A simple data exchange sparked the age of the Internet.
Sept. 2, 2009 — Forty years ago today, two computers at the University of California, Los Angeles, exchanged meaningless data in the first test of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), an experimental military network.
This exchange would plant the seed for what would become the most advanced communications network in all of human history: the Internet.
The above photograph features a rudimentary concept sketch of ARPANET illustrated in 1969. By 1970, ARPANET had connected the two coasts of the United States. Three years later, the network went global.
The 1970s also ushered in e-mail and the TCP/IP communications protocols, which allowed multiple networks to connect — and formed the Internet. The ’80s gave birth to an addressing system with suffixes like ".com" and ".org" in widespread use today.
The Internet didn’t become a household word until the ’90s, though, after a British physicist, Tim Berners-Lee, invented the Web, a subset of the Internet that makes it easier to link resources across disparate locations. Meanwhile, service providers like America Online connected millions of people for the first time.
In 2008, the world’s Internet population hit 1.5 billion. At the same time, China overtook the United States in the number of connected users.
No one could have predicted social networking or viral video. Nor could anyone have imagined the economic and political impact that resulted from that simple exchange four decades ago.
Source: Associated Press
Photo Credit: Getty Images