The Modern Internet Turns 30!


Happy Birthday to The Interwebz. That’s right, January 1 (which was yesterday for those of us outside the US), marked the 30th birthday of the modern Internet.

Writing on the Google blogVint Cerf — the company’s VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, and a key figure who helped the Internet get off the ground — recalls the packet network-related work that he and Robert Kahn undertook to develop the initial TCP Internet standard that got things moving. That was then split into two parts, one of which was “Internet Protocol”, aka IP, and the other TCP.

From there, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — which had first tested ARPANET – took Cerf and Kahn’s work into the mainstream on January 1 1983, as he explains.

TCP/IP was tested across the three types of networks developed by DARPA and eventually was anointed as their new standard. In 1981, Jon Postel published a transition plan to migrate the 400 hosts of the ARPANET from the older NCP protocol to TCP/IP, including a deadline of January 1, 1983, after which point all hosts not switched would be cut off.

Cerf explains that there were “no grand celebrations”, and that mainly the switch over was met with relief among those that were working to get it done. He, nor any others, had any idea that what they were pioneering could become so influential in future times.

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