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Understanding the Internet: A Clear Guide to Internet Technologies (Computer Weekly Professional Series)

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Some parts of the following explanation have been simplified. As a result a few sections will not be as detailed as some readers would like. I make no apologies for this. There are many excellent textbooks that cover the fine detail. The purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive “big picture” of the Internet and the technologies that underpin it.

What is all the noise about? Within the last few years everyone has been talking about the World Wide Web, and wide area networks. It seems that only a few months ago the information technology department was constantly pushing for local area networks and before that the mainframe always needed expanding. Why the sudden shift and is this simply a new fad?

The concept of the Internet started back in the late 1960s when part of the US Department of Defence was looking at ways of providing a “survivable” means of communication between different military bases. They wanted a relatively simple suite of programs that would enable communication to continue between different military sites in the event of a nuclear attack on the USA or any of its West European allies.

The concept was that there should be a variety of different lines of communication between different bases. If one base was destroyed then communication between the remaining bases would not be completely disrupted. This simple starting point rapidly developed from a fledgeling concept to, in the late 1970s, a relatively mature technology.
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