Internet History


Welcome to the Internet Hall of Fame's Living History Timeline

The Internet Hall of Fame's Living History Timeline explores the history of the Internet and highlights the inductees who have pioneered Internet technology, contributed to ongoing development and innovation and helped expand the Internet's reach across the globe.

  • USSR Launches Sputnik

    USSR launches Sputnik into space and, with it, global communications.

    Sputnik Image

  • Bell Labs Invents Modem

    Bell Labs researchers invent the modem (modulator - demodulator), which converts digital signals to electrical (analog) signals and back, enabling communication between computers.

    Bell Labs Dataphone/Modem Image

  • U.S. Government Creates ARPA

    The United States government creates the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in response to Sputnik launch.

    Joint Chiefs of Staff Image

  • Leonard Kleinrock Pioneers Packet-Switching

    Leonard Kleinrock Image

  • J.C.R. Licklider Conceives Intergalactic Network

    J.C.R. Licklider writes memos about his Intergalactic Network concept of networked computers and becomes the first head of the computer research program at ARPA.

    J.C.R. Licklider Image

  • ASCII Is Developed

    The first universal standard for computers, ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Exchange) is developed by a joint industry-government committee. ASCII permits machines from different manufacturers to exchange data.

    ASCII Alphabet Image

  • Paul Baran, Donald Davies Develop Message Blocks/Packet-switching

    The Rand Corporation's Paul Baran develops message blocks in the U.S., while Donald Watts Davies, at the National Physical Laboratory in Britain, simultaneously creates a similar technology called packet-switching. The technology revolutionizes data communications.

    Packet-switching Diagram

  • ARPA Sponsors Networking Study

    ARPA sponsors study on "cooperative network of time-sharing computers."

    ARPA Logo

  • Lawrence Roberts & Thomas Marill Create First Wide-area Network

    Lawrence Roberts (MIT) and Thomas Marill get an ARPA contract to create the first wide-area network (WAN) connection via long distant dial-up between a TX-2 computer in Massachusetts and a Q-32 computer in California. The system confirms that packet switching offers the most promising model for communication between computers.

    WAN Diagram

  • ARPAnet Project Initiated

    Directing ARPA’s computer research program, Robert Taylor initiates the ARPAnet project, the foundation for today’s Internet.
  • Charles Herzfeld Approves Funds for Computer Networking Experiment

    As ARPA director, Charles Herzfeld approves funding to develop a networking experiment that would tie together multiple universities funded by the agency. The result would be the ARPAnet, the first packet network and a predecessor to today’s Internet.

    Charles Herzfeld Image

  • Lawrence Roberts Leads Networking Experiment

    Building on the 1965 “Cooperative Network of Time-sharing Computers” study, MIT’s Lawrence Roberts comes to ARPA to conduct the networking experiment and develop the first ARPAnet plan ("Towards a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers").

    Lawrence Roberts Image

  • ARPAnet Design Begins

    Lawrence Roberts leads ARPAnet design discussions and publishes first ARPAnet design paper: "Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication."  Wesley Clark suggests the network is managed by interconnected ‘Interface Message Processors’ in front of the major computers. Called IMPs, they evolve into today’s routers.

    IMPs Image

  • Donald Davies Publishes First Packet-switching Paper

    Donald Watts Davies of the National Physical Laboratory in England publishes his paper on “packet-switching,” the term he coins.

    National Physical Lab Image

  • Danny Cohen Develops First Real-time Visual Flight Simulator

    Danny Cohen develops the first real-time visual flight simulator on a general purpose computer and the first real-time radar simulator. His flight simulator work leads to the development of the Cohen-Sutherland computer graphics line clipping algorithms, created with Ivan Sutherland.

    Danny Cohen Image

  • Engelbart Makes His Mother of All Demos Presentation

    Engelbart makes his "Mother of All Demos" presentation where he introduces hypertexting and collaborative computing for the first time.
  • Bolt Beranek and Newman Wins IMP Development Contract

    Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) is awarded the ARPA contract to build the Interface Message Processors.

    BBN Logo

  • Kennedy Congratulates BBN On ARPA Contract

    US Senator Edward Kennedy sends BBN a congratulatory telegram on winning the ARPA contract to build the "Interfaith" Message Processors.

    Ted Kennedy Image

  • UCLA Develops ARPAnet Host Level Protocols

    Steve Crocker heads UCLA Network Working Group under Professor Leonard Kleinrock to develop host level protocols for ARPAnet communication in preparation for becoming the first node.  The group, which includes Vint Cerf and Jon Postel, lays the foundation for protocols of the modern Internet.

