What is the Internet, WWW and their History? Do you know?

What is the Internet, WWW and their History? Do you know?

Most of us know what the internet\WWW is, right? We maybe grab some coffee, do a little browsing on it, download from it, communicate over it. Simple enough. Or is it? How much do we know about the internet’s functions, structure or history? Some may know quite a lot but others may not even put thought towards this. Maybe we can open this thought up a bit.

Physically speaking, the internet is a collaboration of multiple computers designed to communicate with each other, exchange information, a network of networks if you will. Oh, that’s the WWW (world wide web)! Not technically speaking it’s not. The Web is an imaginary pocket of information, space, whatever you’d like to call it. On the web, connections are hypertext links, not cables to say. There is a sense of the net here but definitely different. Without internet, networks, the WWW would not be in existence.

So who is responsible for creating the internet? Some may say everyone but there are certain figures who stand a bit taller amongst the internet crowd. Around 1961, Leonard Kleinrock published a paper that introduced the idea of “packet switching” or “routing” the little packets of information between our computers. Starting in 1964, “DARPA”,(the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) developed the first structured idea of an internet as a means to share defense research information between universities and other research facilities originally called “ARPANET”(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network).However, this was only development and the actual use or first information exchange didn’t happen until 1969 but was still confined to only special sources.

It wasn’t until 1973 when the actual internet design began to bloom. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn may be considered “the” fathers of the internet and inventors of the TCP\IP internet protocol. Cerf, in 1972 was a DARPA scientist and shortly after appointed chairman of the "International Network Working Group (INWG). Kahn and Cert joined up in 1973 to design the well known TCP\IP. Both Cerf and Kahn brought forth a design, a network design, called “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection”. By 1974 they designed the first 32 IP address, 24 bit computer identification and 8 bit network identification .

The next person to step up around 10 years later was Tim Berners-Lee. The “actual” creator of the world wide web (WWW). Berner-Lee, who got the idea to join hypertext with TCP, DNS
and the WWW was born, but was still, an idea. A few years into this, the first web site was built at http://info.cern.ch/ and put on line august 6, 1991. From here, technically speaking, it grew like wildfire. By 1992 there were 26 servers world wide, the thought is laughable now but by 1993 this increased to around 200. Also in 1993, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) released the first version of Mosaic, which made the Web readily available to those using PCs and Apple Macs. From here, most will say “the rest is history” as the WWW began growing in large proportions and is what it is today.

A little fact, while many jokes were made, the truth may be all together different. Did Al Gore claim he invented the internet? No. His statement was ill put perhaps but this isn’t the first time, read on…

<During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.>

What he truly meant was he did in a sense help, economically, to allow the development and creation of the internet. The word “create” was used many times in history in a manner not meaning “invent” but more so “allowed” the creation of. Of course mud slinging took it’s course and Al Gore was hounded by this statement. Gore was noted for keeping up with technology and supporting the web\internet through the years where others failed. Of course this technology was long before Gore came into play but to coin the phrase “give the devil his dues” Gore did make an impact politically for what the internet is today. If there is any debate on this, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Now, knowing a bit of history, how is the internet structured and who uses it? I would hazard to say just about anyone who uses a computer or can gain access, will. The internet is really a collection of smaller networks linked together and reside in many places around the world. When the typical user, say you or me, send something from our computer, it would really only be able to communicate on our network. We need a couple of things, a means to join access and software to use it. We know modems are used for this, a means, a piece of hardware allowing us to communicate outside the standalone pc. A browser, a software program which allows us to see information on the WWW along with a modem to do some serious browsing. Of course there is the OSI model, the 7 layer burrito of communication which is beyond the scope of this article but without it none of this would be possible, so here is a link for your reading pleasure.

With that said, one final piece of the puzzle is the ISP (internet service provider). Yes, the company that charges you monthly to use this service. These companies have large servers, which in simplest terms are decked out computers with maximum everything that store information and allow us to access the web through them, email, file sharing, etc…While technically a server is a server, there are different names, and tasks given to some. Some are simple file servers, even your pc with file sharing has server properties although on the smallest scale. There are email severs, web servers, printer servers, each can be dedicated to a task or specialized but truly it depends on what we want and set them up for, the physical aspects are basically the same aside from storage room etc… Of course there is WIFI and with it providing hot spots, among other means that have grown tremendously to connect to a service provider but the basis remain the same.

Past this, using our computer, modem, browser, ISP, we can connect to the internet in some way to share information. We go to our home pages, create web sites, look up news, share information and perhaps still most popular of all is e-mail. Most people say e-mail is their #1 reason for using a computer and having an internet service provider.

It all sounds very simple and in some ways it is. But take into consideration there are about 1,086,250,903 give or take, web users and the structure and communication is mind boggling. A little disturbing information, 90% don’t contribute at all. 9% only contribute a small bit to the web and 1% do most the work creating sites, blogs, etc…That is a bit staggering to say the least, however these are statistics but in this case, even give or take 20,000 is fairly accurate.

The internet is growing very quickly every day and in six years has grown 200%. This is quite a hike in six years however, due to other actions, prices put forth by ISP’s, many say has contributed to stunting the growth of the web. 56k , a well known and still around for many areas connection is of course a known snail speed communication. The limit was never the phone wires but standards set by big businesses, phone companies, etc… We now know that we can get extremely fast service over phone lines, DSL. As well, many people say they cannot afford the high speed internet and either go to 56k or none. So this does in fact contribute to the growth of the internet. However, the outlook is still that the internet is growing and will continue to do so for a long time. For information on growth percentage try here.

By Paul

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