How the Internet Was Invented | The History of the Internet, Part 1

When you clicked on this video, your computer
sent a message to a computer at YouTube that might be states or countries or continents
away. It didn’t know how to get the message there,
but it sent it anyway. The message probably arrived after about half
a second and told YouTube’s computers to search for a file — a set of ones and zeros
practically indistinguishable from the billions all around it — and to send that file back
to you. YouTube’s computers then sent the file back
to your computer piece by piece, where those ones and zeros were interpreted as the start
of a video. And the ones and zeros are still streaming
in, even while you’re watching me talk. It’s pretty amazing, when you think about
it. And if you’re curious how we ended up in
a world where billions of computers are all interconnected through this strange structure
that we call the Internet, then you’re in the right place. Because this is the start of a mini-series
of videos about the history of the Internet, from some of the first attempts at making
computers work together all the way through modern social networks and on-the-go video
conferences. Developing the right combination of software,
hardware, technology, and marketing took decades, so we won’t be able to talk about every
important engineer and invention. But we hope you’ll join us as we investigate
some of the crucial ideas and events along the way. People started making computers work together
pretty early on — as far back as World War II, when computers were big, clunky machines
that didn’t do much more than solve really difficult math problems. Even with the best computers of the day, it
could take months to solve just one of the complicated physics problems involved in making
the atomic bomb. But a team led by physicist Richard Feynman
found a way of solving a bunch of problems at once: when computers weren’t being used
for part of one problem, they had those computers work on part of a different problem. So one problem might still take a month, but
they could also solve three or four in the same amount of time. And for really important calculations, they
used their system to simultaneously do the same problem a whole bunch of times. That way, they were sure of the final answer
— even if a couple computers made mistakes along the way. Another early step came in the 1950s and 60s,
when colleges started separating their computer terminals, where someone would type their
program, from the computers themselves. This made it easy for lots of different people
to experiment with the new machines while keeping the circuits and tubes safely away
from tinkering hands. It was almost like an early form of today’s
cloud computing, where a user-friendly computer sends complicated tasks to better, less accessible
computers somewhere else. Except that today’s cloud uses the Internet,
and in 1960, there was no Internet. But people were starting to think about it. The US Department of Defense had recently
created the Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as ARPA, to keep its technology
a step ahead of the Soviets. And a computer enthusiast named Joseph Licklider
helped convince ARPA to fund research into a computer network connecting scientists and
engineers throughout the country. A few key colleges agreed to be involved,
and ARPA started building the network in 1969. They called it ARPANET. It started fairly small, as a sort of messaging
service between computers at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford University, and the University
of Utah. But it was the first network of its kind. And as ARPANET grew over the next couple decades,
its engineers would add features and solve problems that still shape everything we do
online. One of ARPANET’s first big innovations was
what’s known as packet switching. You know how sometimes in old movies, when
someone wants to phone a friend they have to call a switchboard operator first? The operator was there because those phones
worked by what’s called circuit switching, where signals could only get from one place
to another if there was a single uninterrupted circuit between them. So the operator’s job was literally to plug
the wire from one phone into the wire from another. Circuit switching works great if two places
stay connected for a long time, like they might be for a phone call, which is why most
phones still work through circuit switching — except that now the circuits move automatically
instead of manually. But it would be totally impractical for the
internet to work that way. Your computer would only be able to connect
to one other computer at a time, and it would take extra time whenever you tried to connect
somewhere else. Some modern websites might connect you to
ten different computers from around the world at the same time. All of them need to respond immediately if
you click, all the while connecting and monitoring hundreds or thousands of other visitors at
once. So circuits all over the place would constantly
be flipping around, connecting somewhere for a split second before switching away and connecting
elsewhere. It just wouldn’t work. Even back in the 1960s, engineers knew that
computers send messages far too quickly to make circuit switching practical. So instead, they invented an alternative:
packet switching, where different computers send messages along the same set of wires
instead of each getting one. To communicate with each other, they just
send a message, called a packet, along the wires. Every packet had a kind of address label:
a string of numbers representing the computer where it was headed. The computer where it started would look up
the address on a table with all the addresses in the network on it, and then send the packet
toward whatever nearby computer was closest to the destination. That second computer would get the packet,
look up the destination address, and again send the packet in the right direction. This process would repeat over and over until
