The Dawn of The Internet

Dave Amiana
Recursion
Published in
4 min readMay 18, 2020

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The Internet is a worldwide collection of networks that links millions of businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and individuals.

In this article, we will talk about the process of sending and receiving information through the internet. And think about how the coming of ideas from network topology and information theory has allowed telecommunication.

History

The history of the Internet has its origin in the efforts of wide-area networking that originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France (Kim, 2005).

The Internet originated as ARPANET in September 1969 and had two main goals: (1) Allow scientists at different physical locations to share information and work together; and (2) Function even if part of the network were disabled or destroyed by a disaster.

Inspiration

“A network of such centers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines […] the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and symbiotic functions suggested earlier in this paper”, Licklider(1960).

Visualization of the Internet (source).

In 1948, Claude Shannon, the father of Information theory, has published his paper entitled A Mathematical Theory of Communication where he showed the essential unity of all forms of media (Aftab, Cheung, Kim, Thakkar & Yeddanapudi, 2001); he demonstrated how information could be contained (encoded) in bits. The implications of Shannon’s theory has allowed us to transfer all communication to bits (a unit of information).

Not only that the Information theory allows information compression, optimizing speed limits of accurate data transmission, and evaluating the impact of entropy (defined here in this context as unexpected data), but also it has supported the concept of computer networks, satellites, and optical communication systems among other things. In this article, we shall focus on the process of communication between the nodes of networks on the Internet.

First, it is important to define some interesting features about networks and how it transformed our means of communication today. The conception of the Internet lies upon the idea of network topological models: which had been used to describe the arrangement of various communication systems such as radio networks, telecommunication networks, and computer networks. Note that the Internet pertains to a global collection of networks while internet (with small “i”) pertains to a local connection of networks, typically within the company or a bounded region. Network topologies have revealed their interesting features not only in mathematics, but also for their applications in communication systems: it has allowed us to manipulate and analyze the links between nodes (which can be a medium of communication) to compute for data transmission efficiency, and time-complexity mapping (for concerns in developing arrays of algorithms).

While limited, a combination of networks (as shown in Figure 1), in this case, it can be constructed as an extension of a bus topology by means of using repeaters, bridges, and switch modalities that have inspired the creation of the Internet.

Figure 1: A large Bus Network from smaller ones. Source: Brookshear, J. G. (2008). Computer science: an overview. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

In the local setting, as within the bounds of Wide Area Networks (WANs), for example, the internet has been inspired to create channels of communication between different topological structures of networks. The conception of internet routers has been developed to provide a means for channeling information. Within such nodes, there exists an IP address — which are protocols to be followed whence sending and/or receiving information. Such this case has also inspired the development of a means to access worldwide information (using networks): The Internet. The Internet is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

In sending and/or receiving information an IP address is assigned to the data packets (which contains bits of information). Then these packets are configured by the Local Area Network (LAN), thereafter the router and router switch filter the channel and assigns which way the information [the user created] should go. After that, the Proxy opens the data packets while looking for the web address (URL); the Proxy would have also look for malicious requests by the user — if there exists an unwanted request, the Proxy would have eliminated such data packet. The Firewall, on the other hand, receives filtered data packets from the Proxy. The Firewall serves two purposes: it prevents malicious data packets to delve into the Internet, and it can also prevent sensitive corporate information form being set out on to the Internet. Once the packets pass through the firewall, a router picks up these packets and places it into a much narrower channel called Bandwidth. After being passed into these channels, thee packets are set to their destinations, there another Firewall shall be expected with the same purpose (to secure entries). After that, the packets then enter the webserver, therein (in a web application) user’s commands are processed.

Dawn of the Internet (2011)

Summary

In this article, we talked about some of the conceptual building blocks of internet that are further extended, globally, by The Internet. And highlight the process of communication through the Internet (under the hood).

References:

[1] Aftab, O., Cheung, P., Kim, A., Thakknar, S., & Yeddanapudi, N. (2001). Information theory and the digital revolution. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/6.933/www/Fall2001/Shannon2.pdf

[2] Brookshear, J. G. (2008). Computer science: an overview. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

[3] Yue, J. (2012, September 23). Warriors of the Net HD. Retrieved November 4, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7mtJ3ZV6xM.

[4] Kim, Byung-Keun (2005). Internationalising the Internet the Co-evolution of Influence and Technology. Edward Elgar. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978–1845426750.

[5] J. C. R. Licklider (March 1960). “Man-Computer Symbiosis”. IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics. HFE-1: 4–11. DOI:10.1109/thfe2.1960.4503259. Archived from the original on November 3, 2005.

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Dave Amiana
Recursion

Realizing possibilities; Currently working on Matrix library and Networking.