vision for a research program aimed at networking
cable systems grew in size and number, and in the types of signals or services they provided, a full-fledged, wide-reaching industry began to take shape. According to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), by 1962 there were already nearly 800 cable systems with almost 900,000 subscribers in the United States
In the early 1960s, the vision for a research program aimed at networking computers took shape at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA). As early as 1965, ARPA was sponsoring research into cooperative time-sharing computers and packet switching. Plans for the ARPANET began to take shape in 1966, and in 1968 DARPA awarded a key contract to Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN) to produce a key component in implementing the network, interface message processors (or IMPs). A year later, the first nodes in the ARPANET became active, allowing research in host-to-host protocols and how best to utilize network resources. By 1971, the ARPANET included 15 nodes, and work was underway on e-mail. As noted in an earlier CSTB report, however, the ARPANET was not DARPA’s only networking research activity—the organization also supported related research on terrestrial and satellite packet radio networks.
The mid to late 1980s saw continuing DARPA-supported research and development in areas such as routers and their protocols. Meanwhile, the speed of the NSFNet’s backbone saw great improvement, and the Domain Name System, a critical component facilitating Internet growth and reliability, was introduced. NSF support was also critical to the development of the first widely used graphical Web browser, Mosaic, which was developed in 1993 by a researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.