Call it the bane or the boon of modern society, the evolution of Internet has been nothing but exciting for all involved.
Genesis of TCP/IP
In the late 1960s, the Internet was nothing but an experiment set up by the U.S. Department of Defense ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency, now known as DARPA). The experiment was to connect computers and networks so that grants can be offered to universities and companies to help them collaborate in their research. The TCP and the IP protocols evolved with ARPANET (short for ARPA Network). The TCP/IP network became one of the new networks and gained so much popularity that we use it even today. The success of this network was based on a simple policy: if a network spoke the TCP/IP protocol, it could join the network, therby organically increasing the growth of the Internet.
Soon enough, computer science became one of the academic courses in most universities, thereby dissing the idea that the Internet was something exclusive and not good enough for the common folk. Because ARPANET was prohibited from being used commercially, the NFS (National Science Foundation) created a giant network made out of smaller networks and called it the NFSNET. While, as early as 1990s, NFSNET was being reserved for educational and research work, the world could still feel the jitters and excitement of something new that was going to change the way of communication.
Funding the Internet or the birth of ISPs
In 1990, the ARPANET was decommissioned, and the idea of having the military involved with the Internet was officially dismissed. But there was still the question of funding it. NFS took the decision to keep the Internet away from government interference and privatized the Internet for good. NFS constructed a plan to allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to take over the Internet and sell it to end users. So, the service providers that we subscribe to have POPs (points of presence) scattered across multiple regions. The connection of these POPs form an Internet network. When you subscribe to the service provider, you basically connect your devices to the provider’s POPs. The service providers use gateways to interact with other service providers, thereby making it seem that the network is seamless and smooth.
So, in a matter of 40 years, the reach of a network that was meant solely for the purposes of research and education, the Internet spread across more computers and more networks, changed its name, and connected everybody in the world to each other. Now, everybody across the globe uses the Internet, from being able to see your loved ones when you speak to them over a phone call to ordering in groceries because you are too tired to go to the supermarket, everything is entirely dependent on the Internet.
The world of smartphones
A huge part in this globalization of the Internet is thanks to the smartphone adoption. These phones really make you control everything in your life just with a swipe. As it is with everything, each utility comes with a boon and a bane. While it is excellent achievement to be able to stay in touch and get so much work done without leaving the comfort of your home, there is also the question of security. While all networks have a robust security system set in place, especially the ones that deal with private data and money, there still are cases of fraudulence and identity thefts.
But, in all, we are quite pleased to have seen the Internet evolve from an exotic military utility to something as mundane as electricity or gas. With each passing day, we see security measures control and tighten, and every organization striving hard to protect our information from miscreants. Therefore, it is of no surprise when we see that a number of us are vested in online shopping; be it food or clothes or expensive gadgets, we all go to the Internet with our problems. Admit it, most of us wouldn’t know where to go if it hadn’t been for the Internet. So, no complaints there; the evolution of the Internet has really been a blessing in disguise to us!
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