Internet & World Wide Web

By Villafuerte, Trade Undersecretary Nelly Favis | Manila Bulletin, March 8, 2000 | Go to article overview

Internet & World Wide Web


Villafuerte, Trade Undersecretary Nelly Favis, Manila Bulletin


At any given time, millions of people of different races and countries are engaged in computer interacting and interconnecting. One basis of the explosive growth of cyberspace today is the staggering size of the major computer networks, not to mention the smaller networks linked by the Internet in more than 50 countries.

Nobody really has the exact figures of the number of computers and network that make up the worldwide Net. (Net is the shortcut term for the Internet.) The Internet does not refer to a single network but a combination of various private networks that are joined at certain exchange points throughout the world. Some say that there are more than 30,000 networks linking about 10 million computers that are being used by millions of people.

In the United States and Canada alone, about 50.6 million are now using the Internet. And the figure increases every day. The formidable strength of the Internet is that it is not controlled by one big central computer network. Its broad base is formed by the scattered millions of individual computers connected to one another. This being so, there is no danger that the whole Internet system will crash at one time.

It was way back in 1969 that experiments linking computers to one another started. The experiments were initiated by the US Department of Defense and funded by the Pentagon's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA).

The experiments, which started as a government and educational research project, were aimed at developing a network of computers that would not depend on a single central host but where control would be distributed to a network of computers, thus eliminating the danger of shutdown in communications in case of war or a nuclear attack.

A technology known as "packet switching" was used where data or information was broken up into small packets and transmitted independently of other packets. Through the packet switching technology, the network system can continue to function whether or not some parts are incapacitated by sabotage or other factors.

The network was called Arpanet after ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency). Arpanet's major accomplishment was the formulation of rules or "protocols" for transmitting data or information among the various types of computer networks.

It was through the "protocols" (internetworking) that the groundwork was laid for the eventual development of the worldwide Net that we now have - linking countries in a massive computer web beyond the imagination of the pioneers of the Net.

In 1980 the networking of the computers across national boundaries came to be known as Internet. Today, it is estimated that every 30 minutes there is at least one computer linked to the Internet. …

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