The Year the Internet Was Invented

Identifying the year the Internet was invented means interpreting which of the significant advancements along the way crossed over from pre-Internet status to what is recognized as the Internet. A great many individuals, organizations and companies contributed to the development of the modern Internet, so a look at the timeline of these developments can narrow down the answer.

Setting The Stage For Research
The 1950s was a time of intense technological competition between the United States and other world powers, namely the USSR. In 1958, President Eisenhower established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to protect and develop military communications from interception. Government and private companies were pushing research and development in the new field of computer science throughout the 1960s, and ARPA headed the type of long-term research developed in coordination with some of the brightest scientific minds in the nation-research university personnel. The organization embraced the development of the minicomputers in 1965 and focused on the idea that independent computer networks could somehow communicate with each other.

ARPANET
Packet switching networks has been around for several years, using technology that would batch blocks of data in equal segments for even transmission. ARPA engineers, led by director Larry Roberts, made great strides in linking independent computers together over the telephone lines in the late 1960s. The development of Interface Message Processors (computers that receive, package and forward packet switched data) allowed an interconnected network to exist for the first time, and the first message was sent in 1969.

At the International Conference on Computer Communication in Washington (ICCC) in 1972, ARPANET was demonstrated, and attendants immediately saw the viability in the international communications potential. Communication protocol was standardized in the mid-1970s, and by the early 1980s, desktop computers made the Internet even more accessible to users.

By 1983, ARPANET was split into two segments-MILNET for military and ARPANET for research/university needs. In 1986, there were several backbone networks for users to choose from, including NYSERNet, CERFnet, NSFNET, and CSNET. The availability of home computers increased the desire for expanded Internet services. Access and interest accelerated in the early 1990s, with Internet service networks spreading to more than 70 countries and the number of users estimated to be over 8 million.

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