    ARPAnet Protocols Image

  • ARPAnet’s Structural Proposal Written

    Dr. Howard Frank co-writes the proposal that wins the contract to design the network structure for the ARPAnet.
  • IMP Network Links First Four Nodes

    The physical Interface Message Processor (IMP) network is constructed, linking four nodes: University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Utah.

    ARPAnet Diagram

  • UCLA Team Sends First Data Packets

    The first data packets are sent between networked computers on October 29th by Charley Kline at UCLA, under supervision of Professor Leonard Kleinrock. The first attempt resulted in the system crashing as the letter G of “Login” was entered.  The second attempt was successful.

    ARPAnet IMP Log Image

  • Key Internet Protocols Implemented

    Dr. David Clark implements Internet protocols for the Multics systems, the Xerox PARC ALTO and the IBM PC. Computer History Museum

    Xerox PARC ALTO

  • Peter Kirstein Starts European ARPAnet

    Professor Peter Kirstein of University College London starts the first European ARPAnet node with transatlantic IP connectivity.

    Peter Kirstein Image

  • IMP Network Grows

    Fifteen nodes (23 hosts) comprise the IMP network.

    IMP Network Chart

  • Ray Tomlinson Invents Email

    Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents the email program to send messages across a distributed network.  The "@" sign is chosen from the punctuation keys on Tomlinson's Model 33 Teletype to separate local from global emails, making "user@host" the email standard.

    Ray Tomlinson Interview

  • Robert Kahn Demonstrates ARPAnet to Public

    Robert Kahn demonstrates the ARPAnet to the public for the first time by connecting 20 different computers at the International Computer Communication Conference, and in doing so, imparts the importance of packet-switching technology.

    Robert Kahn Image

  • Jon Postel Helps Create First Internet Address Registry

    While at the Information Science Institute, Jon Postel helps create the first Internet address registry, which later becomes Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). This administers IP addresses and other critical Internet functions.

    IANA Logo

  • Louis Pouzin Leads CYCLADES Development

    Louis Pouzin leads the French effort to build CYCLADES, France’s version of the ARPAnet.

    Louis Pouzin Image

  • Ethernet Invented at Xerox Parc

    Faced with the "good fortune to be the first person in the world to be given the problem of connecting a roomful of computers," Bob Metcalfe co-invented the Ethernet at Xerox Parc. Xerox Parc
  • TCP/IP Protocol Development Begins

    Development begins on what will eventually be called TCP/IP protocol by a group headed by Vint Cerf (Stanford) and Robert Kahn (DARPA). The new protocol will allow diverse computer networks to interconnect and communicate with each other.

    TCP/IP Protocol Image

  • Danny Cohen Pioneers Network Voice Protocol

    Danny Cohen was the first to implement “packet video” and “packet voice” (Network Voice Protocol) when he adapted the visual flight simulator to run over the ARPANET in 1973.  It was the first application of packet switching to real-time applications.

    Danny Cohen Interview

  • University College of London Establishes First International ARPAnet Link

    The first international connection to the ARPAnet is made by University College of London (England) via NORSAR (Norway).

    ARPAnet Map

  • Elizabeth Feinler Begins Leading NIC

    Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler begins to help lead SRI International’s Network Information Center (NIC), where her group eventually develops the first Internet “yellow-” and “white-page” servers, the first query-based network host name and address (WHOIS) server, and the Host Naming Registry for the Internet. As a part of this effort she and her group develop the top-level domain naming schemes of .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, and .net.

    Elizabeth Feinler Image

  • Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn Coin 'Internet'

    Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection" which specifies in detail the design of a Transmission Control Program (TCP) and coins the term “Internet” for the first time.

    Internet Keyboard Image

  • Bolt Beranek and Newman Founds Telenet

    Lawrence Roberts helps Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) found Telenet, the first public packet data service, a commercial version of ARPAnet.
  • Lawrence Landweber Creates Computer Science Network

    Lawrence Landweber creates CSNET (Computer Science Network), a network for all US university and industrial computer research groups.  By 1984, over 180 university, industrial, and government computer science departments are participating in CSNET.

