Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Internet! (belated)

Supercomputing Online pointed out that yesterday, June 30th was the birthday of the mordern Internet. In the early 1980s, NSF put together NSFNet as a network connecting regional computer networks around the country. The Department of Defense had already created the Arpanet network, which gave birth to many of the tools and techniques used on the modern Internet, but Arpanet traffic was limited to Defense-sponsored research. NSFNet was designed to be open to all users.

The design of NSFNet was awarded to a team made of MCI, IBM, and a computer-networking-technology consortium of Michigan universities called Merit Networks. Their main challenge: the network’s backbone ran at 56k/s, good old dial up modems. Take a moment and remember the sound. communication

Twenty years ago, on the evening of June 30th, a network engineer named Hans-Werner Braun sent that text in an an e-mail message to users of the National Science Foundation’s fledgling NSFNet project. The network’s main lines, or backbone, had been upgraded, he said.

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