Evolution of the Internet as Communication Media
The Internet took birth in the late 1960s.
In This Article
The Department of Defense (DOD) of the US government laid the framework for the Internet by creating a network of computers to connect researchers, government workers, and defence contractors.
Earlier, different makes of computers used to have different rules for communication (protocols). DOD decided to develop an independent protocol to create a network of computers.
The new network, ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency), was installed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in September 1969. The goal was to develop a robust computer network that could function even after a nuclear attack.
The ARPANET expanded during the 1970s and early 1980s as computer science researchers across American universities and laboratories were connected to the network.
In 1986, the National Science Foundation started the NSFNET program to expand the ARPANET and connect more university researchers to the network. The NSFNET has evolved into the Internet, a network of thousands of networks.
The TCP/IP protocol suite replaced the ARPANET protocol in the 1970s. The features in these protocols permitted efficient data transmission from any computer connected to the ARPANET to any other on the net. It was the foundation for the Internet as communication media.
How does the Internet Work?
Many organizations, corporations, governments, individuals, and service providers own pieces of the Internet infrastructure, but no one else owns it all. Some of these owners can control the quality and level of access to the Internet.
However, no one owns the Internet, and no single person or organization controls the Internet as a whole.
There are, however, organizations that oversee and standardize what happens on the Internet and assign IP addresses and domain names, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Regional Internet Registries (RIR), and Domain Name Registries and Registrars.
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
The IETF, founded in 1986, is the primary organization responsible for developing Internet standards. IETF creates voluntary rules that Internet users, network operators, and equipment makers adopt, thus helping shape the trajectory of the development of the Internet. However, the IETF does not supervise or control the Internet in any way.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
ICANN is a nonprofit organization formed under the US Department of Commerce in 1998 to administer the domain name registration process and the Domain Name System (DNS). ICANN is a public-benefit corporation with a community of participants worldwide. ICANN’s job is to help ensure the global Internet is stable, safe, and unified.
We need to type in an address, a name, or a number to get in touch with someone on the Internet. For computers to be able to find each other, that address has to be unique. ICANN helps make sure that these unique identifiers work together and are supported all over the world.
When a user purchases a domain name from any one of the hundreds of domain registrars available on the Internet for a specified period of time, generally 1 year or more, the domain registrar submits the names to ICANN, which is responsible for the actual assignment of Internet addresses.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
In 1994, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee established the World Wide Web Consortium to ensure that the Web would continue growing.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has always been an international multi-stakeholder community. Member organizations, full-time staff, and the public collaborate to develop open web standards.
The W3C publishes recommendations that are considered web standards. In a digitally connected world, web standards are like blueprints that make everything work together seamlessly. Browsers, blogs, search engines, and other software use them to make the web experience possible.
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
The IANA is an ICANN unit that handles the IP address space and the autonomous system (AS) number space.
IANA is responsible for the global coordination of the Domain Name System (DNS root), Internet protocol (IP) addressing, and other resources. IANA manages and assigns the top-level domains .com, .org, .mil, .edu, etc., and coordinates the IP addresses and their allocation to the RIR.
IANA and the RIR are the official registrars and owners of the domain records and IP addresses.
Regional Internet Registries (RIR)
The RIR system evolved over time, dividing the world into five regions. These five RIRs are responsible for allocating and registering Internet numbers in their respective regions.
|American Registry for Internet Numbers
|Réseaux IP Européens
|Asia Pacific Network Information Centre
|African Network Information Centre
|Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre
The Internet is more of a concept than an actual tangible entity, and it relies on a physical infrastructure that connects networks to other networks.