    CSNET Geographic Map

  • Perlman Develops Key Routing Protocols

    Perlman designs IS-S (Intermediate System to Intermediate System) protocol for routing IP, which continues to flourish today, and the Spanning Tree algorithm, which allows the Ethernet to handle large clouds of data.
  • Van Houweling Oversees NSFnet

    Dr. Van Houweling helps to oversee the operation and management of NSFnet, the foundation on which global Internet is built.
  • CSNet Developed

    Professor David Farber helps conceive and organize the National Science Foundation’s Computer Science Network (CSNet), which is instrumental in helping to spread global awareness of networking technology.
  • IAB Established

    As a DARPA manager, Dr. Barry Leiner helps establish the Internet Activities Board (later the Internet Architecture Board), which leads the effort to set early Internet technical standards. IAB logo
  • Lawrence Landweber Forges First U.S.- Europe Network Gateways

    Lawrence Landweber establishes the first network gateways between the U.S. and European countries. He also establishes the “Landweber Conferences,” which are instrumental in showing scientists from around the world how to implement national academic and research networks in their countries.

    International Internet Connectivity Map

  • Visual Simulator Runs Over ARPAnet

    Danny Cohen adapts the visual simulator to run over the ARPAnet, the first application of packet- switching networks to real-time applications.

    Visual Flight Simulation Video

  • First Public WAN Initiated

    Teus Hagen initiates the European Unix Network (EUnet) as the EUUG dial-up service, which becomes the first public wide area network in Europe, serving four initial “backbones.”
  • Kilnam Chon Connects Asia to Internet

    Kilnam Chon, a Professor at Keio University in Japan, develops the first Internet connection in Asia, called SDN, and his pioneering work inspires others to promote the Internet’s regional growth.

    Keio University Image

  • Paul Mockapetris Invents Domain Name System

    Paul Mockapetris expands the Internet beyond its academic origins by inventing the Domain Name System (DNS). John Klensin helps facilitate early procedural and definitional work for DNS administration and top-level domain definitions.

    Paul Mockapetris Interview

  • CERN and TCP/IP

    Ben Segal convinces CERN that TCP/IP is the key to making the Internet functional.
  • Japan’s UNIX Network Developed

    Dr. Jun Murai, known as the ‘father of the Internet in Japan,’ develops the Japanese University UNIX Network (JUNET), the first inter-university network in that nation. JPNIC Archives
  • First Email in Germany

    The first email arrives in Germany from the U.S. on August 3, 1984. "Willkommen CSNET," it says. Werner Zorn plays a critical role in this event and establishing the German Internet.
  • First U.S. Research Network Developed

    Dr. Stephen Wolff leads the development of NSFNET, the first U.S. open computer network supporting research and higher education.
  • Ramani Plays Role in India's ERNET

    Srinivasan Ramani plays a key role in India’s Education and Research Network (ERNET) and leads the effort to set up ERNET’s international gateway, starting with a link to Amsterdam.
  • Southern Africa Gets Connected

    While serving as executive director at SANGONeT, an Internet service provider and training institution for civil society, labour and community organizations, Esterhuysen, with many others, helps establish email and Internet connectivity in Southern Africa.
  • Nancy Hafkin Helps Develop ICT In Africa

    Nancy Hafkin helps facilitate the ECA’s African Information Society Initiative, which establishes the first email connectivity in more than 10 African countries.

    United Nations ECA Logo

  • First Internet Exchange Point Established

    Dr. Glenn Ricart sets up the first Internet Exchange point, connecting the original federal TCP/IP networks and first U.S. commercial and non-commercial Internet networks.
  • Thailand Gets a Domain Name

    While at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut registers the .TH country-code top-level domain for Thailand and remains the .TH administer to this day. AIT logo
  • Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) Created

    Francois Flückiger convenes the founding meeting that leads to the creation of Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE), the nonprofit organization that conducts technical coordination of the European Internet infrastructure. Courtesy of RIPE NC

    Five of the RIPE pioneers at the 20th anniversary celebrations in May. From left to right: François Fluckiger, Daniel Karrenberg, Enzo Valente, Olivier Martin and Rob Blokzijl.

  • Daniel Karrenberg Helps Build First Pan-European ISP

    Daniel Karrenberg helps build EUnet, the first pan-European Internet Service Provider.  By 1989, Karrenberg helps found Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE), the key collaborative forum for Internet coordination in Europe.  He also leads the formation of the world’s first Regional Internet Registry, the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC).

    Daniel Karrenberg Image

  • Van Jacobson Solves Internet Congestion

    Van Jacobson develops algorithms for the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that help solve the problem of congestion and are still used in over 90% of Internet hosts today.

