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History of computer networking

Welcome to the world of computer networking. Today, it is no longer sufficient to simply have and use computers; today it is imperative to get connected as well. The real power and advantage of computers can be achieved, to maximum only when they are linked to other networks and computers. From the simple two-computer to small office local-area network (LAN) and to the ever-growing worldwide Internet, networking is the future of computing. Organizations and individuals are buying Computers, and those computers are connecting within LANs and wide-area networks (WANs) at an amazing pace. We precisely are networking the world. Network communications is quickly becoming a part of our lives, even those not directly involved in the information technology (IT) industry should know something about the fundamentals of networking. It would be as difficult to function in today's world as if you knew nothing about a telephone or a basic mobile phone.

Brief History of Computer Networking

In the early days of computing, computers were huge machines that occupy entire room, sometimes entire city blocks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These expensive beasts had less processing power and memory than today's small handheld computers. In a world in which human beings that were sluggish and prone to error had done calculations manually, the capabilities of the computer were astounding. At the midpoint of the twentieth century, computers were still rare, unusual, mysterious machines owned only by large companies, governmental bodies, and educational institutions. Mostly computers were individual systems, isolated from one another. In 1940s, Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM, said that the market around the world for Personal computer is not more than 5 computers. Even in 1977, Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, said, There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home Of course, both have been proven not just wrong, but highly erroneous. However, no one would have foreseen, even a decade ago, that Computers would multiply as they have or that computer networking would become a mainstream topic. The First Communications Networks By the mid-1900s, electronic communications had been around for over a century and was being instigated in both Europe and the United States. Initially these networks took many forms and sent only coded signals. They later became proficient of sending voice across the wire. This section provides a rough time line of how the first networks were developed. Telegraph Cables In the early 1800s, the French developed the first optical telegraph network, which sent information at the tremendous speed of 20 characters per second, and Samuel Morse demonstrated the electrical telegraph system, which urged the development of networked communications in the United States.

The early Telephone Network Circuit-Switching Technology In the late 1800s, a huge telephone network began to be built. In 1876 an internal memo at Western Union detailed that This 'telephone' has too many inadequacies to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is fundamentally of no value to us. In spite of that attitude, there were more than 50,000 telephone lines in the U.S. by 1880, and by 1960, telephone lines covered urban areas, and the telephone network became a global communications network. A telephone system uses circuit-switching technology, in which a circuit is built when one telephone connects to another on a network. This technology works fine for voice transmission because of the voice being transferred over the wire, streams at a fairly constant rate. In a circuitswitched network, a connection is established and a virtual circuit is formed between source and destination. All signals are transmitted over this circuit during the session. If you disconnect and reconnect, a different circuit can be used, as whole process of determining the virtual path is again initiated. This technology is not feasible for computer data, as it is sent in bursts; that is, periods of high activity are scattered with intervals of low activity or inactivity, in other words data transmission is not as constant as voice transmission is. Packet-Switching Technology During the 1960s, the U.S. government became keen in develop a computer network that would enable systems at military settings and major educational institutions to communicate with one another. This advancement in networking technologies was during the middle of the Cold War; therefore they wanted the network to be robust, reliable, and redundant so that the network would survive a nuclear attack. Researchers working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the RAND Institute, and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in England came together to invent a new technology called packet switching, which worked well with burst data transmission as compared to the traditional circuit-switching technologies. This communications technology is the one used on the Internet today. In a packet-switched network, a connection is not established for the entire packet transfer. Instead, each individual packet of data takes different and most feasible path to reach their destination. Packet switching can also be called a connectionless networking technology because of the lack of a dedicated circuit or virtual path for data transfer. Internet traffic generally uses packet-switching technology to manage traffic and data transmission. The ARPANET Project The Arpanet The first packet-switched computer network was established in late 1960s, with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The network launched was called Arpanet (for Advanced Research Projects Agency network). Its first node was installed at the University of

California at Los Angeles in 1969 and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) provided the second node. About a month later the first host-to-host message was sent from laboratory to SRI. Two more nodes were connected at UC Santa Barbara and University of Utah. Thus, by the end of 1969, four host computers were connected in the initial ARPANET. Within three years, the network spread all across the United States, and later, it spread to Europe. As the network expanded, it divided into two parts. The military part was called internetwork Milnet, and Arpanet continued to be used to connect research and university sites. In the 1980s the Defense Data Network (a distinct military network) and NSFNet (A network of scientific and academic sites funded by the National Science Foundation) took over Arpanet. Eventually this network grew in what we today call the Internet.

