The Birth of the Internet
While computers were not a new concept in the 1950s, there were relatively few computers in existence and the field of computer science was still in its infancy. Most of the advances in technology at the time - cryptography, radar, battlefield communications - were due to military operations during World War II, and it was, in fact, government activities that led to the development of the Internet.
On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik, man's first foray into outer space, and the U.S. government under President Eisenhower subsequently launched an aggressive military campaign to compete with and surpass the Soviet activities. From the launch of Sputnik and the U.S.S.R. testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was born. ARPA was the U.S. government's research agency for all space and strategic missile research. In 1958, NASA was formed, and the activities of ARPA moved away from aeronautics and focused mainly on computer science and information processing. One of ARPA's goals was to connect mainframe computers at different universities around the country so that they would be able to communicate using a common language and a common protocol. Thus the ARPAnet -- the world's first multiple-site computer network -- was created in 1969.
The original ARPAnet eventually grew into the Internet. The Internet was based on the concept that there would be multiple independent networks that began with the ARPAnet as the pioneering packet-switching network but would soon include packet satellite networks and ground-based packet radio networks.
For further information on the origin of the Internet, see:
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »List of Free Shorten URL Services
A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015
The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »What Are Network Topologies?
Network Topology refers to layout of a network. How different nodes in a network are connected to each other and how they communicate is... Read More »