The Internet didn't just evolve overnight - it is the result of extensive research since the late 1950s. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the Internet was more than 50 years in the making.
The launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1957 threw the US military and scientific establishment into near panic with visions of Soviet weapons in space striking a helpless Western world. As part of the response, in 1959 the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was formed within the Pentagon to establish an American lead in military science and technology.
In 1969, the Pentagon commissioned ARPANET for research into networking. The following year, proposals were put forward for protocols that would allow computers to communicate with each other. Protocols are the rules for transmitting information across networks. Try to imagine our roads as networked cables and the vehicles on the roads as packets of information trying to get to a destination. Without rules for transporting the traffic there would simply be chaos.
In 1974, Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and others developed their Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection, specifying the detailed design of the Transmission Control Program (TCP) - the basis of today's Internet. In 1978, TCP was split into TCP (now short for Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol). The protocols are usually referred to together as TCP/IP.
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