The technology revolution is upon us. In the past there have been many triumphs in the world of technology. To this date, people are able to communicate over thousands of miles with the greatest of ease. The Internet connects nearly 400 million users worldwide and is an essential part of how we work, play, communicate, and conduct commerce. We use the Internet in ways that seemed unimaginable
The term “Internet” refers to the global information system that
- is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons.
- is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and
- provides, uses or makes accessible layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.”, either publicly or privately, high level services.
Computers speak to one another and send information back and forth, which is accomplished, by sending and receiving electronic impulses and decoding them into messages. In order to communicate with one another the computers are linked up in a network. They are then able to access information from thousands of other computers. The network acts like one large computer storing information in various places, rather than one physical place. Users of the Internet access this big network to get information or provide information. Internet technology allows users to surf the World Wide Web or send e-mail (Comer 5).
The history of the Internet began with the United States government. The original use of the Internet was to maintain communication during the cold war, with the Soviet Union in 1969, by the Department of Defense, incase of a nuclear attack or a major catastrophe. The vision of the Internet that would revolutionize the computer and communications belonged to JCR Licklider of MIT (Comer 22).
In August of 1962 he envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers that would allow everyone to quickly access data and programs (Comer 25). A government-sponsored project at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started in October 1962 (Comer 32). The discovery of such technology became a race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Both countries wanted control of the possibly powerful tool (Comer 36).
In 1965, Thomas Merrill and Lawrence G. Roberts created the first wide-area computer. This experiment proved that computers could work together running programs and retrieving data as necessary on remote machines. In 1966 Roberts put together his plan for ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency). In 1968, the National Physical Laboratory in Great Britain set up the first test network, this encouraged the Pentagon’s ARPA to fund a larger project in the United States (Comer 38).
In August 1968, a refined model of ARPAnet was released for the development of one of the key components, the packet switches IMP (Interface Message Processors). ARPA awarded the ARPAnet contract to Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN). BBN had selected a Honeywell minicomputer as the base on which they would build the switch. The physical network was constructed by the end of 1969 during the Vietnam War, linking four nodes: University of California Santa Barbara, Stanford Research Institute, the University of Utah and the University of California Los Angeles.
In 1972, the first e-mail program was created by Ray Tomlinson of BBN. ARPAnet was currently using the Network Control Protocol (NCP) to transfer data. This allowed communications between hosts running in the same network. As the Internet grew quickly, changes were necessary. The Internet’s decentralized structure made it easy to expand but its NCP did not have the ability to address networks further downstream than the destination IMP.
A new protocol was introduced, Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) which was a newer version of the NCP was developed by a group headed by Vinton Cerf from Stanford and Bob Kahn from DARPA. This new protocol was to allow diverse computer networks to interconnect and communicate with each other. Compared to the NCP, which acted as a device driver, the new protocol was more like a communication protocol. In order to make it easier to use, the Host computers were assigned names, replacing numbers (Comer 41). The ARPAnet became obsolete in 1982, but the source of the program is still used at the present time. The Web began in 1989; it wasn’t released to the world till the early 90’s, that’s when it became the World Wide Web.
Original uses of the Internet included government communications and an opportunity for scientists to share ideas and help one another in research. In the 1980’s the Internet grew beyond its primary purpose of research of information to include a wide-ranging user community and increased commercial activity. To this day, it has become a tool for conducting research and finding information, as well as communications with others.
The United States runs most of the access to the Internet with 62% of all the routers, the next closest is the United Kingdom with 5.2%. 70% of the writing on the Internet is in English, next is Japanese. Statistics say that 1 in 3 people use the Internet for e-mail, 1 in 6 use it because they want to find out how it works, 1 in 8 want business information and 1 in 2 go to the Internet for education, hobbies, job listings, and entertainment.
In 1993 less than 1% of users paid for the use of the Internet. By 1995, it rose over 200% due to the profits companies made from providing the service. Because of the demand for the Internet around the World, and the amount of capital a business could make that provides this service, is surprising. An example of this is Cisco Systems, a once Silicon Valley based business, which is now an Internet Technology provider, brought in $10 billion in 1986, this is 14 years before what the Internet is today. In 1999 they became the third company in history to exceed $300 billion in market capitalization, second is Microsoft, and first is General Electric (Bunnell 29).
