The Internet in a Nutshell!

The basic idea behind the internet is fostered from the sharing of information; focused on the collaboration of ideas and discoveries, and developed by the great minds and visions of the people who use the online world. The idea that simply started out from the need for more research and development resources quickly became a worldwide phenomenon within three decades. Today we will be discussing the history of the internet, and look at an overview of how the internet that we all know has developed and continues to develop as the world wide web continues to grow.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was responsible for some of the biggest founding ideas of the internet. In the early 1960s J.C.R Licklider envisioned a form of today’s internet in such a way that in 1965 they were able to achieve the first “internet” connection: the passing and sharing of information as well as the idea of a network developed out of the necessity of a low-grade phone connection that would later be adapted into the ISO layers that the modern internet protocol would be based upon.


In 1967 the plans for ARPANET were born. These plans were developed after MIT researcher Lawrence G Roberts felt that packet switching was required in order to solve the speed and efficiency problems that switching data across dial-up phone lines inevitably had. The best way to imagine this would be to think of this process as similar to building an airplane. It is much faster to deliver the parts to a destination than the plane as a whole. This way the parts are less likely to be damaged or be delivered incomplete. The same idea is applied to packed switching. This would be later referred to the TCP/IP Protocols of the transport layer. Not only did packet switching change the face of the ARPANET, but it also changed the way that researchers perceived the data that was being transported. By the beginning of the 1970s, the early stages of the internet were implemented: 4 nodes were added to the ARPANET and the internet was born. One year later the TIP Terminal Interface Processor was developed, and by 1977 over 100 computers were connected through the ARPANET.

TCP/IP Protocols and The OSI Seven-Layer Network Model

Each layer of the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is what makes up the way that the internet communicates and the functions that each layer is responsible for. Developed by DARPA in 1983, these protocols specified the way that the internet would work. The TCP/IP Protocol is listed in order from the physical layer all the way to the application layer, and it establishes the steps in which data is transmitted across the web. The ARPANET first used a version called Network Control Protocol, but later adapted the more refined TCP/IP Protocol developed by Robert E Kahn, that would better enable the adaptation of an open-architecture network environment. The TCP/IP Protocol was originally developed in 4 steps (Application, Transport, Internet, and Link), but was later refined into the seven steps that are commonly recognized today, and illustrated below.

Both share the fundamental steps, but the OSI Seven-Layer Network Model uses the additional OSI layers to further refine the layers of functionality:

  • Layer 1: The Physical layer is the logic layer; this layer is responsible for the data conversion that takes place (Bytes, Bits.etc).
  • Layer 2: The Datalink layer is responsible for the packing and unpacking of data.
  • Layer 3: The Network layer is the local and switching functions that assign both temporary and    read permanent IP addresses as well as packet routing.
  • Layer 4: The Transport layer is responsible for the integrity of the data being delivered without error and complete.
  • Layer 5: The Session layer is responsible for the authorization of communication between devices (for example: checking SSL certificates).
  • Layer 6: The Presentation layer is not included in the standard TCP/IP protocol but is standard in the OSI Seven-Layer Network Model. This layer is responsible for the compatibility of software between devices as well as data compression and data encryption.
  • Layer 7: The application layer enables HTTPS and FTP in order to communicate between devices in data transfer.

TCP/IP Protocols and The OSI Seven-Layer Network Model

Basic Model of the Internet Infrastructure

Basically, the internet works by sending and receiving of packets across the network. These packets contain the information that you want to send to the desired location or server that will take that information. Through the steps listed above in the TCP/IP Protocols and The OSI Seven-Layer Network Model, the message is decrypted and received as it was intended to be set from the server: without error and in its original packet form. There are many different models of how your internet connection could be arranged. The Network Infrastructure is a map showing the different elements that are a part of your internet communication. Understanding these types of maps are important when visualizing the elements of your internet connection. This could include additional firewall, open wifi-networks or in this example a terminal server which acts as its own private server not attached to the outside network.

The Internet Moving Forward

Understanding the internet historically is the first step towards realizing the importance of data. One of the biggest concerns will be the security of the web and the amount of information that will be created in the next thirty years. As people adapt to the changing internet landscape, additional precautions need to be considered as well, such as the latest malware detecting software or the security of firewall protection on mobile devices.