How Old is the Internet? Revolutionary Creation Turns 50

The Internet connects the world. But how old is the internet?

The Internet. This is something that has become one of our daily essentials. From waking up to going back to sleep, the Internet always plays a significant role. However, you might wonder what exactly the Internet is? How old is the Internet? Ah… don’t worry; you are just in the right place. This article will answer all your queries.

What is the Internet?

Now before jumping right to the question of how old is the Internet, let us know about the Internet in detail. What is it? What are its features?

To begin with, the Internet is a network of devices such as computers, mobiles, laptops, and so on, connected to each other. This network consists of the connection of the devices from across the globe. 

Now, the question is, how are the devices connected? It’s very simple. Let us consider an example.

Suppose you want to connect two computers or devices. Now there are several ways to do so. You can either use cables or wireless methods such as Wi-Fi. Simple, isn’t it? 

Now let us focus on the bigger picture. What if, let’s say, you want to connect ten computers. Aye… that’s a bit complex because that’ll require several cables, plugs and so on. But wait, there’s a simple method too.

We can use, routers (I’ll define what a router is below). So to connect say ten computers to a network, so that they can interact with each other, we connect all the computers to a router. In simple terms, the router transfers data (packets) to the devices connected to each other.

What is a Router?  

*This is the simplest and to the point definition of a router. This will give you an idea. If you want to know in-depth, click here.

A router, in simple terms, is a small computer that sends data and traffic to a computer connected to it. It exchanges the data from the source node to the receiver node and vice-versa. 

Now coming back to the topic, this is how you can connect computers and form a network. 

Similarly, computers and devices are connected globally to each other following these methods. This forms a network. This network is what we call the Internet.

The Internet and World Wide Web ARE NOT the same things.

People often get confused. They often use the Internet and the World Wide Web interchangeably. However, they are not same. We’ll see why.

What is the World Wide Web (WWW)?

In simple terms, the World Wide Web or the WWW or the W3 or the Web is a part of the Internet. The Internet serves as the backbone of the Web. 

Basically, the World Wide Web is a collection of websites and web pages. The web pages and websites contain a variety of things such as articles, information, video, photos, and so on. 

These websites and web pages are stored in servers. Take the example of this article. This is a web page. It is located in the Lots to Read website. The website is stored (we call that hosting in technical terms) on a server. 

Now the World Wide Web can be accessed by browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, and so on). 

Now, let’s sum up what the World Wide Web is:

  • Firstly, the World Wide Web is a collection of websites and web pages that contain articles, media, and so on. 
  • Secondly, it is based on the Internet. The web pages in the World Wide Web are connected by the Internet.
  • Lastly, the World Wide Web is a way of accessing the websites and web pages. It uses the Internet to communicate and connect between the users and their requested web pages.

Did you want to know How old is the internet? Of course, you did. Just Kidding. We’ll come to that in a bit. But first, understand the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Difference between Internet and World Wide Web

In simple terms, the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web is:

  • The Internet is the backbone, the base. The World Wide Web is based on the Internet.
  • The Internet is a global network of devices connected to each other. The World Wide Web is a collection of websites and web pages that use the Internet to communicate and connect.
  • The Internet consists of the World Wide Web, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), e-mail and so on.

Hopefully, your confusion is cleared. Now let’s move on to your question, how old is the Internet?

How old is the Internet? 

The Internet is 50 years old. On October 29, in the year 1969, at 10:30 pm the ARPANET was born.

However, the modern-day Internet is 37 years old. On January 1, 1983, the Internet, as we know today, was born.

The ARPANET was one of the predecessors of the modern-day Internet.

It can be hoped that now you know How old is the Internet. Let’s know a bit more about it.

When was the Internet invented?

The modern-day Internet was invented on January 1, 1983. However, the ARPANET was created on October 29,1969. 

You must be wondering what precisely the ARPANET is. Right? Yeah. I got you. Don’t worry. Just read more.

What is ARPANET?

It can be said that the ARPANET is the forefather of the modern-day Internet. It stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. 

In simple terms, the ARPANET was a WAN (Wide Area Network). It was developed primarily for scientific purposes. It aimed to connect the university computers so that experimental data and resources could be shared and communicated by the connected universities. 

It began by connecting four nodes (universities). It connected computers at the Stanford Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, and The University of Utah.

October 29, 1969, at 10:30 pm. The ARPANET was born with the transfer of one simple message. The message was sent from UCLA to Stanford Research Institute (SRI). 

ARPANET Map

Charles Kline, a student programmer, sent the letters ‘l’ and ‘o’ of the word ‘login’ to SRI which was some 350 miles away from UCLA.

Although the system crashed immediately, yet it was the beginning of a legacy. 

Birth of the modern-day Internet

On January 1, 1983, the ARPANET widened the network. It shifted to the TCP/IP protocol. This marked the birth of the modern-day Internet.

What is TCP/IP?

Getting boring, eh? I promise I’ll keep things as simple as I can. Now let me describe to you what TCP/IP is in the simplest possible way.

To begin with, every activity or job forms a set of rules or protocols. Right? So in plain terms, TCP/IP are a set of protocols through which data is sent over the Internet.

TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol. What this does is it sets certain protocols (rules) for the exchange of data and messages between the computers connected in a network.

Clear? Next, in this protocol, the data is taken and divided into packets (or parts in plain terms). Then, the packets are numbered and assembled in order.

After that, it initiates a connection with the recipient and maintains it until packet transfer is complete. Once the connection is initiated, the packets are sent. In case, one or more packets fail to be sent; and it resends them again.

So this was a simple description of TCP.

Next, let us learn what IP is.

What is IP?

Now, IP stands for Internet Protocol. Yes, that’s right. This is another protocol. However, unlike TCP, which takes care of the packet transfer part, IP takes care of the address part.

Confused? Don’t worry. Just read on.

Remember that TCP divides data into packets? Now they need to be given a number and an address right? Or how else would they be sent over the vast Internet to a specific recipient?

That’s what IP is for. IP information is attached to every packet. Every domain or device has a unique IP. When the packets are sent, they are directed to the specified IP. In this way, data is sent to the specific receiver, when necessary.

Now, let us answer a few basic questions.

Out of the 7 Billion people on the Earth, 5.4 Billion are already online

Internet Live Stats

How old is the Internet 2020?

The ARPANET is 50 years old. It was invented in 1969.

The modern-day Internet (that follows the TCP/IP protocol) is 37 years old. The ARPANET shifted to the TCP/IP protocol on January 1, 1983.

How old is the Internet in days?

As on March 24, 2020, the modern-day Internet is 13,598 days old or 446 months, 24 days old.

Conclusion

In today’s world, the Internet has become one of the most essential items in today’s world. The whole world revolves around this communication. The Internet backs healthcare, Finance, Security, Administration, Education, anything that one might think of.

In tough times such as today, especially when pandemics such as the COVID-19 is ravaging the face of the earth, killing millions, the internet connection is very vital in saving lives and keeping the world updated. 

Just as this service can be a life-saver, it can be a killing machine too. History has enough proof. However, if used responsibly, the Internet can make man the master of the universe.

Image courtesy: Pixabay

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