Published: 15 March 2023

Globe with network paths crisscrossing depicting the Internet

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the internet – a phenomenon that has revolutionised our everyday lives and enhanced communication in ways never thought possible.

From its humble beginnings as a computer system designed for communication during the Cold War, the internet has developed into something modern society would struggle to function without.

As David Bowie famously said way back in 1999: “I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.”

We take a look back over the decades at the internet’s history and Lifeline IT’s tech twosome Adam and Daniel comment on how it may change in the future.

  • The internet – or ‘the Net’ – is a worldwide system of networks in which users of any one computer can, if they have permission, get information from any other computer and talk directly to users.
  • January 1 1983 is considered the official birthday of the internet when a new communications protocol was established. However, the origins of the internet go back to The Cold War.
  • During the 1950s, the US realised they needed a communications system that would not be affected by a Soviet nuclear attack. This led to the creation of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which was an early version of the internet and allowed certain organisations within the US Defence Department to communicate with each other via computer networks.
  • Although successful, ARPANET had limitations as only those working within the Defence Department could be members. In response to this, other networks were created to provide information sharing and a new communications protocol was established called ‘Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol’ (TCP/IP). This allowed all networks to ‘talk to’ each other and hence the internet was officially created.
  • Today the internet is used to communicate across large or small distances, share and access information and answer any question in seconds. It is essential for daily life and is needed for everything from sending and receiving emails, accessing social media and running applications, through to e-commerce, online gaming and research.
  • There are currently 5.16 billion internet users worldwide, which is 64.4% of the global population. According to Lifeline IT’s own research 96% of people now use email – which is powered by the internet – every day.

Said Daniel: “The way the internet has developed over the decades is quite remarkable. It started out as a place to find and display information but now things happen via the internet – whether that’s moving data from one place to another or running applications. It has gone from being something of a curiosity to being mission critical for the majority of businesses.”

Added Adam: “I think the way in which the internet is delivered is going to change in the future. Rather than being delivered through physical cables, it will be via satellite, radio and cellular formats. I also think speeds will get faster, as consumers and businesses will need more bandwidth, especially when they are on the move.”




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