The internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. It connects millions of consumers and businesses around the world and continues to evolve.
When did the internet launch?
The internet’s origins date back to the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), a U.S. military-funded research network launched in 1969. APARNET connected five sites.
ARPANET was an early packet switching network and leveraged the protocol suite TCP/IP. These technologies provided the technical foundation for the internet.
ARPANET was renamed the internet in 1984. At this time, the internet linked 1,000 hosts at university and corporate labs.
Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web, an internet-based information resource, in 1990. The World Wide Web provided people with convenient access to data online via websites and hyperlinks. As such, the World Wide Web helped drive the commercialization of the internet.
How many people use the internet?
The 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite indicates more than 4 billion people use the internet. Additionally, Qmee estimates more than 822,000 websites are created every day; this equates to approximately 571 websites per minute.
- Mobile devices: 77% of Americans currently own a smartphone, and approximately 53% own a tablet, according to Pew Research Center.
- Social media: 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook, 35% use Instagram, and 24% use Twitter, Pew Research Center reports.
- Wi-Fi: More than 9 billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices were in use in 2017, the Worldwide Broadband Alliance estimates.
- Cloud computing: 50% of all companies either have a cloud-first or cloud-only strategy, North Bridge indicates.
- Internet of Things (IoT): At least 8.4 billion connected “things” were in use in 2017, Gartner estimates.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Applications: Approximately 43% of companies ran purely on Salesforce, NetSuite, and other SaaS applications in 2017.
What does the future hold for the internet?
- A “universal internet” will go from pipe dream to reality. Internet users won’t need to worry about bad internet connections or service interruptions. Instead, internet connectivity will be constant, automatic, and permanent.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will change the way people connect to the world. AR and VR will enable mobile device users to embed the internet into real-world activities.
- Machines will drive automation. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will be embedded into internet-enabled devices. This will drive automation of every day and high-level tasks for businesses.
- The IoT will mature. As the demand for IoT-enabled devices increases, more devices than ever before will enable users to connect to the internet.
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