Internet History



Starting out as a small military experiment some 35 years ago, the Internet is quickly



becoming one of the most popular forms of communication. With a present population of about



40 million users world wide, it seems to have a very promising future. Uncensored and almost



impossible to monitor, it's a breeding ground for all sorts of offensive and derogatory information.



On the other hand, it is probably the biggest single source of data in the world brought home into



your personal computer. Will this form of communication survive in the future, or will it simply



die out like many others have in the past?





History



The first nodes of the Internet were built 36 years ago by the RAND corporation. They



faced the problem of keeping communication between U.S. authorities active in the aftermath of a



nuclear war. The country needed a command-and-control network. The biggest problem was



protecting the main server, which could be knocked out by a single atomic warhead. RAND came



up with the solution in 1964. The new network would have no central authority, and secondly, it



would be designed to operate in shambles.



" During the 60s, this intriguing concept of a decentralized, blastproof, packet-switching network was

kicked around by RAND, MIT and UCLA. The National Physical Laboratory in Great Britain set up the

first test network on these principles in 1968. Shortly afterward, the Pentagon's Advanced Research

Projects Agency decided to fund a larger, more ambitious project in the USA. The nodes of the network

were to be high-speed supercomputers (or what passed for supercomputers at the time). These were rare

and valuable machines which were in real need of good solid networking, for the sake of national research-

and-development projects." (Sterling 1-2)



The first was put in place during the fall of 1969. By December of the same year four nodes were



installed. They were connected by dedicated high-speed transmission lines. This allowed the



computers to communicate and be programmed from one of the other computers. In the year of



1971 there were 15 nodes, and by 72 there were 37. This number kept increasing rapidly as the

years passed. The network was also becoming more of a person to person way of communicating.



Many military personnel began using it as a way to gossip with friends instead of a way to



transmit documents and projects. This became even more evident in the following years.





How it works



The Internet may seem a very complex form of communication but that is not really the



case. First, you must have a reasonably fast computer (80386 or higher) with a modem and a



phone line. The next step is to contact your local Internet provider and get him to give you a



password and an SLIP address. At this time you will also be given the software to get you started.



All of this costs about 140 dollars, depending on how many hours you wish to purchase. "We



charge using an hourly rate because it gives our users more flexibility with their time. When run



on a monthly payment, you are limited to an hour a day, whereas with our system you can use any



amount of time whenever you want" (Schulmeister).



The costs are as follows:



10 hrs - $30.00

20 hrs - $50.00

40 hrs - $80.00

60 hrs - $90.00



Once you have your software installed and want to start "surfing the net," you must first login to the



server (located at the Northwest Community College) by dialling in its phone number using a



specific program. The two local numbers are 638-1543 and 638-1593. Even with the two



numbers, the server is often busy because of the constantly increasing number of users in our area.



These numbers can be used by a number of people at a time, not just two. Once connected to the



college server, you travel down to a larger server in Vancouver, and from there you can access



any other computer connected as long as your server has permission to do so.



Diagram: How the Internet works























Impact on Society



The Internet is just starting to have a large impact on society. It seemed to come out of



nowhere, popping up in magazines and on the news. The Internet is now becoming an influential



communications medium to over 40 million people worldwide. Many of these people are



becoming aware