Before the internet came into place, communication (voice and data transfer) was limited to areas between stations covered by a small radius network. That was in the 1950s and the early 1960s. The term internet is used to mean a global link via the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). The earliest discoveries of the internet were first made in the United Kingdom; that was in the year 1858 which saw the first cable being laid but it was a technical failure, it only managed to work for days. Eight years later, a more advanced cable was laid which marked the greatest success in the sector.
The cable remained in use for over a century (Roberts et al, p.20). The internet, since its advent helped the world in the wake of globalization and it continues to be a vital tool in linking international borders. This paper will look at the internet in its historical context and analyze its significance in the modern world.
The Historical Context
Those who came up with the technology of the internet saw the need to allow computers to share information for research work and development in the military and development fields. The first computers to be brought to the limelight were done in MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The concept later advanced to packet switching which was to achieve some slight internet connection (Kahn, pp. 44-45).
The ground was however broken with the invention of the ARPANET which marked the real foundation of the internet. The chief objective of coming up with the internet technology was to provide a platform for communication to be carried out even if the most direct route was unavailable. It was to create alternative communication routes to be put into use by professionals like Engineers, Doctors, Scientists, Librarians, and Computer experts.
Further advancements saw the coming of E-mail, a discovery by Ray Tomlinson in 1972. He adopted the @ symbol to line the address and the username. Then there was the FTP protocol to enable the concerned parties to share data between internet sites. In the year1989, expert Tim Berners came up with a perfect interface for the distribution of information the world over. That was what was later known as the www (World Wide Web).
As the advent grew wider and wider, the earlier developers tried attempted to put their stamps to dictate how the web was supposed to operate, this threatened the sector and created a scene of unrelated protocols that required different software to be linked up (Kleinrock, pp.27-31). In the same context, international standards have been established by the www consortium to develop these standards for every browser. For the period that the internet has been in use, it has revolutionized communication via computers like nothing before.
The era of using land and airmail letters is now part of our history; what we are witnessing in the 21st Century is a well-integrated computerized telegraph, radios, and telephones. The internet has offered the world a chance an easy mechanism to collaborate and disseminate information between parties that want to link ideas regardless of the geographical location. Four guidelines restricted the earlier discoveries in internet use; these included the following rules and regulations as laid down by Kahn (Kahn, pp.46-47).
The first rule was that communication would be based on the effort of the inventor. For instance, if a packet fails to reach its intended destination, it only had to be retransmitted from its source. The second rule called for independence and allowed for no internal changes in that particular network to get it connected to the internet. The third rule gave a provision for the use of a black box to connect the network (routers and gateways). To avoid complications and keep the gateways as simple as possible, the gateways were not supposed to be designed not to allow any storage of individual flows transmitted through them. Finally, the fourth rule called for no global control at the operation level.
The Modern Significance of the Internet
The internet has managed to ease the transfer and sharing of information without being physically present, it has, in turn, ensured that a lot of important information is available online thus boosting the know-how of those who seek the knowledge. The paper has established that the first notable invention as far as the internet was concerned was done by J.C. Licklider of MIT which saw all the global computers interconnected to enable every user to access resources (programs and data) from selected sites (Keith, pp.11-14).
It was like we now have the modern internet. Internet experts have managed over the years to overcome a lot of hurdles but there still needs to be some factors that need to be addressed, for instance; the need to have all the nations coordinating to address internet matters as a unit. The researchers need to come up with a mechanism to control host to host flow, integrate and interface all operating systems by having a principle operating system.
Life is now practically unimaginable without the internet; some even believe that no viable work can be done in this 21st Century without the internet. Some who are used to the internet even wonder how people used to survive without the technology. What now seems like a part and parcel of human life was only brought to the full limelight ten years ago. Thought its roots stretch back to the19th Century but it was made public just the other day. Now individuals can work from the comfort of their homes and link with other players several miles away. Not only the research sector has gained through the internet, but also the business department has gathered massive benefits.
E-commerce has been at the center of debate for a long time now, but the hard-line stance of the critics has so far subsided. Modern internet use has seen the application in the business more than in the educational sector with the concept has been positively received the world over. “Embracing the internet concept has brought a lot of positive changes that have helped in the globalization” (Cerf et al. p.631). The new networking technologies that are taking root are keeping the world on track with technological advancement.
The concept only stands to be beneficial if the world’s major players realize that the internet is not for a single person, nor group of individuals, nor organization, company nor nation, but for all. To this effect, therefore, a standard measure has to be put in place to institutionalize or formalize rules to control every players’ acts. The rules, some of which were mentioned earlier in this research paper have brought about restrictions that ensure that all countries operate on a level arena and no company enjoys more privileges than the other. The rules, therefore, are administered to all countries to create fair competition. The internet, therefore, is one of the best latest technological interventions that will take the world places by sparing development.
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Keith, U. Harry, T. and Kahn, R. Proceedings of the IEEE. Special Issue on Packet Communication Networks, Volume 66, No. 11, (1978). Pp.11-14.
Kleinrock, L. Information Flow in Large Communication Nets. RLE Quarterly Progress Report, (1961). Pp.27-31.
Roberts, L. & Merrill, T. Toward a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers. Fall AFIPS Conf. (1966). Pp.20-22.