Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

7.1: Introduction to Networking and Communication

  • Page ID
    61649

    We are at a basic turning point with many innovations to expand and engage our capacity to communicate. The globalization of the Web has succeeded faster than anybody has envisioned. The way social, commercial, political, and individual motivation happens is quickly changing to keep up with the advancement of this worldwide network. Within our improvement network, innovators will utilize the Web as a beginning point for their efforts, creating modern items and administrations particularly planned to require advantage of the network capabilities. As designers thrust the limits of what is conceivable, the capabilities of the interconnected systems that shape the Web will expand part within these projects' victory.

    This chapter presents a brief history of the Internet and the stage of information systems upon which our social and commerce connections progressively depend. The fabric lays the foundation for investigating the administrations, innovations, and issues experienced by network experts as they plan, construct, and keep up the present-day network.

    In the Beginning: ARPANET

    The story of the Internet and networking can be traced back to the late 1950s. The US was in the Cold War's depths with the USSR, and each nation closely watched the other to determine which would gain a military or intelligence advantage. In 1957, the Soviets surprised the US with the launch of Sputni, propelling us into the space age. In response to Sputnik, the US Government created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), whose initial role was to ensure that the US was not surprised again. From ARPA, now called DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Internet first sprang. ARPA was the center of computing research in the 1960s, but there was just one problem: many computers could not talk to each other. In 1968, ARPA sent out a request for a communication technology proposal that would allow different computers located around the country to be integrated into one network. Twelve companies responded to the request, and a company named Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) won the contract and developed the first protocol for the network (Roberts, 1978). They began work right away and completed the job just one year later: in September 1969, the ARPANET was turned on. The first four nodes were at UCLA, Stanford, MIT, and the University of Utah.

    The Internet and the World Wide Web

    Over the next decade, the ARPANET grew and gained popularity. During this time, other networks also came into existence. Different organizations were connected to different networks. This led to a problem: the networks could not talk to each other. Each network used its own proprietary language or protocol (see sidebar for the definition of protocol) to send information back and forth. This problem was solved using the transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP). TCP/IP was designed to allow networks running on different protocols to have an intermediary protocol that would allow them to communicate. So as long as a network supporting TCP/IP, users could communicate with all other networks running TCP/IP. TCP/IP quickly became the standard protocol and allowed networks to communicate with each other. We first got the term Internet from this breakthrough, which means “an interconnected network of networks.”

    As we moved into the 1980s, computers were added to the Internet at an increasing rate. These computers were primarily from government, academic, and research organizations. Much to the engineers' surprise, the early popularity of the Internet was driven by the use of electronic mail (see sidebar below). Using the Internet in these early days was not easy. To access information on another server, you had to know how to type in the commands necessary to access it and know the name of that device. That all changed in 1990 when Tim Berners-Lee introduced his World Wide Web project, which provided an easy way to navigate the Internet through the use of linked text (hypertext). The World Wide Web gained even more steam with the release of the Mosaic browser in 1993, which allowed graphics and text to be combined to present information and navigate the Internet. The Mosaic browser took off in popularity and was soon superseded by Netscape Navigator, the first commercial web browser, in 1994. The chart below shows the growth in internet users globally.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Graph of "Internet users per 100 inhabitants 1997 to 2017", years on the x-axis, number of users on the y-axis, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Image by Jeff Ogden (W163) and Jim Scarborough (Ke4roh) is licensed CC BY-SA

    According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, 2020), over 53.6% or 4.1 billion people worldwide are using the internet, by the end of 2019.

    The Internet has evolved from Web 1.0 to 2.0 (discussed in Chapter 1) to the many popular social media websites today.

    Sidebar: “Killer” Apps for the Internet

    When the personal computer was created, it was a great little toy for technology hobbyists and armchair programmers. As soon as the spreadsheet was invented, businesses took notice, and the rest is history. The spreadsheet was the killer app for the personal computer: people bought PCs to run spreadsheets.

    The Internet was originally designed as a way for scientists and researchers to share information and computing power among themselves. However, as soon as electronic mail was invented, it began driving demand for the Internet.

    We are seeing this again today with social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram. Many who weren’t convinced to have an online presence now feel left out without a social media account.

    These killer apps and widespread adoption of the internet have driven explosive growth for information systems globally.

    Sidebar: The Internet and the World Wide Web Are Not the Same Things

    Many times, the terms “Internet” and “World Wide Web,” or even just “the web,” are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing at all!

    The Internet is an interconnected network of networks. Many services run across the Internet: electronic mail, voice and video, file transfers, and, yes, the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is simply one piece of the Internet. It is made up of web servers with HTML pages being viewed on devices with web browsers.

    Networks in Our Daily Lives

    Edit section

    Among all of the fundamentals for human presence, the need to interact with others ranks underneath our need to maintain life. Communication is nearly as imperative to us as our dependence on air, water, nourishment, and shelter.

    Today, networking systems have enabled people to connect from anywhere. Individuals can communicate and collaborate immediately with others. News ideas and discoveries are shared with the world in seconds. People can indeed interface and play with others without the physical barriers of seas and landmasses from wherever they locate.

    Figure 7.3.17.3.1: Global Networking. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay is licensed CC BY 2.0

    Technology Then and Now

    Edit section

    Envision a world without the Internet. No more Google, YouTube, texting, Facebook, Wikipedia, web-based gaming, Netflix, iTunes, and simple access to current data. No more social media, staying away from lines by shopping on the web, or rapidly looking into telephone numbers and guide headings to different areas at the snap of a finger. How unique would our lives be without the entirety of this? That was the world we lived in only 15 to 20 years back, as discussed in Chapter 1. Throughout the years, information systems have gradually extended and been repurposed to improve personal satisfaction for individuals all over the place.

    No Boundaries

    Edit section

    Progressions in systems administration advancements are maybe the most noteworthy changes on the planet today. They assist with making a world where national fringes, geographic separations, and physical confinements become less important, introducing ever-lessening obstacles.

    Figure 7.3.27.3.2: Registered trademark of Cisco Systems, Inc.

    Cisco Systems Inc. alludes to this as the human network. The human network fixates on the effect of the Internet and networks on individuals and organizations.

    References

    ITU estimate of global population using the internet. Retrieved September 6, 2020, from https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx

    Roberts, Lawrence G., The Evolution of Packet Switching, (1978, November). Retrieved on September 6, 2020, from www.ismlab.usf.edu/dcom/Ch10_Roberts_EvolutionPacketSwitching_IEEE_1978.pdf