Hobbes' Internet Timeline v1.3

Robert Hobbes Zakon

1956   USSR launches Sputnik, first artifial earth satellite.  In response,
       US forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the
       Department of Defense (DoD) to establish US lead in science and
       technology applicable to the military (:amk:)

1962   Paul Baran, RAND: "On Distributed Communications Networks"
         - Packet-switching networks; no single outage point

1967    ACM Symposium on Operating Principles
        - Plan presented for a packet-switching network

1968    Network presentation to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)

1969    ARPANET commissioned by DOD for research into networking
        - First node at UCLA [Network Measurements Center - Xerox DSS 7:SEX]
          and soon after at: [legend = function - system:os]
          - Stanford Research Institute (SRI) [NIC - SDS940/Genie]
          - UCSB [Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics - IBM 360/75:OS/MVT]
          - U of Utah [Graphics (hidden line removal) - DEC PDP-10:Tenex]
        - use of Information Message Processors (IMP) [Honeywell 516 mini
          computer with 12K of memory] developed by Bolt Beranek and Newman,
          Inc. (BBN)

        First Request for Comment (RFC): "Host Software" by Steve Crocker

1970    ALOHAnet developed by Norman Abrahamson, U of Hawaii (:sk2:)

        ARPANET hosts start using Network Control Protocol (NCP).

1971    15 nodes (23 hosts): UCLA, SRI, UCSB, U of Utah, BBN, MIT, RAND, SDC,
        Harvard, Lincoln Lab, Stanford, UIU(C), CWRU, CMU, NASA/Ames

1972    International Conference on Computer Communications with
        demonstration of ARPANET between 40 machines organized by Bob Kahn.

        InterNetworking Working Group (INWG) created to address need
        for establishing agreed upon protocols.  Chairman: Vinton Cerf.

        Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents email program to send messages across a
        distributed network. (:amk:)

1973    First international connections to the ARPANET: England and Norway

        Bob Metcalfe's Harvard PhD Thesis outlines idea for Ethernet (:amk:)

1974    Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network
        Internetworking" which specified in detail the design of a
        Transmission Control Program (TCP). (:amk:)

        BBN opens Telenet, commercial version of ARPANET (:sk2:)

1975    Operational management of Internet transferred to DCA (now DISA)

        "Jargon File", by Raphael Finkel at SAIL, first released (:esr:)

1970s   Store and Forward Networks
        - Used electronic mail technology and extended it to conferencing

        HM Elizabeth, Queen of the United Kingdom sends out an e-mail
        (anyone know the exact year?)

1976    UUCP (Unix-to-Unix CoPy) developed at AT&T Bell Labs and distributed
        with UNIX one year later.

1977    THEORYNET created at U of Wisconsin providing electronic mail to
        over 100 researchers in computer science (using uucp).

1979    Meeting between U of Wisconsin, DARPA, NSF, and computer scientists
        from many universities to establish a Computer Science Department
        research computer network.

        USENET established using uucp between Duke and UNC by Tom Truscott
        and Steve Bellovin.

1981    BITNET, the "Because Its Time NETwork"
        - Started as a cooperative network at the City University of New York.
        - Provides electronic mail and listserv servers to distribute
        - Unlike USENET, where client s/w is needed, electronic mail is the
          only tool necessary.

        CSNET (Computer Science NETwork) built by UCAR and BBN through seed
        money granted by NSF to provide networking services (specially
        email) to university scientists with no access to ARPANET.  CSNET
        later becomes known as the Computer and Science Network. (:amk:)

        Minitel (Teletel) is deployed across France by French Telecom.

1982    INWG establishes the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet
        Protocol (IP), as the protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, for
        - This leads to one of the first definition of an "internet"
          as a connected set of networks, specifically those using TCP/IP,
          and "Internet" as connected TCP/IP internets.
        - DoD declares TCP/IP suite to be standard for DoD (:vgc:)

        EUnet (European UNIX Network) is created by EUUG to provide email and
        USENET services. (:glg:)

1983    Name server developed at U of Wisconsin, no longer requiring users
        to know the exact path to other systems.

        Cutover from NCP to TCP/IP (1 January)

        CSNET / ARPANET gateway put in place

        ARPANET split into ARPANET and MILNET; the latter became integrated
        with the Defense Data Network created the previous year.

        Desktop workstations come into being, many with Berkeley UNIX which
        includes IP networking software.

        Need switches from having a single, large time sharing computer
        connected to Internet per site, to connection of an entire local

        Berkeley releases 4.2BSD incorporating TCP/IP (:mpc:)

        EARN (European Academic and Research Network) established.  Very
        similar to the way BITNET works.

        FidoNet developed by Tom Jennings.

1984    Domain Name Server (DNS) introduced.

        # of hosts breaks 1,000

        JUNET (Japan Unix Network) established using UUCP.

