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See How Fast ARPANET Spread in Just Eight Years

The internet of today touches the vast majority of the globe—and beyond—but not so long ago the net had a much more modest footprint. On October 29, 1969, says the Computer History Museum, “the first data travelled between two nodes of the ARPANET, a key ancestor of the Internet.” From its humble beginnings, when the network [...]

The development of ARPANET, the precursor of the modern internet, from December 1969 to March 1977. Photo: Heart et al, via Larry Press

The internet of today touches the vast majority of the globeand beyond—but not so long ago the net had a much more modest footprint. On October 29, 1969, says the Computer History Museum, “the first data travelled between two nodes of the ARPANET, a key ancestor of the Internet.” From its humble beginnings, when the network connected just four institutions—”UCLA’s Network Measurement Center, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), University of California-Santa Barbara and University of Utah“—ARPANET grew. You can see exactly how much and how quickly in the animated gif above, which covers ARPANET’s first years and is made up from photos published online by Larry Press.

More from Smithsonian.com:

NASA Uses Interplanetary Internet to Control Robot in Germany

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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