Internet history

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Time line

  • 1969 - the first message is transmitted from SDS Sigma 7 mainframe computer at University of California, Los angeles (UCLA) to an SDS 940 mainframe computer at Stanford Research Institute
  • 1970 - ALOHAnet becomes operational, the first packet radio network, developed by Norman Abramson, University of Hawaii
  • 1972
    • Ray Tomlinson chooses the @ sign to signify the recipient's destination
    • Larry Roberts writes the first email management program
    • Telnet specification written (RFC 318)
  • 1981 - the TCP and IP protocols are formalized (RFC 793 and RFC 791)
  • 1984 - Domain Name Service (DNS) is introduced
  • 1985 - File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is documented (RFC 765)
  • 1991 - Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau release the specifications for WWW
  • 1993 - the first web browser MOSAIC, is developed by Marc Andreessen at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
  • 1995 - the first specification for IPv6 released (RFC 1883)
  • 2011 - the first World IPv6 Day (June 8), including Google, Facebook and Yahoo with more than 1000 other companies participated for a worldwide trial of IPv6


The first packet switching network and predecessor to today’s Internet was the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which came to life in 1969 by connecting mainframe computers at four locations. ARPANET was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense for use by universities and research laboratories. Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) was the contractor that did much of the initial development of the ARPANET, including creating the first router known as an Interface Message Processor (IMP).

In 1973, Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf began work on TCP to develop the next generation of the ARPANET. TCP was designed to replace ARPANET’s current Network Control Program (NCP). In 1978, TCP was divided into two protocols: TCP and IP. Later, other protocols were added to the TCP/IP suite of protocols including Telnet, FTP, DNS, and many others.


Ethernet was a protocol originally developed by Bob Metcalfe at the XEROX Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the 1970s. In 1979, Bob Metcalfe formed his own company, 3COM, and worked with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Intel, and Xerox to promote the “DIX” standard for Ethernet. In 1985, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) published the IEEE 802.3 standard that was almost identical to Ethernet. Today, 802.3 is the common standard used on local-area networks (LANs).

Request for Comments

RFCs were created by Steve Crocker to help record notes on development of ARPANET in 1969 and eventually evolved into an official collection of memorandum that discribes topics that are mainly related to the Internet and the TCP/IP protocol suite. Today RFCs are managed by IETF and can be searched at

IETF RFCs list
  • RFC 1300 - Remembrances of Things Past
  • RFC 2795 - The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite (IMPS)
  • RFC 793 - TCP
  • RFC 768 - UDP
  • RFC 790 and 791 - released in 1981, Classfull networks - describe how IPv4 network addresses were initially allocated based on a classification system
  • RFC 1517 - Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) was introduced in 1993
  • RFC 1247 and RFC 2328 - OSPFv2- OSPF for IPv4 networks
  • RFC 2740 - OSPFv3- OSPF for IPv6 networks
  • RFC 3315 - DHCPv6
ISO Organization for Standardization
  • ISO 10589 - IS-IS routing protocol

... and will continue