        JANET (Joint Academic Network) established in the UK using the
        Coloured Book protocols.

1986    NSFNET created (backbone speed of 56Kbps)
        - NSF establishes 5 super-computing centers to provide high-computing
          power for all (JVNC@Princeton, PSC@Pittsburgh, SDSC@UCSD, NCSA@UIUC,
          Theory Center@Cornell).
        - ARPANET bureaucracy keeps it from being used to interconnect
          centers and NSFNET comes into being with the aid of NASA and DOE.
        - This allows an explosion of connections, especially from

        Cleveland Freenet (start of NPTN) comes on-line (:sk2:)

        Network News Transfer Protocl (NNTP) designed to enhance Usenet news
        performance over TCP/IP.

        Mail Exchanger (MX) records developed by Craig Partridge allowing
        non-IP network hosts to have domain addresses.

1987    NSF signs a cooperative agreement to manage the NSFNET backbone with
        Merit Network, Inc. (IBM and MCI involvement was through an agreement
        with Merit).  Merit, IBM, and MCI later founded ANS.

        UUNET is founded with Usenix funds to provide commercial UUCP and
        Usenet access.

        1000th RFC: "Request For Comments reference guide"

        # of hosts breaks 10,000

        # of BITNET hosts breaks 1,000

1988    Internet worm burrows through the Net

1989    # of hosts breaks 100,000

        NSFNET backbone upgraded to T1 (1.544Mbps)

        RIPE (Reseaux IP Europeens) formed (by European service providers) to
        ensure the necessary administrative and technical coordination to
        allow the operation of the pan-European IP Network. (:glg:)

        First relay between a commercial electronic mail carrier (Compurserve)
        and the Internet through Ohio State University (:jg1:)

1990    ARPANET ceases to exist

        Second relay between a commercial electronic mail carrier (MCI Mail)
        and the Internet through the Corporation for the National Research
        Initiative (CNRI)

        Electronic Frontier Foundation is founded by Mitch Kapor

1991    Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX) Association, Inc. formed by General
        Atomics (CERFnet), Performance Systems International, Inc. (PSInet),
        and UUNET Technologies, Inc. (AlterNet) (:glg:)

        WAIS released by Thinking Machines Corporation

        Gopher released by University of Minnesota

        US High Performance Computing Act (Gore 1) establishes the National
        Research and Education Network (NREN)

1992    Internet Society is chartered

        World-Wide Web released by CERN

        # of hosts breaks 1,000,000

        NSFNET backbone upgraded to T3 (44.736Mbps)

        First MBONE audio multicast (March) and video multicast (November)

1993    InterNIC created by NSF to provide specific Internet services: (:sc1:)
          - directory and database services (AT&T)
          - registration services (Network Solutions Inc.)
          - information services (General Atomics/CERFnet)

        US White House comes on-line:
          - President Bill Clinton: president@whitehouse.gov
          - Vice-President Al Gore: vice-president@whitehouse.gov
          - First Lady Hillary Clinton: root@whitehouse.gov (-:rhz:-)

        Internet Talk Radio begins broadcasting (:sk2:)

        United Nations and World Bank come on-line (:vgc:)

        US National Information Infrastructure Act

        Businesses and media really take notice of the Internet

        Mosaic takes the Internet by storm; WWW proliferates at a 341,634%
        annual growth rate of service traffic.  Gopher's growth is 997%.

1994    Communities begin to be wired up directly to the Internet

        US Senate and House provide information servers

        First flower shop taking orders via the Internet

        Shopping malls arrive on the Internet

        Mass marketing finds its way to the Internet with mass e-mailings

        Worms of a new kind find their way around the Net - WWW Worms (W4),
        joined by Spiders, Wanderers, Crawlers, and Snakes ...

        "A Day in the Life of the Internet" begs to be published (:rhz:)

Internet growth summary:

   Date       Hosts      |    Date       Hosts     Networks    Domains
   -----    ---------    +    -----    ---------   --------    -------
    1969            4    |    07/89      130,000        650      3,900
   04/71           23    |    10/89      159,000        837
   06/74           62    |    10/90      313,000      2,063      9,300
   03/77          111    |    01/91      376,000      2,338
   08/81          213    |    07/91      535,000      3,086     16,000
   05/82          235    |    10/91      617,000      3,556     18,000
   08/83          562    |    01/92      727,000      4,526
   10/84        1,024    |    04/92      890,000      5,291     20,000
   10/85        1,961    |    07/92      992,000      6,569     16,300
   02/86        2,308    |    10/92    1,136,000      7,505     18,100
   11/86        5,089    |    01/93    1,313,000      8,258     21,000
   12/87       28,174    |    04/93    1,486,000      9,722     22,000
   07/88       33,000    |    07/93    1,776,000     13,767     26,000
   10/88       56,000    |    10/93    2,056,000     16,533     28,000
   01/89       80,000    |    01/94    2,217,000     20,539     30,000

