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A potted history of the Internet
In 1962, the US government's RAND Corporation was commissioned by the US Air Force to work out how it could maintain command and control of its missiles and bombers after a nuclear attack. The study concluded that a packet switched network was the answer and in 1968, the US's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) contracted US company BBN to test the therory by linking together the major computers of four US universities using a 50 Kbps network.
In 1969, the resultant ‘ARPAnet’ was brought online and during the following year, more government agencies, universities and companies were plugged in to the network as it slowly grew in size. Packet switching worked but further growth of the ARPAnet was becoming limited by its data transfer protocol: Network Control Protocol (NCP).