It’s World Internet Day! Here’s Why We’re Celebrating
October 29th is World Internet Day and here at Absolute Digital Media, we’re celebrating! On this day back in 1969, the very first message was sent via an internet transmission, giving us the first sign of what was to come. Despite starting as a simple enclosed network, the internet has come on leaps and bounds, opening up to billions of websites and even more users that browse and consume pages and pages of information on a daily basis.
The internet as we know it today is a powerhouse, operating as the very core of our work, communication, daily activities and more. Even our household appliances, cars and other forms of transport are beginning to operate with the internet. While we may live in a world where the internet seems like a must-have today, this hasn’t always been the case. To celebrate just how far the internet has come, we’re taking a look back at where it all began.
What Is World Internet Day?
World Internet Day celebrates the anniversary of the very first internet transmission and what most people recognise as being the very start of the internet as we know it. Every year, on October 29th, people from around the world stop to celebrate and recognise the achievement back in 1969 and reflect back on just how it’s changed the way we live our lives today. It has transformed the way the world operates and whether you’re in full support of its abilities, or are sceptical about where this could all take us in the future, World Internet Day is a time to stop and look back at the journey.
Where Did It All Start?
It’s widely agreed that there is no one person responsible for the creation of the ‘internet’ as an idea. In fact, a number of technological experts can be credited for coming up with the idea of a network, not least including Nikola Tesla with his ‘world wireless system’ idea, and MIT’s J.C.R Licklider, who brought about the idea of an ‘intergalactic network’ of computers.
What followed from these ideas was ‘packet switching’, something that would become part of the scaffolding for the internet as we know it. It provided a way for computers to transmit and transport data between one another, but it wasn’t until the late 60’s that this started to be put into practice.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, more commonly referred to as ARPANET, was funded by the U.S Department of Defense to utilise the idea of packet switching and create a communication network. It was during this project that the first transmission was sent. Three men working on the network, Leonard Kleinrock, Charley Kline and Bill Duvall attempted to utilise the network to send a message. This network connected four computers, but the transmission would be sent between a computer located in a research lab at UCLA and a second at Stanford’s Research Facility.
The message to be sent was ‘LOGIN’, but their first attempt ended with just two letters sent between the computers – L and O. In an interview with AOL Mail Bag, Charley Kline commented:
‘So I’m on the phone to SRI and I type the L and say, “OK I typed in L, you got that?” Bill Duvall, the guy at SRI, is watching his monitor and he has the L. I type the O. Got the O. Typed the G. “Wait a minute”, Bill says, “my system crashed. I’ll call you back”.’
The message was successfully sent around an hour later, but the crashed system certainly gives them a story to tell!
A Growing Network
While ARPANET is given credit for the first transmission, the network was just too small to popularise the internet to the extent that we see today. In fact, it wasn’t until it began to add additional computers, including London’s University College, Hawaii’s ALOHAnet and the Royal Radar Establishment, that things began to pick up.
By the late 1970s, Vinton Cerf, a computer scientist, developed a way for all computers on small networks to communicate with one another. His name is the one behind TCP/IP, or the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol that we know today, which can be thanked for introducing different networks to one another in a virtual way. With these additions, the internet became a global network, passing overseas rather than just from university to university in America.
The World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (WWW) can often be confused with being the internet itself, but the reality is that they are two separate things. In short, the World World Web made accessing the internet much easier. It came about in 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee, a more famous name for those touting the creation of the internet as we know it, invented two languages. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) may be common names today but at the time, were the very core of the WWW.
This system became the common way that everyday internet users could access data online, which ultimately popularised the internet amongst the public at the time. The very first website was created by Tim Berners-Lee too, offering not only information on the WWW as a whole but also held a directory for users to access other websites that were being uploaded following the release of the World Wide Web.
The Explosion Of The Internet
The true turning point of the internet came in 1992 when a group at the University of Illinois created their own browser called Mosaic. It introduced scrollable pages, clickable links and even integrated images and text into the same page. This development led Congress to allow the web to be used on a commercial basis and so, of course, businesses flocked to create their very own websites.
In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, which was the very first OS ever packaged with Internet Explorer. This quick and simple package made the introduction of the internet into homes a much simpler process. For this reason, more than half of homes in the U.S alone had an operating computer, but it was between 1996 and 2008 that it’s capabilities exploded.
The number of websites jumped from 100,000 in 1996, to a whopping 162 million or more in 2008. It was during this time that the likes of Amazon and eBay also started up, raking in profits from their platforms and showing the wider public that the internet could be used for more than just chatting and research. It was a platform that could allow businesses to operate and while it still had some developing to do, more and more companies flocked online to be where their customers wanted them.
Since then, the internet has only grown more and more not only in size but in capabilities and popularity. The likes of social media, smartphones and cloud networks have made the internet a staple in billions of people’s lives, and understandably so. With predictions that 80% of people could be online by the end of 2020, the future of the internet may be unclear but is exciting all the same and we can’t wait to see what will happen.