History Timeline: 1985
The Internet is a constantly changing and growing
phenomenon. Below is a brief timeline of some of the major events
in the past 20 years of Internet development. While the amount
of development is continually increasing, these are just a few
occurrences that had a direct impact on the Internet as we know
The Past Twenty Years of the Internet
1985: The National Science Foundation (NSF) takes over administration
of the network from ARPA. NSF links its 6 SuperComputer Centers
and establishes Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) limiting use of NSFnet
to research and education only. The number of hosts connecting
has almost reached 2,000. A hose is a computer system with registered
1986: While the number of hosts surpasses 5,000, the NSF establishes
a 3-tiered NSFNET comprised of a network backbone, mid-level network,
and campus network.
1987: The number of hosts is reaching close to 30,000 and NSF
contracts with MERIT (collaborates with IBM and MCI) to upgrade
1988: In July of 1988 NSF completes transition to T1 backbone
and the phase-out of ARPANET begins. T1 is a digital transmission
link with a capacity of 1.544 Mbps, much greater than previous
1990: In June ARPANET is officially dissolved and the World Wide
Web (WWW) is being developed at CERN in Geneva. CERN is the European
Organization for Nuclear Research, now known as the world's largest
particle physics center.
1990: The number of hosts has surpassed 300,000.
1991: Sun forms the "Green Team", made up of developers
for Java, to explore consumer devices. According to Sun “the
secret "Green Team," fully staffed at 13 people, was
chartered by Sun to anticipate and plan for the "next wave" in
computing. Their initial conclusion was that at least one significant
trend would be the convergence of digitally controlled consumer
devices and computers. “
1992: The number of hosts is over one million as NSF completes
transition to T3 backbone. T3 is a term for a digital carrier facility
used to transmit a digital signal at 44.746 megabits per second,
a huge increase from the previous T1 connection at 1.544 Mbps.
1993: The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)NCSA
releases NCSA Mosaic for X. According to NCSA Mosaic is an Internet
information browser and World Wide Web client. NCSA has developed
the first web browser.
1993: Web servers are gaining popularity, with about 200 web servers
in the Internet by 1993.
1994: In April
of 1994 World Wide Web traffic overtook that of Gopher. A Gopher
server presents its contents as a hierarchically structured
list of files. Web sites were more easily accessible and thus more
1995: The Internet becomes completely privatized after NSFnet
shuts down and the World Wide Web becomes networks largest byte
and packet mover. In May Netscape announces integration of Java
into Navigator Web client.
1996: Search engines, JAVA, Internet Phone are all heavily research
and developed and software development, mainly due to the browser
war between Microsoft and Netscape, is accelerating with Beta testing
and quarterly software resleases.
1996: The NSF "recompetes" federal supercomputer centers
and forms 155 Mbps "very high-speed Backbone Network Service
(vBNS)”. Web traffic becomes over half of all network traffic.
1997: Domain names are becoming a commodity, a good example being
domain name business.com which sold for US$150,000.
1998: The US Department of commerce announces plans to privatize
DNS and open source software comes of age.
1999: E-Trade, Online Banking, and MP3 technology are heavily
promoted and further developed.
2000: Web size estimates
by NEC-RI and Inktomi surpass 1 billion indexable pages and Internet2
backbone network deploys IPv6. According
to the Ipv6 information page, “IPv6 fixes a number of problems
in IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses.
It also adds many improvements to IPv4 in areas such as routing
and network autoconfiguration. IPv6 is expected to gradually replace
IPv4, with the two coexisting for a number of years during a transition
2001: Digital media copyright issues come to a head as Napster
keeps finding itself embroiled in litigation and is eventually
forced to suspend service while the first uncompressed real-time
gigabit HDTV transmission across a wide-area IP network takes place
2003: US ISP Association
(USISPA) is created from the former CIX with a claim of “representing
the common policy and legal interests of Internet Service Providers.”
2003: Blogs and online diaries are increasing in popularity.
2004: The SQL Slammer worm causes one of the largest and fastest
spreading Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks ever. It
took only about 10 minutes to spread worldwide and disabled 5 of
the 13 DNS root servers along with tens of thousands of other servers.
The worm impacted systems such as ATM systems to air traffic control
to emergency systems. Later that year the Sobig.F virus was the
fastest spreading virus ever, and the Blaster (MSBlast) worm was
another one of the most destructive worms ever.
2004: The number of hosts is about 200 million and there are over
46 million web servers.
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