    Traffic Congestion Image

  • Global Internet Development Grows

    Dr. Stephen Goldstein plays a key role in evaluating and funding development of Internet initiatives around the world, helping connect about 25 countries to the NSFNET. Merit Research
  • Geoff Huston Helps Deploy Australian Internet

    Geoff Huston leads the effort to bring the Internet from the academic and research sector to the Australian public.  Through his work with Australian communications service provider, Telstra, he helps facilitate the large-scale deployment of the Internet across Australia and as a transit service provider in the Asia Pacific region.

    ISP Survival Guide Cover

  • Tim Berners-Lee Creates WWW

    At CERN, the European Physical Laboratory, Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web. Robert Cailliau is a key proponent of the project, and helps Berners-Lee author a proposal for funding.  Later, Cailliau develops, along with Nicola Pellow, the first web browser for the Mac OS operating system.

    World Wide Web Graphic

  • Brewster Kahle Invents First Internet Publishing System

    Brewster Kahle invents the Internet’s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) and founds WAIS, Inc.  A precursor to today’s search engines, WAIS is one of the first programs to index large amounts of data and make it searchable across large networks.

    Brewster Kahle Image

  • Association for Progressive Communications Founded

    Karen Banks, co-founds APC, an international network and non-profit dedicated to creating and sustaining a free and open Internet that serves the needs of the global civil society.
  • Stephen Kent Pioneers Internet Security Systems

    Dr.  Stephen Kent pioneers secure communications over open networks.
  • Latin America Internet Development Begins

    Ida Holz helps lead a group of computing pioneers whose efforts resulted in the development of the first Latin American networks.
  • Sri Lankan Academic Internet Established

    Gihan Dias helps set up and run the academic Internet in Sri Lanka (LEARN).
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation Founded

    John Perry Barlow co-founds the Electronic Frontier Foundation to provide legal aid to defend individuals and new technologies from “misdirected legal threats” related to technology.
  • Linus Torvalds Creates Linux

    Linus Torvalds creates Linux and becomes a leading supporter of Open Source software.

    Linux Logo

  • Toru Takahashi Promotes Internet In Japan

    Toru Takahashi helps bring the Internet to Japan and promotes it throughout Asia in the 1990s. He is key to the early commercial development of the Internet in the region.

    Toru Takahashi Image

  • Davies Partakes in Protocol Battle

    Dai Davies helps introduce Internet technology into the pan-European backbone EuropaNet, which would eventually be dominated by TCP/IP.
  • Netherlands Internet Development Begins

    Neggers leads the effort to create the first European Internet Provider (IP) backbone.
  • Phil Zimmermann Creates PGP Email Encryption

    Philip Zimmermann creates Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), an email encryption software package that's published for free.  Originally designed as a human rights tool, PGP becomes one of the most widely used email encryption softwares in the world.

    Tech TV Interview

  • Al Gore Creates Bill to Fund "Information Superhighway"

    Al Gore creates the High-performance Computing and Communications Act of 1991 (the Gore Bill), which allocates $600 million for high performance computing and helps create the National Research and Educational Network.  The Gore Bill also creates the National Information Infrastructure, known as the Information Superhighway.

    Electronic Directions Magaizine Cover Image

  • World Wide Web Opens to Public

    The World Wide Web is made available to the public for the first time on the Internet.

    WWW Logo

  • Internetworking Introduced to Japan

    Dr. Haruhisa Ishida introduces UNIX computing and the concept of internetworking to Japan.
  • George Sadowsky helps create global Internet training team

    George Sadowsky helps create the team that would train over 1,500 instructors from over 100 nations on Internet technologies, operation, management and governance.  This initiative was crucial to the Internet’s global expansion.
  • Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn Found Internet Society

    Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn found the Internet Society. Meanwhile, hosts on the Internet pass the one million mark.

    Internet Society Logo

  • Randy Bush, John Klensin Found Network Startup Resource Center

    Randy Bush  and John Klensin found the non-profit Network Startup Resource Center to develop and deploy Internet networking technology to dozens of countries throughout the world.

    Student Training Image

  • Cioffi Standardizes DSL

    DMT (Discrete Multitone) -based DSL technology developed by Dr. John Cioffi, “Father of DSL,” becomes the US standard.
  • NCSA Releases Mosaic Browser

    Mark Andreessen and Eric Bina create the Mosaic browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which helps popularize the World Wide Web among the general public.