The entrepreneurs, small business owners, and large corporations are changing the Internet. Some of the information that use to be free is now being held for a price to subscribe to a companies web site. This is mainly because of the money involved in the E-commerce businesses and the amount of information everyday in the use of the Internet. Internet businesses have gone from poor to rich overnight.
The three main reasons why people use the Internet, communication, education and business. Communication allows for lower long distance charges than the telephone, technology being developed to make long distance phone calls for free. E-mail is less expensive than postage stamps and paper, it is less time consuming, its available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and it had unlimited boundaries, meaning e-mail can be sent anywhere in the world (Reid 28).
Education is becoming popular with the Internet. More than 51% of instructional rooms had Internet access in 1998, classes and seminars can be taken over the Internet. Nearly all schools in the US are connected to the Internet and hookups in the classrooms have increased 20% since 1994. The Internet provides a convenience for people to learn at home. Internet based training has become a common business tool used to gain advancements in current jobs. Tutoring over the Internet is also available (Reid 42).
Business on the Internet is a growing technology. There are approximately 80 million out of 150 million that are on the Internet for business opportunities, business on the Internet has no geographic boundaries, it has access to more consumers. Approximately 150 businesses join the Internet every day, there is less labor force needed and it is open 24 hours a day. The Internet is also a bigger and cheaper way to advertise.
In the past 20 years, the Internet has changed a number of areas in society, especially the business world. In the last 40 years, the Internet has gone from a method of defense communication for the government, to a business venture for an entrepreneur or a fortune 500-company. The Internet is a way for gaining consumers, products and capital for a business (Reid 35).
The Internet being free and uncensored presents many problems. Children using the Internet have caused a fight for regulation. Parents cannot always monitor their children; therefore the Internet needs to be a safe place for children. Children have access to the Internet in schools, libraries, and just about anywhere. In schools it nearly as impossible for a teacher to watch all the children, and in libraries it is not the librarian’s job to monitor them. Access to pornography has been one of the greatest concerns among parents. Children are naturally curious and love to explore. Just like on television advertisers try to lure children in with pictures and web sites, which include games and chat rooms.
The biggest danger is not what they find on the Internet but who they find. The information they access is not as dangerous as the people they meet. There have been many cases of molesters and kidnappers searching for pray on-line. Nicknames are used to protect the identity of the children but can also be used to disguise adults. The molesters enter children’s chat rooms and coax the children to trust them. Molesters and kidnappers are not the only people with access to the Internet we should fear. Those mischievous thinkers also pose a threat. These thinkers are known as hackers or crackers, they search for vulnerable computer systems then strike. Businesses can lose trade secrets, and the damages can be a disaster (Methvin 229).
Government computers are just as vulnerable. The United States’ enemies could have access to military codes and top-secret files. Hackers do not target the average person, but they are in danger of fraud and con artists. Stolen credit card numbers have been believed to be a major problem. The criminals get the number of a credit card and charge ridiculously high bills, but by the time the bill arrives they have already moved on to the next victim. Many schemes come in the form of junk mail. They offer deals that sound too good to be true and chances are they are bogus. They only ask for a small fee up front, next they cash the check and move on (Methvin 273).
Secure passwords can prevent hackers from accessing computers. Passwords should consist of numbers, letters and symbols. No matter how secure and high tech the computer security system is, all it takes is a simple, password like “hello” to render the whole system worthless (Methvin 276).
Though the Internet has its advantages it also has its disadvantages. New users are springing up everyday, making it impossible to predict future of the Internet. One thing certain is that the Internet has revolutionized the computer and communication technology. The Internet is a worldwide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for association and interaction between individuals without regard to geographic location (Comer 81).
- Bunnell, David. Making the Cisco Connection, The Story Behind the Real Internet Super Power Feb. 2000
- Comer, Douglas. The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know About Computer Networking and How the Internet Works Jan. 1997
- Methvin, David W. Safety on the Net PC World Online Feb. 1997
- Reid, Robert. Architects of the Web: 1000 Days that Built the Future of Business July 1997