Tech which makes Sense

The Internet evolved out of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) communications network research that began in the 1960s. In the 1970s, I wrote articles on Tyment and Telenet, some of the first commercial business networks that preceded today’s Internet. The Internet was born when the Internet Protocol suite – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol was standardized in the early 1980s. It has since evolved from a text-based university research network using programs based on VERONICA and ARCHIE Disk Operating System (DOS) on a PC to the multimedia Internet we know today. Within the next decade, the Internet will carry all the communications on the planet.

To be part of the Internet, a device must be physically connected to the Internet. This connection can be a copper wire cable, a fiber optic cable, a wireless radio channel connection, a cellular wireless connection, infrared, or any other medium that can carry digital transmissions (pulses of light or electricity) in some form. . The device is a computer, tablet, cell phone, or some other device that runs programs that use a hardware interface to the Internet. Chances are the most used interface on the planet is an Ethernet card found in virtually every computer. All Internet interface devices are assigned a number. This number is a 48-bit (or possibly nowadays 64-bit) binary number permanently recorded on the device. The number is called a Media Access Control (MAC) address. I once bought a very cheap Ethernet card made somewhere in Asia that had a MAC address of 00-00-00-00-01-76. It was definitely a counterfeit card that did not meet the MAC address specifications.

All Internet communication uses numbers. These numbers are Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and not MAC addresses. Internet Protocol addresses are 32-bit numbers (and now also 128-bit numbers) ranging from to They are assigned to a device when it connects to the Internet. IP addresses can change, but a device tends to use the same address on its local network over and over again. IP addresses are leased to devices.

Some devices support World-Wide Web (WWW or W3) sites. The heart of the World-Wide Web is hypertext documents that are linked to each other by hyperlinks: references to related information on other WWW servers. The WWW was born in the early 1990s. Before the WWW, programs and other information were shared via bulletin board computers. A bulletin board computer was a computer that answered the phone and connected the calling computers to the programs and other information stored on your drive. It seemed that in an instant of two or three years the bulletin boards were replaced by websites on the Internet and the WWW.

We find Internet sites using the name of the site. This name is translated into an IP address by a Domain Name Service (DNS) server. This is like using a phone book to find the phone number of someone you want to call. The DNS server looks up the route to the IP address assigned to the WWW server that hosts the website. Because IP addresses are software assigned to Internet-connected devices, they are easily organized in a hierarchical fashion and support routing from one IP address to another and vice versa. All Internet communications use IP addresses. MAC addresses, which are absolute, are not used for Internet routing, but are used for device identification and diagnostics.

Higher Internet transmission speeds have resulted in Internet content shifting from simple text and programs to transmissions of images, voice, and video. Several years ago, companies realized that movies and television would be distributed via high-speed Internet communications, so they began purchasing movies and other content for future distribution. Now Netfilx, HULU, and others are competing with video-on-demand to provide homes that are connected to the Internet through high-speed channels.

What do I mean by high speed. The first computer communications I used ran at 300 bits per second. At the time it was great. Soon the speed went to 1,200 bps, to 9,600 bps and finally to 56 Kbps. All done over old technology phone lines. The 1200 bps speed was used to send my seminar notes to Digital Equipment Corporation via the MCI Mail service. The MCI Mail service would deliver a laser printed document to the sender the same day for $10. My course notes were about 100 pages long, so my cost would be $99 for this quick delivery of laser-printed documents. The only problem was that at 1200 bps it took 8 hours to load the notes into MCI Mail. Also, MCI Mail never anticipated such a large message, so my message crashed in their Boston hub. The notes did come through (for free), but not how I had envisioned them.

Soon the golden speed was the phone company’s T carrier speed of 1.544 Mbps. This carried 24 simultaneous voice phone calls or a large amount of data. When I researched this speed, it cost $3,000 to install and then $800 per month on-going. Within a year, dial-up communication speeds increased to 768 Kbps up to /3 Mbps from the Internet. The 768 Kbps is a speed equivalent to half T of the carrier. The cost there was around $100 per month. Today my internet communication speed is 35 Mbps up and down and it costs around $100 per month.

A broadcast HDTV program requires a communication speed of approximately 1.544 Mbps. With newer compression algorithms, the speed could be lower. My point here is that at 3 Mbps below the internet, one or maybe two devices (TV or computer) could watch a video, but today at 35 Mbps, multiple devices (Upstairs TV, Kids TV, Family room TV and computers) could all be watching videos at the same time. Today, in a home, this high-speed Internet link carries connections for computers to send and receive video, TV programming, wired phone calls, tablets, and cell phones to surf the web or make calls. This growing demand for Internet communications supporting voice, video, and data services has maintained the Internet communications network in the United States as one of the leading communications networks and the largest national Internet communications network on the planet.

It is also imperative that freedom of expression be unrestricted on the Internet. Websites that advocate terror as a valid form of politics are abhorrent to me. However, having any government control over the Internet is more abhorrent. When people have unlimited access to information, they tend to make decisions that are more good than bad. Any restriction of information could lead to the manipulation of people on the planet. Manipulation for what purpose, political power. Political power is addictive and tends to be bad. When one doesn’t know better, he tends to blindly follow based on what he knows.

This year the televisions now connect directly to the Internet. It is obvious that the only communication network for the entire planet Earth will become the Internet within a decade. At that time, the Internet will carry all communications across the entire planet. Hopefully, it will fulfill the dreams and aspirations of its creators by becoming the planet-wide, unrestricted information distribution tool that we all use in our daily lives.

nerd pete
“Your Friend on a Glitchy Planet (c)”
(c) P. D. Moulton

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