the packet finally got where it was going. No moving circuits or wires, no one-conversation-at-a-time
requirement. ARPANET used packet switching from the start,
and its packets traveled over phone lines. And at first, packet switching worked exactly
as planned. But there were problems over the next couple
of years, as dozens of new computers from around the country joined. Because the way the packet switching system
was set up meant that every computer always had to keep an updated list of all the other
computers’ addresses. Otherwise, they’d get packets and wouldn’t
know where to send them, or they’d try to send a packet somewhere that might not be
around any more. But the network kept getting bigger and bigger,
and sometimes a computer’s address might change if they temporarily disconnected from
the network or a connection stopped working. And different computers ended up with different
address books if they didn’t update fast enough. So ARPANET’s engineers scrapped that system
and selected Stanford as the official record-keeper of everyone’s addresses in 1973. This quick fix let ARPANET keep growing throughout
the seventies, with sixty computers in 1974 and over a hundred by 1977. Soon, satellites connected California and
Hawaii, stretching ARPANET to what had been one of the most isolated places in the world. Then, ARPANET jumped across the pond, extending
the network to England and Norway. But by the mid-seventies, ARPANET wasn’t
the only network in town. Similar networks were popping up around the
world, and some had even more computers on them. But everyone formatted their packets differently,
so even though you could connect different networks together, it was a real headache. The problem was mostly solved back in 1974,
but it took until the early eighties before ARPANET and most of the other networks started
using it. The solution was a set of programs called
TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, which we still use today. The Transmission Control Protocol was a standard
way of formatting packets, so that everyone was speaking the same language. And the Internet Protocol was a standard way
of assigning addresses, so there wasn’t any confusion about where packets were headed. Once two networks used TCP/IP, connecting
them became way easier. So all the different networks were connected
to one another, forming what became known as the Internet — with ARPANET as the glue
holding it all together. But with ARPANET growing so quickly and connecting
to so many other networks, the record-keepers at Stanford were getting overloaded. Hosts were always joining and changing addresses
and trying to download the updated address book, and occasionally the Stanford list would
have errors that messed up communication throughout the network. And sending emails was becoming a real pain. Email was invented back in 1971, and by 1973
emails made up more than three quarters of ARPANET’s packets. But different computers had different email
programs, and some required a list of every computer it would pass between sender and
receiver — so people had to keep an updated map of the entire network by their desk, and
they had to type out the path of their email before they could send it. And with hundreds of computers on ARPANET
and over a thousand across the Internet, keeping up those maps was getting impossible. ARPANET’s engineers realized that the entire
structure of the Internet had to be reorganized, so they came up with the Domain Name System,
or DNS. Instead of separating each host and storing
their addresses in a random order, the hosts were arranged into domains. First came the top-level domains — those
dot-coms and dot-edus at the end of every website and email address. The new top-level domains meant that instead
of sending an email to [email protected] like you would’ve before DNS, you were emailing [email protected] Then, within these top-level domains, each
host was called a second-level domain. So “”, for example, now meant “the
second-level domain ‘mit’ within the top-level domain ‘dot-edu’”. The domain structure organized all those different
hosts from all around the world in a way that computers could handle. Then, DNS added a whole new network to the
Internet whose whole job was to keep track of addresses and connections. One computer on the new network effectively
stored all addresses within the dot-com top-level domain, another got all the dot-edus, another
got all the dot-orgs, and so on. Then, other new computers collectively mapped
out the entire network. So when you wanted to send an email, you didn’t
have to check your map and plan out all the connections yourself. That became the DNS’s job — and it’s
still the DNS’s job today. It’s why your computer didn’t know how
to get a message to YouTube when you clicked on this video. It basically just told the DNS server that
it had something for the domain “youtube” within the top-level domain “dot-com”. And the DNS server did the rest. By the late 1980s, the Department of Defense
realized that it had long-since accomplished its goal. Originally, they just wanted a few reliably
interconnected computers, but they ended up serving as the backbone of a global network
of thousands of universities, companies, and governments all talking to each other. So they decided to end the ARPANET project,
and they needed to find someone to take over all those wires — someone to run the Internet. But who could be trusted with all that power? And could the internet, this huge complicated
system, become accessible to the general public? These were the big questions plaguing the
Internet in 1989, and that’s where we’ll pick up in the next episode of this series. In the meantime, thanks for watching this
episode of SciShow, which was brought to you by our patrons on Patreon. If you want to help support this show, just
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100 thoughts on “How the Internet Was Invented | The History of the Internet, Part 1

