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The internet—from ARPANET to decentralized network

Since its creation, the internet has changed drastically — from a secret military weapon in Cold War to decentralized network for everyone.

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The history of the internet can be dated to the 1960s as a means by government researchers for sharing information. Today we cannot imagine our lives without the internet because of its many benefits. Currently, the approximate internet users globally are around 4.95 billion, which is 62.5% of the world population based on a digital data report. Internet technology has eased how people communicate, shop online, make digital transactions and pay bills.

Even though the initial sole purpose for the development of the internet was to aid in military operations, there have been dramatic changes. The changes can be seen from the US secret government creation to the blockchain network of everyone in the world. Therefore, the internet has become a necessity for many activities and economies worldwide.

Evolution of internet as a game-changer in the digital era

Massive advancements in the internet have revolutionized the digital era. Communications have taken a defining direction with the use of new advanced technologies.

With these scenarios, it is realistic that the integration of different technologies has changed to an all-time high. Additionally, interactions of individuals are not limited by geographical locations because of virtual interactions.

Individuals nowadays have great smartphones and portable tablets, hence the ‘world mobile’.  Also, the emergence of blockchain technology is paving the way for the decentralized network, which is very efficient and secure. Therefore, it is important to look at the following baselines that guide the evolution of the internet.

The prototypes — ARPANET

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was the end product of computer communications development. (APART). APARNET was formed for military and governmental purposes only to aid in sharing information that was essential during the cold war.

The military commanders were looking for a computer communication system without headquarters that enemies could not attack. The much concern from the launch of the Soviet Union satellite gave a clear sense that the Soviets might use their jet bombers to launch nuclear attacks against the USA.

Even though APARNET was more academic than military, the network took a tentacle structure that military officials envisioned. Therefore, the internet retained the original form within a large-scale prospect.

How does the TCP/IP network work?

TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol, while IP refers to Internet protocol. They are a suite of communication protocols for interconnecting network devices on the internet. The TCP/IP can also be used as a communication protocol for private computer networks like the extranet and intranet.

Therefore, the TCP/IP protocol suite helps as an abstraction layer among internet applications, switching fabric, and routing. The protocols also specify the process of exchanging data over the internet through end-to-end communications. TCP/IP requires some central management to automatically increase network reliability and recover any failure.

In addition, the protocols of the application suite define how applications create unique channels for communication across the network. It ensures information is assembled in packets before being transmitted over the internet. TCP/IP protocols include:

  • The Hypertext Transfer Protocol HTTP transfers communication between web browser and webserver.
  • File transfer protocol that handles the transfer of files amongst computers
  • HTTP secure that handles secured communication between web browser and server.

Lastly, TCP/IP protocol customs the client-server model of communication. The machine (client) is provided with a service like transferring a web page by another computer (server) in the network.

Web 1.0: the earliest version of the Internet

Web 1 is the earliest version of the internet that became the first network of communication globally with origins in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). The medium has evolved to an expanded platform with multifunctional uses.

Web 1.0 was composed of web pages alongside joined hyperlinks without controls, forms, and additional visuals. The web can be termed as read-only since there was no significant interaction. Web activity was passive, with user input being done online. Normally, web pages are made of static pages hosted on web servers and run by Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The first proposal of the World Wide Web was made in 1989, and Tim Berners-Lee wrote it. The World Wide Web gives users access to countless documents through connected hypermedia and hypertexts links.

Hypertext allows users to select a given phrase or word to access another document with additional information. On the other hand, hypermedia documents feature links to animations, sounds, images, and movies. The web operates on a client-server internet format to ensure transmission and store of documents are effective.

Web 2 in the social media era

Web 2 refers to websites that emphasize participatory culture, user-generated content, ease of use, and interoperability. Compatibility of technologies to devices, systems, and other products for end-users is considered.

The general interactive change of websites overshadows the older websites to more static websites than the original web. Thus, the web 2 website permits users to collaborate and interact through social media platforms. The user-generated content by creators is important in the virtual community.

Most social media currently in place include; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google buzz, and linked in. The platforms can share videos, images, and applications with diverse content, which are good for social networking.

Generally, unlike the read-only feature of web 1, web 2 invites user contribution to its site contents. Users can comment on articles published and create an account on their site. The extant capabilities emphasized rely on user browsers, file storage facilities, and software applications. So, ‘network as a platform’ describes web 2 effectively. Users can also provide essential data and exercise control of what they share.

Web 3 and future of decentralized networks and blockchain-based internet

Web 3 is the version of the internet that focuses on user ownership and decentralization. The rise of new and advanced technologies like augmented reality, blockchain technology, and virtual reality are the cornerstone in web 3 development.

Many foundations in cryptocurrency, the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens within the onset of metaverse will revolutionize this internet. The development phase of web 3 will be based on openness, decentralization, and much utilization of user content. Web 3 will differ significantly from the current web 2 because of decentralization.

In web 2, apps and platforms are owned by central entities with full control over them. Therefore, platforms and apps in web 3 will be developed, maintained, and owned by users. In web 3, ownership can be represented using the mobile world tokens or cryptocurrencies using the blockchain’s decentralized networks.

An elaborate example here is that you can govern the operations if you own enough digital tokens in a particular network. Furthermore, you cannot be restricted from using the mobile world token provided you have enough stake in the reserve pool.

The past era and the future era for sure will be completely different. Consequently, the gradual evolution of the internet is something to appreciate a lot because of master class changes. Life generally is becoming simpler than before because of available devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers. The devices are compatible with the current websites, applications, and social platforms of the internet.

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