    Mosiac Screen Shot Image

  • First RFC is Authored

    Huizer authors the first Request for Comments to document not only the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards process but also the procedures for its Working Groups.
  • First Direct TCP/IP Connection in Mainland China

    Madam Qiheng Hu leads a delegation to the US for discussions with the National Science Foundation, which facilitates the setting up the first direct TCP/IP connection in mainland China.
  • MP3 Is Developed

    Brandenburg and his team settle on a file extension for the audio format, shortening MPEG1, Layer 3 to MP3.

  • New Protocols Enable VOIP

    Dr. Henning Schulzrinne co-develops key protocols that enable Voice over the Internet protocol (VoIP).
  • Brewster Kahle Founds Internet Archive; Email Surpasses Postal Mail

    There is more email than postal mail in the U.S., and Brewster Kahle founds the Internet Archive, a free digital library with a mission to provide “universal access to all knowledge.”  Chronicling over 85 billion pieces of deep Web geology, Kahle creates a history of the Internet’s formation.

    Internet Archive Logo

  • Vixie Creates MAPS

    Vixie creates the first anti-spam company MAPS (Mail Abuse Prevention System).
  • ICANN's First President and CEO

    Michael Roberts becomes the first president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers (ICANN).
  • Blogs First Appear

    The advent of web publishing tools available to non-technical users spurs the rise of blogs.
  • Tan Tin Wee Founds Multilingual Internet DNS

    Tan Tin Wee founds the multilingual Internet domain name system and is instrumental in its internationalization.  In the 1990s, under his leadership, Singapore hosts the first Chinese and Tamil websites. He is widely recognized for his award-winning technological efforts in the Tamil-speaking community and guides the development of the Tamil Internet.

    Tamil Internet Logo

  • DNSSEC Introduced

    Lowinder makes it her passion to convince the .SE board to understand the importance of DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions), the Internet protocol guards that enable users to be sure they are visiting a secure site.
  • Mitchell Baker Helps Found Mozilla Project

    Mitchell Baker gets involved in the Mozilla Project and becomes a founding chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation.  She helps legitimize Open Source Internet application clients.

    Mitchell Baker Interview

  • Craig Newmark Founds Craigslist

    Craig Newmark founds Craigslist, which is to become one of the most widely used websites on the Internet.  He changes the way people used classifieds, transforming it into a largely Internet-based industry.

    Craigslist logo

  • Nii Quaynor Brings Internet to Africa

    Professor Nii Quaynor, known as Africa’s ‘Father of the Internet,’ convenes the first training workshop for the African Network Operators’ Group.  His efforts have a profound impact on the continent’s Internet growth. CNN
  • Aaron Swartz Co-Creates RSS

    Aaron Swartz co-creates RSS, a program that collects news from various web pages and puts them in one place for readers, with the goal of making information freely available to everyone. RSS logo
  • Aaron Swartz Helps Build Creative Commons

    Under the leadership of Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, Aaron Swartz helped build the open architecture for Creative Commons, which works to minimize the barriers to sharing and reusing research and educational materials. http:/
  • Jimmy Wales Launches Wikipedia

    Jimmy Wales launches Wikipedia.  There are half a million Internet users.

    Wikipedia Logo

  • Pun Connects Nepal

    Mahabir Pun, with the help of volunteers from the US and Europe, connects the first village in Nepal to the Internet using long range wireless links built from homemade antennas. This is the beginning of the Nepal Wireless Network, which has since connected 175 villages to the Internet. Photo Credit: Michael Nyffeler
  • Muthoni Founds OPENWORLD LTD

    Dorcas Muthoni founds OPENWORLD LTD, a software company which has been involved in the delivery of some of the most widely used Web and cloud applications in Africa.
  • Nancy Hafkin Pens "Cinderella or Cyberella?"

    Dr. Nancy Hafkin authors Cinderella or Cyberella?: Empowering Women in the Knowledge Society, a collection of essays that examines how information and communications technologies empower women.

    Cinderella or Cyberella? Book Cover

  • China Dominates Internet Usage

    By 2010, there are over 450 million Chinese Internet users.

    China Internet Users Bar Graph

  • Royal Wedding Is Biggest Internet Event; UCLA Opens Internet History Center

    Live streaming of Will and Kate’s wedding is the biggest event ever watched on the Internet, and UCLA, where the first ARPAnet node was built,  opens its Internet History Center.


    Royal Wedding Page Views Graph

  • Internet Society Founds Internet Hall of Fame

    The Internet Society founds the Internet Hall of Fame and the first 33 members are inducted in a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Internet Hall of Fame Logo