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Brief Timeline Of The Internet

Webopedia Staff
Last Updated May 24, 2021 8:00 am

Although we think of the Internet as a new entity, its origins date back over 40 years. Here’s a brief timeline highlighting important dates in Internet history.

When we talk about the Internet, we talk about the World Wide Web from the past four or five years. But, its history goes back a lot further; all the way back to the 1950s and 60s.

“Where was I,” you ask, “while all this was happening?” Well, it’s quite simple really: the Space Program. America was so fascinated with sending men into outer space, hundreds of miles away, it never saw what was being invented to bring everyone closer together — eventually.

So, just in case you missed the development of the Internet, here is a brief timeline highlighting some of the major occurrences over the past 49 years that have shaped the Internet of today. For more extensive info, you’ll find links to other timelines at the bottom of this page.

1958 . President Eisenhower requests funds to create ARPA. Approved as a line item in Air Force appropriations bill.
1961 . Len Kleinrock, Professor of Computer Science at UCLA, writes first paper on packet switching, “Information Flow in Large Communications Nets.” Paper published in RLE Quarterly Progress Report.
1962 J.C.R. Licklider & W. Clark write first paper on Internet Concept, “On-Line Man Computer Communications.”
Len Kleinrock writes Communication Nets, which describes design for packet switching network; used for ARPAnet
1964 . Paul Baran writes, “On Distributed Communications Networks,” first paper on using message blocks to send info across a decentralized networktopology(Nodes and Links)
Oct. 1965 . First Network Experiment: Directed by Larry Roberts at MIT Lincoln Lab, two computers talked to each other using packet-switching technology.
Dec. 1966 . ARPA project begins. Larry Roberts is chief scientist.
Dec. 1968 . ARPANet contract given to Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Mass.
Sept. 1, 1969 . First ARPANet node installed at UCLA Network Measurement Center. Kleinrock hooked up the Interface Message Processor to a Sigma 7 Computer.
Oct. 1, 1969 . Second node installed at Stanford Research Institute; connected to a SDS 940 computer. The first ARPANet message sent: “lo.” Trying to spell log-in, but the system crashed!
Nov. 1, 1969 . Third node installed at University of California, Santa Barbara. Connected to an IBM 360/75.
Dec. 1, 1969 . Fourth node installed at University of Utah. Connected to a DEC PDP-10.
March 1970 . Fifth node installed at BBN, across the country in Cambridge, Mass.
July 1970 . Alohanet, first packet radio network, operational at University of Hawaii.
March 1972 . First basic e-mail programs written by Ray Tomlinson at BBN for ARPANET: SNDMSG and READMAIL. “@” sign chosen for its “at” meaning.
March 1973 . First ARPANET international connections to University College of London (England) and NORSAR (Norway).
1974 . Intelreleases the 8080 processor.
Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection,” which details the design of TCP.
1976 . Apple Computer founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Queen Elizabeth II sends out an e-mail.
. Vint Cerf joins ARPA as program manager.
1978 . TCP split into TCP and IP.
1979 . Bob Metcalfe and others found 3Com (Computer Communication Compatibility).
1980 . Tim Berners-Lee writes program called “Enquire Within,” predecessor to the World Wide Web.
1981 . IBM announces its first Personal Computer. Microsoft creates DOS.
1983 . Cisco Systems founded.
Nov. 1983 . Domain Name System (DNS) designed by Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris, and Craig Partridge. .edu, .gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, and .int created.
1984 William Gibson writes “Neuromancer.” Coins the term “cyberspace“.
Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh on January 24th.
March 15, 1985 . Symbolic.com becomes the first registered domain.
1986 . 5000 hosts on ARPAnet/Internet.
1987 10,000 hosts on the Internet.
First Cisco routershipped.
25 million PCs sold in US.
1989 100,000 hosts on Internet.
McAfee Associates founded; anti-virus software available for free. Quantum becomes America Online.
1990 . ARPAnet ends. Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web.
