What is the internet?
The internet is a globally connected network system which uses TCP/IP to transmit data via various types of media. The internet is a network of global exchanges including private, business, public, academic & government networks connected by guided, wireless & fiber-optic technologies.
The terms internet & World Wide Web are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing; the internet refers to the global communication system, including hardware & infrastructure, while the web is one of the services communicated through the internet.
Who invented the internet?
As you might expect for the technology so expansive & ever-changing, it is impossible to credit the invention of the Internet to a single person. The Internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers & engineers who each developed new features & technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today.
Long before the technology existed to actually build the Internet, too many scientists had already anticipated the existence of worldwide networks of information. Nikola Tesla toyed with the great idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, & visionary thinkers like Paul Otlet & Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems of books and media in the 1930s & 1940s.
Still, the 1st practical schematics for the Internet would not arrive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of the “Intergalactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” the method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the Internet.
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late of 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPAN). Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used the packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on the single network. The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol & Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how the data could be transmitted between multiple networks.
ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on the January 1, 1983, & from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the new modern Internet. The online world then took on the more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. While it’s often confused with the Internet itself, the web is actually just the most common means of accessing data online in the form of websites & hyperlinks. The web helped popularize the Internet among the public, & served as a crucial step in developing the vast trove of information that most of us now access on a daily basis.