Internet Timeline
1968: Role of the DoD It was the time (1962) when nuclear war seemed imminent. The two super powersof the world USA and USSR were in the process of building the most innovative nuclear ballistic missile system. Alongside they were preparing themselves for post- nuclear attack scenario. An impending concern was neither a long distance telephone connection nor Militarys basic command and control network would survive a nuclear attack. Though most of the links would be unharmed, but the centralized switching facilities would be destroyed by enemy weapons and there it will retard all the communication and Communication network. In 1968, to derive the efficient and effective solution to this problem, DOD funded research sites throughout United States to design and commission a Packet switched network technology for better and reliable communication. 1970s: Growth Spurt Begins When the Arpanet project started, no one predicted that this network would develop to the degree it did. By1970s, more number of nodes were added, both domestically and abroad. The 1980s: More Is Better 1983: The Arpanet network was divided into Milnet and ARPANET. 68 of the 113 nodes were taken by Milnet and integrated into the Defense Data Network. The Defense Data Network was built in 1982. 1984: The Domain Name System (DNS) was introduced in 1984, providing a way to record friendly host names to IP addresses that was much more effective and useful than previous methods. Around 100 host computers were connected to the network this year. 1985: IBM introduced Token ring technology for LAN (Local Area Network). It used a special 3 byte from called Token that travels around the network ring. The host that possess the token gets permission to transmit, while other hosts in the network wait for their turn to get token or permission to transmit. This token ring frame keeps travelling around the network loop.

Same year National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) project funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) was launched to promote advanced research and education networking in the United States. 1989: This year witnessed 100,000 hosts were connected to ARPANET.

The 1990s: The Net Becomes Big Business The remarkable development of 1980s was nothing compared to what was achieved in the 1990s. Arpanet ended, and the Internet was invented, with the U.S. government taking interest in pushing the growth of the so-called information superhighway. 1991: The NSFnet backbone was upgraded to T3 speed (that is, 44.736 Mbps), and by1991 it was capable of sending 1 trillion bytes per month. 1992: The Internet Society (ISOC) was formed, and 1 million hosts were connected on the Internet. 1995: Online advertising and online banking arrived. By this year Internet was so well versed with the user community, that they could even order a pizza over the Internet. 1999: By 1999 almost 1 billion sites were hosted on the World Wide Web, with over 50 million host computers participating in this networking technology.

It was the decade when Internet was commercialized. More and more college students and faculty, individual home users, and organizations of all sizes got connected, the corporate world acknowledged the opportunity to reach a large and expanding affluent market. The last half of this decade of the century, also ushered in new major changes almost on a daily basis. Streaming audio and video, push technologies, and Java and ActiveX scripting took advantage of highperformance connectivity available at lesser prices. Domain names also became a big business, with particularly required names selling for more than $1 million.

21st Century Technology transformed lives. High Speed Internet Technologies: Broadband is also called high-speed Internet, because it usually has a high speed data transmission rate (256 Kbit/s) as compared to dial-up access over a modem. There are many diverse technologies that empower broadband connections speed. The most popular of these include

Fiber optics cable: These cables use glass threads to transmit data. Mode of transmission is light waves, that more data at faster speed. Data travels in digital format rather than analog as on copper cables. DSL: Digital subscriber line is the group of technologies which can transmit data over the telephone network without interrupting voice communication. DSL works on higher frequency band of data with DSL filter at customer premises. These filter separate data and voice signals, thus blocks any interference in the communication. Wireless Broadband : It is a high speed internet access and data transmission facility provided by a Wireless Wide Area Network(WWAN) Satellite Internet: It is the high speed Internet service that uses telecommunication in earths orbit to provide Internet access to its consumers.