1992 “Surfing the Internet” is coined by Jean Armour Polly.
1993 . Mosaic Web browser developed by Marc Andreesen at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
. InterNICcreated.
Web grows by 341,000 percent in a year.
April 1994 . Netscape Communications founded.
Jeff Bezos writes the business plan for Amazon.com.
. Java‘s first public demonstration.
Dec. 1994 Microsoft licenses technology from Spyglass to create Web browser for Windows 95.
May 23, 1995 . Sun Microsystems releases Java.
August 24, 1995 . Windows 95 released.
1996 . Domain name tv.com sold to CNET for $15,000. Browser wars begin. Netscape and Microsoft two biggest players.
1997 . business.com sold for $150,000.
January 1998 . Microsoft reaches a partial settlement with the Justice Department that allows personal computer makers to remove or hide its Internet software on new versions of Windows 95.
. Netscape announces plans to give its browser away for free.
1998 . US Depart of Commerce outlines proposal to privatize DNS. ICANN created by Jon Postel to oversee privatization. Jon Postel dies.
1999 AOL buys Netscape; Andreesen steps down as full-time employee.
Browsers wars declared over; Netscape and Microsoft share almost 100% of browser market.
Microsoft declared a monopoly by US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.
Shawn Fanning creates Napster, opening the possibilities of peer-to-peer file sharing and igniting a copyright war in the music industry.
2000 . Fixed wireless, high-speed Internet technology is now seen as a viable alternative to copper and fiber optic lines placed in the ground.
. The Dot-Com Bubble bursts. A majority of the dot-coms ceased trading after burning through their venture capital, often without ever making a net profit.
January 10, 2000 AOL Merges with Time-Warner. AOL shareholders take 55% stake in newly formed company.
February 2000 . A large-scale denial of service attack is launched against some major Web sites like Yahoo! and eBay, alerting Web sites to the need for tighter security measures.
. 10,000,000 domain names have been registered.
September 2000 . There are 20,000,000 websites on the Internet, numbers doubling since February 2000.
July 2001 . A federal judge rules that Napster must remain offline until it can prevent copyrighted material from being shared by its users.
. The Code Red worm and Sircam virus infiltrate thousands of web servers and email accounts, respectively, causing a spike in Internet bandwidth usage and security breaches.
November 2001 . The European Council adopts the first treaty addressing criminal offenses committed over the Internet.
. First uncompressed real-time gigabit HDTV transmission across a wide-area IP network takes place on Internet2.
January 2002 . .name begins resolving
January 2003 . The SQL Slammer worm causes one of the largest and fastest spreading DDoS attacks ever, taking only 10 minutes to spread worldwide.
. The Internet celebrates its ‘unofficial’ 20th birthday.
September 2003 . The RIAA sues 261 individuals for allegedly distributing copyright music files over peer-to-peer networks
December 2003 . The Research project “How much information 2003” finds that Instant messaging generates five billion messages a day (750GB), or 274 Terabytes a year and that e-mail generates about 400,000 terabytes of new information each year worldwide.
2005 . YouTube.com launches
2006 . There are an estimated 92 million Web sites online
May 2006 . A massive DDOS assault on Blue Security, an anti-spam company, is redirected by Blue Security staff to their Movable Type-hosted blog. The result is that the DDOS instead knocks out all access to over 1.8 million active blogs.
August 2006 . AOL announces that they will give for free virtually every service for which it charged a monthly fee, with income coming instead from advertising.
. There are an estimated 92 million Web sites online (some stats say over 100 million)
. Google Inc. acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction.
January 2007 . Microsoft launches its various consumer versions of Microsoft Vista.
February 2007 . Apple surpasses one billion iTunes downloads.
March 2007 . 1.114 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats.
April 2007 . Search engine giant Google surpasses Microsoft as “the most valuable global brand,” and also is the most visited Web site.

This article was originally published on May 24, 2007