Computer networking history

Year and Event


The idea of Arpanet, one of the earliest computer networks, was proposed by Leonard Kleinrock in 1961, in his paper titled "Information Flow in Large Communication Nets."


The term "packet" was coined by Donald Davies in 1965, to describe data sent between computers over a network.


Arparent was one of the first computer networks to use packet switching. Development of ARPANET started in 1966, and the first two nodes, UCLA and SRI (Standford Research Institute), were connected, officially starting ARPANET in 1969.


The first RFC surfaced in April 1969, as a document to define and provide information about computer communications, network protocols, and procedures.


The first network switch and IMP (Interface Message Processor) was sent to UCLA on August 29, 1969. It was used to send the first data transmission on ARPANET.

1969 The Internet was officially born, with the first data transmission being sent between UCLA and SRI on October 29, 1969, at 10:30 p.m.


Steve Crocker and a team at UCLA released NCP (NetWare Core Protocol) in 1970.
NCP is a file sharing protocol for use with NetWare.


Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail in 1971.
1971 Alohanet, a UHF wireless packet network, is used in Hawaii to connect the islands together. Although it is not Wi-Fi, it helps lay the foundation for Wi-Fi.


Ethernet is developed by Robert Metcalfe in 1973 while working at Xerox Parc.

1973 The first international network connection, called SATNET, is deployed in 1973 by Arpa.

1973 An experimental VoIP call was made in 1973, officially introducing VoIP technology and capabilities.

However, the first software allowing users to make VoIP calls was not available until 1995.


The first routers were used at Xerox in 1974. However, these first routers were not considered true IP routers.


Ginny Strazisar developed the first true IP router, originally called a gateway, in 1976.


Bob Kahn invented the TCP/IP protocol for networks and developed it, with help from Vint Cerf, in 1978.


Internet protocol version 4, or IPv4, was officially defined in RFC 791 in 1981. IPv4 was the first major version of the Internet protocol.

1981 Bitnet was created in 1981 as a network between IBM mainframe systems in the United States.

1981 CSNET (Computer Science Network) was developed by the U.S. National Science Foundation in 1981.


Arpanet finished the transition to using TCP/IP in 1983.

1983 Paul Mockapetris and Jon Postel implement the first DNS in 1983.


The NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network) came online in 1986. It was a backbone for ARPANET, before eventually replacing ARPANET in the early 1990's.

1986 Bitnet II was created in 1986 to address bandwidth issues with the original BITNET.


The first T1 backbone was added to ARPANET in 1988.

1988 Wavelan network technology,
the official precursor to Wi-Fi, was introduced to the market by AT&T, Lucent, and NCR in 1988.

1988 Details about network firewall technology was first published in 1988.

The published paper discussed the first firewall, called a packet filter firewall, that was developed by Digital Equipment Corporation the same year.


Kalpana, a U.S. network hardware company, developed and introduced the first network switch in 1990.


IPv6 was introduced in 1996 as an improvement over IPv4, including a wider range of IP addresses, improved routing, and embedded encryption.


The first version of the 802.11 standard for Wi-Fi is introduced in June 1997, providing transmission speeds up to 2 Mbps.


The 802.11a standard for Wi-Fi was made official in 1999, designed to use the 5 GHz band and provide transmission speeds up to 25 Mbps.

1999 802.11b devices were available to the public starting mid-1999, providing transmission speeds up to 11 Mbps.

1999 The WEP encryption protocol for Wi-Fi is introduced in September 1999, for use with 802.11b.


802.11g devices were available to the public starting in January 2003, providing transmission speeds up to 20 Mbps.

2003 The WPA encryption protocol for Wi-Fi is introduced in 2003, for use with 802.11g.

2003 The WPA2 encryption protocol is introduced in 2004, as an improvement over and replacement for WPA. All Wi-Fi devices are required to be WPA2 certified by 2006.


The 802.11n standard for Wi-Fi was made official in 2009.

It provides higher transfer speeds over 802.11a and 802.11g, and it can operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths.


The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced WPA3 encryption for Wi-Fi in January 2018, which includes security enhancements over WPA2.

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