I am reading, IPv6 Fundamentals, Straightforward Approach to Understanding IPv6 by Rick Graziani
In it, I came across this simplified version of the Hobbes' Internet Timeline - the definitive ARPAnet & Internet history .
It was a good read, so I though of sharing it with you.
• 1957: The USSR launches Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite. In response, the United
States forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the Department of Defense
(DoD) to establish a U.S. lead in science and technology.
• 1962: Paul Baran publishes the paper “On Distributed Communications Networks,” a
predecessor to the concept of packet-switching networks.
• 1969: ARPANET is commissioned by the DoD for research into networking. The first node (a
mainframe computer) is at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Network
Measurements Center. The next three nodes consisted of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), the
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah. The first router is an
Information Message Processor (IMP), a Honeywell 516 mini-computer with 12K of memory
developed by Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN).
• 1969: The first Request for Comments (RFC) is written: “Host Software,” by Steve Crocker.
• 1971: Fifteen nodes (23 hosts) are on the ARPANET: UCLA, SRI, UCSB, University of Utah,
BBN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), RAND Corporation, System Development
Corporation (SDC), Harvard University, MIT’s Lincoln Lab, Stanford University, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie-Mellon University,
and NASA/Ames Research Center.
• 1971: Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents an email program to send messages across a distributed
• 1973: Bob Metcalfe’s Harvard Ph.D. thesis outlines the idea for Ethernet.
• 1973: The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) specification is written (RFC 454).
• 1974: Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish the paper “A Protocol for Packet Network
Intercommunication,” which specified in detail the design for Transmission Control Protocol
• 1982: ARPA establishes TCP/IP as the protocol suite for the ARPANET. This leads to one of the
first definitions of an “Internet” as a connected set of networks that use TCP/IP.
• 1982: The External Gateway Protocol (RFC 827) specification is written. EGP is used as the
routing protocol between networks and is later replaced by Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) in
1994 (RFC 1656).
• 1983: The Internet transitions from Network Control Protocol (NCP) to TCP/IP on January 1.
• 1984: The Domain Name System (DNS) is introduced with RFC 920.
• 1984: The number of hosts on the Internet breaks 1000.
• 1986: The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) initiates operations with a
backbone speed of 56 kbps.
• 1987: The number of hosts on the Internet breaks 10,000.
• 1988: The NSFNET backbone is upgraded to T1 (1.544 Mbps).
• 1988: Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is developed by Jarkko Oikarinen.
• 1989: The number of hosts on the Internet breaks 100,000.
• 1989: Cuckoo’s Egg, written by Clifford Stoll, tells the real-life tale of a German cracker group
that infiltrated numerous U.S. facilities.
• 1990: The first remotely operated machine to be hooked up to the Internet, the Internet Toaster,
makes its debut at Interop (IT Expo and Conference).
• 1991: The World Wide Web (WWW) is released by CERN; it was developed by Tim BernersLee.
• 1991: The NSFNET backbone is upgraded to T3 (44.736 Mbps).
• 1992: The number of hosts on the Internet breaks 1,000,000.
• 1992: The term “surfing the Internet” is coined by Jean Armour Polly.
• 1993: The U.S. White House comes online with www.whitehouse.gov. President Bill Clinton:
email@example.com and Vice President Al Gore: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 1994: Shopping on the Internet begins.
• 1994: Pizza from Pizza Hut can be ordered using the World Wide Web.
• 1995: WWW surpasses FTP as the service with the greatest amount of traffic on the Internet.
• 1995: Online dialup providers Compuserve, America Online, and Prodigy begin to provide
• 1995: The Vatican comes online.
• 1996: Internet phones catch the attention of U.S. telecommunication companies, which request
the U.S. Congress to ban the technology.
• 1996: The controversial U.S. Communications Decency Act (CDA) becomes law in the United
States to prohibit distribution of indecent materials over the Internet. A few months later, a
three-judge panel imposes an injunction against its enforcement. The U.S. Supreme Court
unanimously rules most of it unconstitutional in 1997.
• 1996: MCI upgrades its Internet backbone, bringing the effective speed from 155 Mbps to 622
• 1996: The WWW browser war, fought primarily between Netscape and Microsoft, rushes in a
new age in software development, whereby new releases are made quarterly with the help of
Internet users eager to test upcoming (beta) versions.
• 1996: Restrictions are put in place for Internet use around the world (Source: Human Rights
• China requires users and Internet service providers (ISP) to register with the police.
• Germany cuts off access to some newsgroups carried on Compuserve.
• Saudi Arabia confines Internet access to universities and hospitals.
• Singapore requires political and religious content providers to register with the state.
• New Zealand classifies computer disks as “publications” that can be censored and seized.
• 1997: 101,803 Name Servers are in the “whois” database.
• 1997: The number of hosts on the Internet breaks 19,000,000.
The Internet is a dynamic environment. IPv4, and its 4.3 billion possible addresses, was introduced in
1983 when there were less than 600 hosts on the Internet. Although many of the same concepts of
packet switching apply today, the number of users on the Internet and how it is used are vastly
To learn more about the creation of the Internet and those who were responsible for its
development, I highly recommend the national best-selling book Where Wizards Stay
Late: The Origins of the Internet, by Katie Lyons.