch from having a single, large time sharing computer connected to the Internet at each site, to instead connecting entire local networks

pointer.gif (149 bytes)EARN (European Academic and Research Network) established. Very similar to the way BITNET works with a gateway funded by IBM

pointer.gif (149 bytes)FidoNet developed by Tom Jennings

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 562



pointer.gif (149 bytes)The ARPANET was divided into two networks: MILNET and ARPANET. MILNET was to serve the needs of the military and ARPANET to support the advanced research component, Department of Defense continued to support both networks.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Upgrade to CSNET was contracted to MCI. New circuits would be T1 lines,1.5 Mbps which is twenty-five times faster than the old 56 Kbps lines. IBM would provide advanced routers and Merit would manage the network. New network was to be called NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network), and old lines were to remain called CSNET.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)JUNET (Japan Unix Network) established using UUCP

pointer.gif (149 bytes)JANET (Joint Academic Network) established in the UK using the Colored Book protocols; previously SERCnet

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Moderated newsgroups introduced on USENET (mod.*)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Neuromancer by William Gibson

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Canada begins a one-year effort to network its universities. The NetNorth Network is connected to BITNET in Ithaca from Toronto (:kf1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Kremvax message announcing USSR connectivity to USENET

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 1024



pointer.gif (149 bytes)The National Science Foundation began deploying its new T1 lines, which would be finished by 1988.

Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL) started

Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at USC is given responsibility for DNS root management by DCA, and SRI for DNS NIC registrations is assigned on 15 March to become the first registered domain. Other firsts:,,, (April); (June);, .uk (July)

100 years to the day of the last spike being driven on the cross-Canada railroad, the last Canadian university is connected to NetNorth in a one year effort to have coast-to-coast connectivity.

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, 1.544Mbps (T1) NSFNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 1961



pointer.gif (149 bytes)The Internet Engineering Task Force or IETF was created to serve as a forum for technical coordination by contractors for DARPA working on ARPANET, US Defense Data Network (DDN), and the Internet core gateway system.

NSFNET created (backbone speed of 56Kbps)

NSF-funded SDSCNET, JVNCNET, SURANET, and NYSERNET operational (:sw1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) comes into existence under the IAB. First IETF meeting held in January at Linkabit in San Diego

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The first Freenet (Cleveland) comes on-line 16 July under the auspices of the Society for Public Access Computing (SoPAC). Later Freenet program management assumed by the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN) in 1989 (:sk2,rab:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) designed to enhance Usenet news performance over TCP/IP.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Mail Exchanger (MX) records developed by Craig Partridge allow non-IP network hosts to have domain addresses.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)The great USENET name change; moderated newsgroups changed in 1987.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)BARRNET (Bay Area Regional Research Network) established using high speed links. Operational in 1987.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)New England gets cut off from the Net as AT&T suffers a fiber optics cable break between Newark/NJ and White Plains/NY. Yes, all seven New England ARPANET trunk lines were in the one severed cable. Outage took place between 1:11 and 12:11 EST on 12 December

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, 1.544Mbps (T1) NSFNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 2308



pointer.gif (149 bytes)BITNET and CSNET merged to form the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN), another work of the National Science Foundation.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)NSF signs a cooperative agreement to manage the NSFNET backbone with Merit Network, Inc. (IBM and MCI involvement was through an agreement with Merit). Merit, IBM, and MCI later founded ANS.

pointer.gif (149 bytes)UUNET is founded with Usenix funds to provide commercial UUCP and Usenet access. Originally an experiment by Rick Adams and Mike O'Dell

pointer.gif (149 bytes)First TCP/IP Interpretability Conference (March), name changed in 1988 to INTROP

pointer.gif (149 bytes)E-mail link established between Germany and China using CSNET protocols, with the first message from China sent on 20 September. (:wz1:)

pointer.gif (149 bytes)Number of BITNET hosts breaks 1,000

Backbones: 50Kbps ARPANET, 56Kbps CSNET, 1.544Mbps (T1) NSFNET, plus satellite and radio connections - Hosts: 28,174


part 1part 3index Last Updated on 19 March 2001 For suggestions  please mail the editors 

Footnotes & References