History of the Internet

The Early days

The Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) began formalizing the internet technology in the mid-1970s. The Internet as we know it was formalized cica 1978. The completion of the formal Internet wame in January of 1983 when the Secretary of Defence mandated that TCP-IP should be used for all network to network interconnectivity. At about the same time, the Internet was split into two parts : ARPANET for research and MILNET for military/defense communication.

The Berkeley Software Distribution

The University of California (UC) at Berkeley was very active in UNIX and TCP-IP technology throughout the 1980s. To encourage research and educational involvement, UC Berkeley offered its Berkely Software Distribution (BSD) which included many network utilities. The BSD contributed considerably to the growth of the Internet.

Rapid Growth

In 1979, it was estimated that a few hundred systems were connected via the Internet. By 1985, the number of connected systems eclipsed 20.000 at various universities, government sites, and corporate research organizations. By 1994, the Internet exceeded 3 million connected systems in 61 countries.

As a consequence of the continuing growth of the Internet, an independent organization called the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) was formed in 1983. The purpose of this organisation included management of Request for Comments (RFCs). These RFCs largely dictate th standards and protocols of the Internet.

By 1989, the growth of the Internet was so great that a number of suborganizations of the IAB were formed. Including among these suborganizations was the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). In 1992, the Internet was formally separated from the U.S. government and the ARPANET was retired. Currently, the Internet Society managesthe Internet through an organization known as the Internet Network Information center (INTERNIC) and continous to monitor standardization through the IAB.

The Future

With the rapid growth of the Internet, it became clear that the Internet Protocol (IP) version 4 (IPv4) was reaching its limits. In 1992, The IETF began formally meeting to discuss the future of the IP. During the discussion phase, the next protocol was called the Internet Protocol - Next Generation (IPng). It has largely formalised and is now called the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).