Prelude to Online Gaming – the Internet is Born

Khang Thi-le, 2/23/16

    You cannot talk about online gaming, without talking about the history of the internet. The origin of the internet begins with ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency). President Eisenhower established ARPA in 1958 in retaliation to the launching of the Soviet satellite “Sputnik” during the Cold War era. Eisenhower knew that technology was critical for the protection of the United States (this explains why science, technology, and math suddenly mattered in school curriculum). The launching of Sputnik shocked the US defense ministry; the Soviet Union displayed its technological superiority. This event triggered not only the creation of ARPA, but also NASA.

J.C.R. Liclider aka Professor “Lick”

[smartslider3 slider=4]

    Many people do not even recognize his name, but Liclider laid the foundation for the field of computer science when it was first established. Liclider was a director of a sub-branch of ARPA known as IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office). One of his most important contributions was his research and pursuing of “time sharing.” Liclider proposed the idea that computers could be used to “message” to one-another. It was agreed upon that his idea should be pursued due to the importance of communication during the Cold War in case of a nuclear attack.

The First Message

All of the work was to be executed by five institutes. These five institutes were: University of California (LA), University of Utah, University of California (Santa Barbara), Massachusetts Institute of Tech., and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International. In 1969, the first message was sent across two computers using two IMPs (interface message processor IMPs aka a router). The first two IMPs were installed at the University of California and SRI International. The first message sent between two computers was “lo,” it was an attempt to transmit the word “login” which was achieved about an hour later.


    The internet was created indirectly because of the Cold War. The Cold War also pressed the importance of technology, science and mathematics in the United States. Eisenhower founded ARPANET as well as NASA. Liclider’s contribution laid the foundation for “time sharing,” or the communication between two computers. Liclider did not create the time sharing network, five institutions did. First generation routers (IMPs) were as big as modern-day refrigerators.

The Cold War in 3 Pictures

[smartslider3 slider=5]


The Internet Grows

    A year after the time sharing network was established (1969), 9 more universities were added to ARPANET network. Eventually, the first overseas connection would be established using satellite. The first international university added to ARPANET was the University of London in the United Kingdom. Afterwards many new networks were created, such as MILNET and NSFNET. NSFNET was the first network that allowed people outside of universities to access the network, which was a major milestone for online gaming.

NCP to TCP/IP – A United Network aka “The Internet”

    In the late 1970s the first home computers enter the market and become increasingly popular in the mid-1980s, sprouting an interest in online communication and entertainment. In 1983 TCP/IP(Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) replaces ARPANET’s obsolete NCP(Network Controlled Protocol). TCP/IP adaptation marked a major turning point because it allowed different networks from different sources to be connected to a single giant network, also known as the internet, this allowed people to transfer files and email. TCP/IP became standard, thus marking 1983 the “birth of the internet.”

Then the Internet Exploded

    Throughout the 80s and 90s, modern internet rose and paved way to modern online gaming. In 1986, NSF established super computers to speed up internet connection, also known as the NSF backbone. Prior to these supercomputers, the internet was running at 50 Kbps, afterwards it operated at 56 Kbps. To give you a comparison, the average network speed nowadays in the United States is 12.6mb/s. In 1990 ARPANET shutdown and NSFNET became its successor. In 1991, the NSFNET upgraded the backbone even further to run at 45Mbit/s and finally at 145Mbps during the final years of NSFNET. In the same year, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web, and internet browsers like mosaic popularized the World Wide Web. Finally, in 1995, NSFNET shuts down and the internet goes commercial, springing an era of modern day innovations such as Myspace, YouTube, and online gaming.