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Tech Time Travel: The Internet Was Born

The Birth of a New Age
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer

On November 21, 1969, a historic event occurred that is often regarded as the birth of the internet as we know it today. This event marked the first successful communication between two computers on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA).

Early Years

The primary aim of the ARPANET was to create a robust and decentralized communication network capable of withstanding a nuclear attack. At 10:30 PM on that day, the first-ever networked connection was established between two computers. One computer was located at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the other was at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. The initial message sent across this network was intended to be “LOGIN,” a test to log into the remote computer at SRI. However, the system crashed after transmitting only the first two letters, “LO.”

The Connection

This successful connection between the UCLA and SRI computers was groundbreaking. It demonstrated the feasibility of computer networks and introduced the concept of packet-switching, a foundational technology for the Internet. Packet-switching involves breaking data into smaller packets for efficient transmission and reassembling them at the destination, allowing for more reliable and efficient communication

The Wrap

The ARPANET project ultimately led to the development of critical internet protocols, including the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), collectively known as TCP/IP. These protocols served as the bedrock for modern Internet communication.

Over time, the ARPANET expanded to include more research institutions and government agencies, forming the basis for the interconnected network of networks that evolved into the global internet. This transition was marked by collaboration among researchers, standards development, and the widespread adoption of networking technologies, ultimately transforming the way people communicate, access information, and conduct business worldwide.

Go Deeper –> On This Day In History, The Internet Was Born – Geek Wire

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