The Internet is a worldwide connection of thousands of computer networks. All of them speak the same language, TCP/IP, the standard protocol. The Internet allows people with access to these networks to share information and knowledge. Resources available on the Internet are chat groups, e-mail, newsgroups, file transfers, and the World Wide Web. The Internet has no centralized authority and it is uncensored. The Internet belongs to everyone and to no one.
The Internet is structured in a hierarchy. At the top, each country has at least one public backbone network. Backbone networks are made of high speed lines that connect to other backbones. There are thousands of service providers and networks that connect home or college users to the backbone networks. Today, there are more than fifty-thousand networks in more than one-hundred countries worldwide. However, it all started with one network.
In the early 1960's the Cold War was escalating and the United States Government was faced with a problem. How could the country communicate after a nuclear war? The Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA, had a solution. They would create a non-centralized network that linked from city to city, and base to base. The network was designed to function when parts of it were destroyed. The network could not have a center because it would be a primary target for enemies. In 1969, ARPANET was created, named after its original Pentagon sponsor. There were four supercomputer stations, called nodes, on this high speed network.
ARPANET grew during the 1970's as more and more supercomputer stations were added. The users of ARPANET had changed the high speed network to an electronic post office. Scientists and researchers used ARPANET to collaborate on projects and to trade notes. Eventually, people used ARPANET for leisure activities such as chatting. Soon after, the mailing list was developed....