  1. we thought the internet was created by wireshark , another packet analysis software , the affordable router , the affordable internet service provider

  2. Your body language is immensely distracting, makes me nauseous. Why do you jump and bop like you're having a seizure?

  3. Oh dear GAWD ! 11:00 minutes of rambling with the same picture, same person, and hideous green background. ….Annoying voice. I came here from a documentary on Radio that was glorious. WTF ? Next VID !

  4. Is it possible to reset the entire internet? If we did that then how would we remake google for example, how did they do it?

  5. How do so many people have access to a service that once was only used by military and government bureaus and Universities? That I want to know. I'm sure there's a legal and political story, and a private enterprise story, and then me. I want to know all of it.

  6. My first journey on the internet (1980) was the college ARPA/DARPA net between colleges..I was attending the first Black Hat conferences…before normies knew what a Black Hat Conference was….these gatherings eventually led in the TED talks…Welcome newcomers

  7. it amazing that the internet was around in the 1980s but it got better win the World Wide Web was invested I hope I send that right I’m sorry if I send wrong but it cool that something like the internet was around in the 1980s

  8. Bummer, I'm a visual learner and expected more pictures to accompany the history lesson. Everything went in one ear and out the other

  9. And its also weird that i can gather this information no longer from a book but from a bunch of ones and zeros thank you for making my job easier for someone that wants to be a teacher ine day.

  10. The history of the Internet begins with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. Initial concepts of wide area networking originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.[1] The U.S. Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s, including for the development of the ARPANET project, directed by Robert Taylor and managed by Lawrence Roberts. The first message was sent over the ARPANET in 1969 from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock's laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute(SRI).

    Packet switching networks such as the NPL network, ARPANET, Merit Network, CYCLADES, and Telenet, were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols.[2] Donald Davies first demonstrated packet switching in 1967 at the National Physics Laboratory(NPL) in the UK, which became a testbed for UK research for almost two decades.[3][4] The ARPANET project led to the development of protocols for internetworking, in which multiple separate networks could be joined into a network of networks.

    The Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was developed by Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf in the 1970s and became the standard networking protocol on the ARPANET, incorporating concepts from the French CYCLADES project directed by Louis Pouzin. In the early 1980s the NSF funded the establishment for national supercomputing centers at several universities, and provided interconnectivity in 1986 with the NSFNETproject, which also created network access to the supercomputer sites in the United States from research and education organizations. Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the very late 1980s. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Limited private connections to parts of the Internet by officially commercial entities emerged in several American cities by late 1989 and 1990,[5] and the NSFNET was decommissioned in 1995, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic.

    In the 1980s, research at CERN in Switzerland by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Leeresulted in the World Wide Web, linking hypertext documents into an information system, accessible from any node on the network.[6] Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture, commerce, and technology, including the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. The research and education community continues to develop and use advanced networks such as JANET in the United Kingdom and Internet2 in the United States. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1 Gbit/s, 10 Gbit/s, or more. The Internet's takeover of the global communication landscape was almost instant in historical terms: it only communicated 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunications networks in the year 1993, already 51% by 2000, and more than 97% of the telecommunicated information by 2007.[7] Today the Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information, commerce, entertainment, and social networking. However, the future of the global internet may be shaped by regional differences in the world.[8]

  11. I've read that it firstly was for military purposes on the Cold War and needed a net for sending messages to communicate the plan of reorganize and prepare the country for a possible nuclear attack.

    Then, it evolved to memes & stuff.

  12. The reason i search this up is cuz i search up pete burns and then the beginning of the internet cuz i thought of gumball and then the episode well we're explained why gumballs family has a knockoff of everything

  13. Horrible narration! Voice tone sounded like the narrator was asking question after question. She needed to take a breath now and then to make this experience less torturous.

  14. As an IT guy in 2019, I wonder if any elements of the command line and terminal output of the (d)arpanet would look familiar.

  15. If they want people to watch the video instead of just listening to the audio, they need to find a host that takes a shower and washes their clothes regularly.

  16. Cool show. How about doing a story on the Real History of online video – nearly a decade before youtube.

  17. I knew the internet was relatively new, but I didn't realize it still wasnt publicly accessible a mere 4 years before I was born.

  18. this is all a lie, think for yourself, where is all the data going? to the "cloud"? to a building filled with harddrives and severs etc? imagine all the data even when your tech is "turned off" its sending data it is bot being stored on this planet as the whole planet and more would need "storage devices" to store it all. wake up and know that we are not the alone and we are not the most intelligent, we cant be intelligent if we are controlled through ads pics music etc we are equivalent to rats to another race

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