What Arpanet was like, the precursor of the Internet

internet history

Arpanet, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was the precursor to the Internet as we know it today. In this article you will learn how it emerged and how it evolved.

What was Arpanet: Origin and evolution

Arpanet was a research project that was born in the 60s and was born under the umbrella of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense. Its genesis was due to a prevailing need: to establish an efficient and decentralized form of communication between academic institutions and researchers funded by the country’s Government.

In the context of the Cold War, concern about the possibility of a nuclear attack led to the desire to create a communication network that could survive a possible attack and guarantee the continuity of communication between strategic and military institutions. This was a key factor in the conception of Arpanet, and the resulting network was designed to be decentralized, so that no central node was vulnerable to attack.

Arpanet was successfully realized in 1969, when the first communication link was established between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Stanford Research Institute. This marked the birth of what is considered the first packet-switched network, a way of transmitting data divided into small packets that are reassembled at the destination, resulting in efficient and resilient communication.

Map United States Arpanet

The initial purpose of Arpanet

The original purpose of Arpanet was not to create the vast global network that today’s Internet has become, but rather to establish a reliable means of communication between academic and research institutions. The idea was to provide a communication channel that would allow scientists to share information more effectively, thereby accelerating the progress of research and collaboration in an academic and military environment.

Arpanet was developed as a means of sharing computing resources, such as supercomputers and databases, over the Internet. It was initially designed to support file transfer and communication between users in different geographic locations. This technology, along with the concept of email, marked the beginning of the online communication revolution.

The evolution of Arpanet

As Arpanet consolidated, the number of institutions and nodes connected to the network began to grow. In 1972, Ray Tomlinson, an engineer at BBN Technologies, introduced the use of the “@” symbol to separate the username from the username. host (host) in email addresses. This revolutionary change made electronic communication easier and paved the way for email.

The concept of “protocols” to regulate communication and data transmission on the Internet was another important milestone. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) was developed in the 1970s, along with the Internet Protocol (IP), laying the foundation for what is known as the TCP/IP protocol suite. These protocols became the backbone of the Internet and allowed networks to communicate effectively.

In 1983, the transition from Arpanet to TCP/IP was completed, leading to the split into two separate networks: MILNET, which focused on military purposes, and ARPANET, a separate network for non-military (scientific and academic) purposes. This change was essential to allow the growth and expansion of the Internet.

The birth of “.com” domains

The next big development was the introduction of the “.com” top-level domain in 1985. This paved the way for Internet marketing and ushered in the explosion of online businesses and the Internet economy. As more and more people joined the Network, the potential for global communication and information sharing became evident.

In 1990, Arpanet officially ceased to exist and the modern Internet began to emerge. Throughout the 1990s, the web expanded exponentially with the creation of web browsers, such as Mosaic and, later, Netscape or Internet Explorer, which allowed for easier and more accessible browsing. The World Wide Web, with its system of hypertext and links, made information available to an increasingly wide audience.

The United States government transferred management of the Internet infrastructure to the private sector in 1995, thus enabling the development and expansion of the global Web. The web became a means of communication and a platform for innovation, and technology companies began to emerge, revolutionizing entire industries and producing an unprecedented impact on society.

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