In 1676 Sir Isaac Newton wrote to fellow scientist Robert Hooke to try and explain his scientific achievements. "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants," he famously said.
The comment resonates centuries later as we seek to explain the beginnings of the internet and Internet Protocol (IP) networking.
No one person can be handed the plaudits for coming up with the technology that lies behind the internet, but it is certainly the work of scientific giants.
While British-born scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee can take a large amount of credit for the work he did in the late 1980s at Geneva-based laboratory CERN, he can only be credited for inventing the World Wide Web, the network of servers and browsers used to view content transmitted across the underlying internet.
Instead, several US scientists must be credited for developing the internet itself, the underlying network and transmission technologies responsible for sending packets of information around the world.
The infrastructure is based on Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which was first theorised by Leonard Kleinrock of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961. But it was not until Vint Cerf became involved in the 1970s that the internet really began to take off.
Working with Bob Kahn, Cerf gave the internet its first real demonstration in July 1977 when packets of data (bits of information) were sent on a 94,000 mile round trip from the US via Norway and London. "We didn't lose a bit," Cerf wrote in his paper How the Internet came to be.
Find out what the latest IP-based communications can do for your business at the vnunet.com Networked Office hub.
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