History and Development of the Internet
The internet is a global computer network connecting millions and millions of users throughout the world. (Leiner, 2). It has become one of the fastest growing forms of communication today. (Marshall, 1).
The Internet started as a Defense Department Cold War experiment in the 1950’s. (Academic American, 225). The government needed a way to relay information between tanks and headquarters so the APRA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) sought a way to let signals from the battlefield reach a headquarters computer using satellites and radio signals. At the same time the command posts of the nation were located deep underground in mountains in fear of nuclear war. (Diamond, 3). Paul Baran, working for the U.S. Air Force, developed a network that could reroute itself around damage caused by the impact of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by using "redundancy of connectivity". This meant that in the event of a break in the network the server would re-route the information in an alternate path through a new technique called "packet switching". Packet Switching is a means of breaking up the message being sent into small packets which carry enough information to seek out its destination and sending them out separately towards the destination server. The message after being broken up would take separate routes to the destination and then be re-assembled by the computer at the server where the message was being sent. This was good because with more than one route for information to travel on, the enemy did not have one central point to target their attack to break the lines of communication and in the event of some break in the line information could still travel through. (Diamond, 4).
This all interested the APRA enough to fund the research and development of an experimental computer network with hopes of demonstrating the feasibility of remote computer operation from the battlefield. Vinton Cerf...
Bibliography: "Internet." Academic American Encyclopedia. 1996.
American Heritage. Oct. 1995: pp. 34+. In Social Issues Resource Series, Inc. History- Article #17.
Jan./Feb. 1998: pp. 46-50. In Social Issues Resource Series, Inc. Internet,
Censorship- Article #1.
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