Regardless of one growing up with computers or being introduced to them at a later age, imagining a world without internet is a difficult idea to comprehend. Internet plays a number of roles in the society today, ranging from research and educative purposes to social interaction with one another. The internet being hardly fifty years old, and world wide web almost thirty years since its emergence, the disappearance of either of them will mean a collapse in the business world. Despite the differences between the internet and the web, the two form a powerful system that has rapidly developed over the ages with yet a promising future.
Licklider J. C. R. first proposed the global network of computers in 1962. This proposal was followed by the development of packet switching by Leonard Kleinrock and UCLA, that was to form the foundation of internet connections (Ryan, 2010). Lawrence Roberts then developed the ARPANET in 1967, which was brought online in 1969. This development saw government agencies as well as institutions creating internal networks using the ARPANET model (Leiner et al., 1997). The National Science Foundation then catalyzed the emergence of the today’s internet. They generated a chain of connections in which one institution could be linked to others with all being connected to central supercomputing centers. This discovery formed the beginning of the global network of computer networks, which enables the communication computers all over the world.
The world wide web, on the other hand, was created with the intention of aiding the navigation through the system of interconnected computers, forming the internet (Gillies & Cailliau, 2000). Tim Berners-Lee, while working with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, developed ‘Enquire,’ a hypertext program. Teaming up with Robert Cailliau in 1990, Berners, generated the outline of the internet having a web server and a browser. The difficulties with the web at this point was the difficulty to navigate, and inaccessibility to a larger population. The development of the mosaic web followed in 1993, which made it possible for the users to explore multimedia online. A year later, the WebCrawler was developed, opening the door for further development of search engines. Finally, there emerged the web 2.0, otherwise known as dot-com boom in 1999 which saw a majority of people and companies moving online (Kim, 2005).
The internet and world wide web, though used interchangeably, do not mean the same thing. There are several ways in which the two differ from each other. According to Abbate (1999), the Internet is a global network consisting many computing devices interconnected to one another. The vast nature of the network makes it available all to everyone all over the world. In addition, it consists of sub-networks composed of several computers capable of transmitting data packets. Furthermore, the internet operates under the Internet Protocol which is a set of rules, laws, and regulations governing its operations.
While the internet is the hardware part, consisting of a set of computer network linked together through cables or wireless connections, the web is the software part that consists of the web pages connected using hyperlinks and URLs (Gil, 2017). It can be referred to as one of the services available on the internet. As opposed to the IP used on the internet, world wide web is governed by the HyperText Transfer Protocol that links files, documents as well as other resources to the Web. The hypertext accesses different forms of information contained on different networks of the world. Different browsers aid the access to various websites.
The internet has evolved ever since its existence. Even though it was conceived in the era of time-sharing, the internet has survived through to the era of the network computer and the new network technologies such as LANs and ATM (Breene, 2016). Although the internet is a network in name and geography, it must be known that it is a computer creation and not the traditional network forming the television industry. Its future is still bright as it will, indeed, continue to evolve with the changing technology in the computer industry, for it to remain relevant.
As the world approaches the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the need for a technological transformation that is internet-driven is necessary. The only challenge is the development of an efficient strategy that would help to manage the radical change in such a manner that would enhance the longevity of the internet stability. Opportunities, as well as challenges, are eminent in the wake of this transformation. According to Ryan (2010), the internet plays a central role in reshaping the structures of both the public and private sectors. However, organizations will have to strengthen their customer’s data security. For individuals and businesses to build confidence in their transactions and communication, the internet will need to be more secure. This idea means that with the growth in industrial data, a greater need for digital security is necessary.
The internet access is still wanting as more people are still offline. The universal, affordable internet access dabbed, global goals, collectively aims at propelling the global development through internet connectivity the underserved regions all through the world. In addition, there is the need to have relevant and appropriate regulatory frameworks to the rapidly changing technology. Moreover, the most pressing issue relating to the future of the internet is not necessarily how the transition in technology will occur but rather the strategy put in place to manage the process of evolution and change (Breene, 2016).
In conclusion, the internet and the web have evolved over the years to their present state, standing the test of technological advancements. The two forms a formidable system that has revolutionized the computer and the communication world. This paper has looked into the history of both the internet and the web. Furthermore, it has assessed the future of the internet, discussing both the opportunities it presents and the challenges thereof.
- Abbate, J. (1999). Inventing the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Breene, K. (2016, Jan 17). What is the Future of the Internet? Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/what-is-the-future-of-the-internet/
- Gil, P. (2017, Jul 7). The Difference Between the Internet and the Web. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/difference-between-the-internet-and-the-web-2483335.
- Gillies, J., & Cailliau, R. (2000). How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Kim, B. (2005). Internationalizing the Internet the Co-evolution of Influence and Technology. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Leiner, B. M., Cerf, V. G., Clark, D. D., Kahn, R. E., Kleinrock, L., Lynch, D. C., Postel, J., Roberts, L. G., & Wolff, S. (1997). Brief History of the Internet. Retrieved from https://www.internetsociety.org/internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet/
- Ryan, J. (2010). A history of the Internet and the digital future. London: Reaktion Books.