network internet

The Internet is a public access telecommunications network that connects various devices or terminals all over the world, representing since its birth one of the major means of mass communication (together with radio and television), thanks to the offer to the user of a vast series of potentially informative contents and services.

It is a global interconnection between telecommunications and computer networks of different nature and extension, made possible by a suite of common network protocols called “TCP / IP” from the name of the two main protocols, TCP and IP, which constitute the common “language” with which computers connected to the Internet (hosts) are interconnected and communicate with each other at a higher level regardless of their underlying hardware and software architecture, thus ensuring interoperability between different physical systems and subnets.

The advent and diffusion of the Internet and its services have represented a real technological and socio-cultural revolution since the early nineties (together with other inventions such as mobile phones and GPS) as well as one of the engines of world economic development. in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

As a telecommunications network, in terms of diffusion it is second only to the general telephone network, which is also world-wide and with public access, but even more “capillary” than the Internet.


The origin of the Internet dates back to the 1960s, at the initiative of the United States of America, which developed a new defense and counter-intelligence system during the Cold War.

The first scientific publication in which a world-wide computer network with public access is theorized is On-line man computer communication of August 1962, a scientific publication by the Americans Joseph Licklider and Welden E. Clark. In the publication Licklider and Clark, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also give a name to the network they theorized: “Intergalactic Computer Network”.

Before all this begins to become a public reality it will be necessary to wait until 1991 when the government of the United States of America issues the High performance computing act, the law with which for the first time the possibility of expanding, thanks to the initiative, is foreseen private and with the purpose of commercial exploitation, an Internet network up to that moment a world-wide computer network owned by the state and intended for the scientific world. This commercial exploitation is immediately implemented by other countries as well.

The progenitor and precursor of the Internet is considered the ARPANET project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (English: DARPA, Agency for Advanced Research Projects for Defense), an agency dependent on the US Department of Defense or DoD of the United States of America). In a note dated April 25, 1963, Licklider had expressed his intention to link all computers and time-sharing systems into a continental network. Having left ARPA for a job at IBM the following year, it was his successors who dedicated themselves to the ARPANET project.


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The contract was awarded to the company from which Licklider came, Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) which used Honeywell’s minicomputers as support. The network was physically built in 1969 by connecting four nodes: the University of California at Los Angeles, the Stanford SRI, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. The bandwidth was 50 kbps. In the meetings to define the characteristics of the network, the fundamental Requests for Comments were introduced, which are still the fundamental documents for everything related to the IT protocols of the network and their developments. The modern day super-network resulted from the extension of this first network, created under the name of ARPANET.

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The first nodes were based on a client / server architecture, and therefore did not support direct connections (host-to-host). The applications run were basically Telnet and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programs. The e-mail service was invented by Ray Tomlinson of BBN in 1971, deriving the program from two others: the SENDMSG for internal messages and CPYNET, a program for transferring files. The following year, the Arpanet was introduced to the public, and Tomlinson adapted his program to work on it: it quickly became popular, thanks also to the contribution of Larry Roberts who had developed the first program for managing e-mail, RD.