Internet in the Netherlands celebrates twenty-fifth anniversary




Sunday November 17th at half past three in the afternoon, the Netherlands apply exactly 25 years that was connected to the network that we now know as the Internet. That time was Piet Beertema, system administrator at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, an email that he was connected to the NSFnet, the American network for research institutions and universities. It was this network that would become the Internet as we know it today.

I can haz internet

Obviously saw internet there when very different from now – and Beertema never expected that it would ever become what it is today. “In those early days landlines were stupidly expensive,” says Beertema. “I had not thought possible that the Internet would be for individuals. Someday accessible” That the Internet is still omnipresent in our lives, is not obvious.
Arms race

The history of the Internet began with the U.S. Department of Defense, where an R & D organization Arpa was set up to bring in the arms race with the Soviet Union. Americans back in the lead Because at that time there were few powerful computers, timesharing was interesting, where multiple users from their cheap terminals processes central computers to perform.

To do, to timeshare had several computers can be tied to exchange data. Together Reliable ways to exchange data at that time there were not and the network should continue to function as large parts would fall thereof. It is therefore not chosen a central master computer network traffic coordinated. That would be an Achilles heel, because if that computer would crash, the whole network lie flat. It was for this reason chose a decentralized model. The traffic would be distributed to all computers on the network, called Arpanet would get equally.

The Arpanet could be developed through the principle of packet switching, which was invented in the sixties. Before that time, use was made ​​of circuit switching, in which a separate channel is required for each connection, even if there is no data to be transmitted. Packet-switched networks are more efficient, because data is divided into small packets that are sent separately over the network and the receiver paste them back together. These packets do not need to be controlled, which means the available network capacity can be better exploited. Using the same connection

Packet switching

The Arpanet was in 1985 split into two networks: MILNET, for the army, and National Science Foundation Network, for researchers. Despite the NSFnet was anything but open: be connected to the network could just as a research institution, and each connection had to be approved. The United States also were very strict when it came to connections with other countries.

Last year interviewed Tweakers Piet Beertema, the former CWI system administrator Netherlands joined the Internet
An entry in an access table

In 1982, a similar network set up for research in Europe, the EUnet. Researchers from four countries – the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden – were now able to communicate with each other, but EUnet was nothing on the internet. There was no TCP / IP: instead, use was made of the Unix-to-Unix-copy protocol. This protocol does exactly what the name suggests: the file is sent from computer to computer, just as long to reach the next node. “That was not ideal, slow, and only for e-mail and usenet suitable,” said Beertema opposite Tweakers.

The NSFnet was advanced. In 1983 that deployed the network tcp / ip protocol, which allows direct connections can be established between two different points on the network and the intermediate nodes the packets without intervening by sent to the destination. This allowed computers that were not directly physically connected, yet communicate directly.


Via EUnet researchers could at some point communicate through a 0.3 kbps connection to the United States, but that was not enough for Beertema: he would like to be connected to the NSFnet. “With a connection to the NSFnet we direct mail delivery at the destination, remote login, support for file transfers and much more available to get,” said Beertema.
Under fire

nsfnet Technically, it was trivial to give to NSFnet. Access to a network “Official Internet consisted of nothing more than an entry in an access table”, so said Beertema last year in an interview with Tweakers. To get that entry was, however, permission must be obtained. “And that was the real deal.”

In the United States resistance to close Europe NSFnet to exist and the existing transatlantic EUnet connection was under fire. “Remember, all played in the time of the Cold War,” said Beertema. An avid NSA employee in Austria was dropped, threatened to close the existing connection EUnet off two to three times: the Americans feared that through EUnet would leak information. The point in Austria which was connected EUnet then, was in fact also an “official contact” between the United States and the Soviet Union.

After Internet pioneer Rick Adams at the U.S. Department of Defense lobbied for the CWI and the fanatical NSA’er mouth was gagged, was still decided that the CWI could be connected to the Internet. On November 17, 1988 was therefore the world’s first transatlantic Internet enabled. Netherlands was close the first: the Scandinavian countries had an internet ready, but that did not work yet.

That connection ran over a normal telephone line, so that transatlantic Internet was a costly affair: a call to the United States when it took approximately 4.50 guilders per minute, or nearly 6,500 guilders long call at a day.

That the Internet is able to develop into a ubiquitous device, ultimately due to the European Commission. According Beertema Which broke the monopoly of the telecom providers – in the Netherlands PTT – so as ISPs XS4ALL, Knoware and AlterNet could start offering their services and the Internet could eventually become what it is today.

Piet Beertema find it difficult to predict how the Internet will look like in 25 years. “Who could have imagined that Tim Berners-Lee would get that sometimes no hype would be? So no one can say how the Internet there a few years looks like a brilliant idea in 1988,” said Beertema. Berners-Lee was the hypertext transfer protocol, which forms the core of the world wide web. The world wide web made sure people could come up with internet. In an accessible way in contact

“What if quantum computers become a reality and they might even come to stand in the living room We might get a tunnelend quantum network”, closes the founder of the Internet in the Netherlands off.


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