           ____# Countries____                     ____# Countries____
   Date     I   B   U   F   O              Date     I   B   U   F   O
   -----   --- --- --- --- ---             -----   --- --- --- --- ---
   09/91    31  47  79  49                 01/93    50  50 101  72  31
   12/91    33  46  78  53                 04/93    56  51 107  79  31
   02/92    38  46  92  63                 08/93    59  51 117  84  31
   04/92    40  47  90  66  25             02/94    62  51 125  88  31
   08/92    49  46  89  67  26

            (I)nternet  (B)ITNET   (U)UCP  (F)IDONET  (O)SI

USENET growth summary:

   Date  Sites  ~MB  ~Posts  Groups  |  Date  Sites  ~MB  ~Posts  Groups
   ----  -----  ---  ------  ------  +  ----  -----  ---  ------  ------
   1979      3            2       3  |  1984    900          225
   1980     15           10          |  1985   1300  1.0     375
   1981    150  0.5      20          |  1986   2200  2.0     946     241
   1982    400           35          |  1987   5200  2.1     957     259
   1983    600          120          |  1988   7800  4.4    1933     381

      ~ approximate: MB - megabytes per day, Posts - articles per day
              HELP: Where is this data archived from 1989- ?


Comments/corrections should be sent to hobbes@hobbes.mitre.org.

Hobbes' Internet Timeline Copyright (c)1993-4 by Robert H Zakon.
Permission is granted for use of this document in whole or in part for non
commercial purposes as long as appropriate credit is given to the author/
maintainer.  For commercial uses, please contact the author first.

Hobbes' Internet Timeline FAQ:

Q: Why did you compile Hobbes' Internet Timeline?
A: For use in the Internet courses I teach: Introduction to the Internet,
   Internet Tools Administration, and Net Surfing 101.

Q: How do I get Hobbes' Internet Timeline?
A: For now, you can send an e-mail to timeline@hobbes.mitre.org.  You will
   receive an automated reply with the Timeline.  For comments/corrections
   please use hobbes@hobbes.mitre.org.  If you'd like to host an HTML
   version on your server for Net wide access, drop me an e-mail.

Q: What do you do at MITRE?
A: I design the soccer shoe of the future :-)  Nah, actually, I wear the
   following hats: Internet Evangelist, HCI Engineer, Systems Integrator,
   System Administrator, Instructor, He with the Most Toys

Q: Is your license plate really NET SURF?
A: Yes, and there is a frame around it with INTERNET at the top, and my
   e-mail address at the bottom. (My wife is too embarrassed to drive it:)

Q: Who do you think is going to win the World Cup?
A: Brasil, of course!  (I was born in Rio de Janeiro ...)

A: Peddie (Ala Viva!), CWRU (North Side), Amici Usque Ad Aras (OH Epsilon)
Q: E-mail me if you know

Hobbes' Internet Timeline was compiled from a number of sources, with some
of the stand-outs being:

Cerf, Vinton (as told to Bernard Aboba). "How the Internet Came to Be."
This article appears in "The Online User's Encyclopedia," by Bernard Aboba.
Addison-Wesley, 1993.

Hardy, Henry. "The History of the Net."  Master's Thesis, School of
Communications, Grand Valley State University.

Hauben, Ronda and Michael. "The Netizens and the Wonderful World of the Net."

Kulikowski, Stan II. "A Timeline of Network History." (author's email below)

Quarterman, John. "The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems
Worldwide."  Bedford, MA: Digital Press. 1990

Internet growth summary compiled from:
  - zone program reports maintained by Mark Lottor at:
  - connectivity table maintained by Larry Landweber at:

USENET growth summary compiled from Quarterman and Hauben sources above

Contributors to Hobbes' Internet Timeline have their initials next to the
contributed items in the form (:zzz:) and are:

amk - Alex McKenzie (mckenzie@bbn.com)
esr - Eric S. Raymond (esr@locke.ccil.org)
glg - Gail L. Grant (grant@pa.dec.com)
jg1 - Jim Gaynor (gaynor@agvax.ag.ohio.state.edu)
mpc - Mellisa P. Chase (pc@mitre.org)
sc1 - Susan Calcari (susanc@is.internic.net)
sk2 - Stan Kulikowski (stankuli@uwf.bitnet) - see sources section
vgc - Vinton Cerf (vcerf@isoc.org) - see sources section

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) ;-)   Help the Author   (-: (-: (-: (-: (-: (-: (-:

The author is on an eternal genealogical search.  If you know of someone
whose last name is Zakon or could spare 1 minute to check your local phone
book, please e-mail any info (i.e., name, phone, address, city) to
rhz@po.cwru.edu; your help is greatly appreciated.

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