April 7, 1969: The birth of the Internet
For many of us, we couldn’t imagine the world without the Internet. Everything is on the Internet. We shop, do research, write emails, and more. The Internet is a valuable resource, but it didn’t always exist. It took some work to establish the Internet. On April 7, 1969, published documents of the first request for comments [RFC] paved the way for the birth of the Internet. Afterward, technology was never the same.
What’s the RFC?
If this is your first time hearing about the RFC, you’re not alone. It’s a foreign concept, but it was important to the development of the Internet. An RFC is a publication that contains research, proposals, and methodologies applicable to many aspects of Internet technology. Engineers review the RFCs to develop new concepts.
Each document of the RFC issues a unique serial number, avoiding the possibility of two papers being overwritten or duplicated. If an engineer wishes to update or make a correction to the existing document, they must submit a separate RFC. This could be a complex process, but this is how we have a historical record of the evolution of Internet standards.
The first RFC
On April 7, 1969, engineers successfully published the first RFC document, published as part of ARPANET [Advanced Research Projects Agency Network]. The academic programming expanded on ideas first proposed by the U.S. Defense Department two decades earlier and would provide enough information for scientists to begin developing the Internet.
According to computer scientist Joseph Licklider, “The aim was to create a network of computers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines providing the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and other symbiotic functions.”
The start of something new
Engineers in 1969 had no idea what the Internet would help individuals accomplish. To this day, the Internet is a space that allows people to gather and share information across the globe. It’s a space where ideas can be expressed, reshaped, and you can learn just about anything you want.
Could you imagine the world without the Internet? Thanks to important documents, it became possible in a year when engineers were still trying to figure out how to put men on the moon. But once they gave birth to the Internet, there was no turning back. Technology was forever changed.