Network Security and Cyber Crime With Internet becoming prominent among the human race by 20th century, the next decade in the development of internet showcased lot of loopholes in data security, while it is being transmitted over Internet. This decade witnessed several attacks on the World Wide Web like Denial of service attack, Distributed Doss attack, website and information hacking, Email spoofing, Trojan, worms and virus attacks etc. Today we have taken an extra mile with advanced security technologies like firewalls, Intrusion Detection systems and data encryption techniques, to protect our valuable data over internet. These instances of cyber-attacks harmed the usability and reliability of data transmission over the internet, but at the same time it helped the user community to identify and define Cybercrime. In November 2001, European Council adopted the first agreement addressing criminal offenses committed over World Wide Web. This was just a beginning, today we have stringent law to stop and crucify cyber criminals.

Instant Messengers Instant messaging, often abbreviated as IM". It is the exchange of text messages through a software application in real-time communication environment. The IM software has the capability to easily identify whether a chosen friend or co-worker is online and connected through the selected Messenger. IM unlike ordinary e-mailing the proximity of the message exchange is higher and the message exchange is simpler than sending e-mail back and forth. Most exchanges are text-only, but nowadays we can exchange file, voice messaging, file sharing and even video chat when both users have cameras. The most popular Instant messengers are MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger G-talk, Skype, WatsApp etc.

Unified Communication Unified Communication is the integration of set of technologies and media types for consistent unified User interface and user experience. It is the integration of real-time communication services like email, IP telephony, video conferencing, interactive white boards, and speech recognition with non-real-time communication service like Unified Messaging (voice mail, e-mail, SMS and Fax). It is a very innovative technological development making communication at ease by integrating several communication technologies on a single platform over Internet.

Video Audio streaming Streaming is kind of progressive download of the audio & video file, where the file isn't downloaded to your computer in a permanently. The major sites for streaming are You,,,, etc.

E-commerce It is the buying and selling of goods over World Wide Web is E-commerce. The root of E-commerce comes along with ARPANET and today it is more than $ 100 billion business across the globe. The major players around the world in E-commerce are, etc.

Mobile Web It refers to the access of Internet on the mobile device like tablet computer, smart phones etc. through mobile network or wireless network. Mobile Web has been extensively developed and used in last one decade. With advance mobile network technologies like 3G and 4G, mobile internet is easily accessible and has become an important business and personal communication need.

Social Networking sites Social Networking site is a web based portal that brings people with same interest and background together. Giving an opportunity to express and share life events, photos etc. These sites also have integrated instant messenger voice and video chat. They facilitate their member to share files, video, photos etc. online with their user group. The most popular Social Networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, Google + etc.

Web 2.0 It is the advanced web technology or can also be called as second generation of world wide web. The main feature of this technology is to enable users to collaborate and share information online. It depicts the transition of static web pages to dynamic web pages, in

more organized manner, with a motive to serve web applications to the users. The other important feature of this technology is open communication with stress on Web-based communities of users, and more open sharing of information. Blog, Wikis and Web services are all outcomes of Web2.0. VOIP VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It is the technology that allows voice call to be made over Internet. This technology converts analog voice signals to digital data packets that support real-time two way communication using Internet Protocol. VOIP offers considerable cost saving long distance or International telephone calls.

Cloud Computing Cloud computing is networking technology which involves, large number of computing devices interconnected together through a real-time communication network, usually internet or intranet. It is basically set of hosted services over the network. It is broadly divided in to three categories: Cloud Infrastructure (Infrastructure as a service or IaaS) Cloud Platform ( Platform as service or PaaS) Cloud Software (Software as-a Service or Saas) This commuting technology offers hosted services right from Infrastructure (servers, mainframes, storage etc.) to Software and platform for application development. The technology is believed to be cost saving and offer resources optimization at larger extent.

This was the history and present of Internet, right from ARPANET project to Web2.0 enabled internet technology. Today if we look around, Internet and high speed connectivity is facilitating all industry types with its advantage of faster communication. But still our ambition and need to expand these technologies further, has not been fulfilled. There are things that are yet to come to transform our lives to larger extent. Research Scientist today are working on providing features like unlimited bandwidth, ultra-high-speed networks, more energy efficient networks, convergence and interoperability of heterogeneous networks like mobile, wired and wireless. The next decade is going to be really eventful for computer networks.