The internet is a global network of networks. It started with the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense in 1969 with its four host computer systems at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford and the University of Utah, but it wasn’t until 1976 with the development of packet-switching techniques able to traffic condensed packets of information between dissimilar network technologies that it incorporated other existing networks, and not until 1979 that it developed a set of protocols and standards for all networks on the InterNet. At this point there were only 213 host computers in the Net, each of which had an IP number. All operated under the Defense Data Network.The next major development was the Domain-Naming System in 1984 – a tree structure to delegate host naming and addressing to the local level. The top level domain name for Australia is ‘au’, although top level domains don’t have to be countries. There can be a number of sub-domains nested below this, for example, ‘edu’ for education, and finally the host name. In 1986, at which point there were 1,024 hosts with IP numbers and domain addresses, the US Government National Science Foundation (NSF) took over management of the Net and expanded it to include the scientific communities and its own six super computer centres.
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