The Internet: Getting Better with Age
It was forty years ago today,
That the Internet began to play
It’s been going through a lot of styles
But there’s always stuff to raise a smile
I was born during the Gen-X era, before we had the ‘net, PCs, or cell phones. Despite that, my web-savvy quotient is still respectable. But it doesn’t come close to Gen Y, much less Gen Z—populations immersed in a world of Facebook parties and twittering from here to there at all hours around the globe. And maybe it’s because of the technological leaps I’ve seen in my lifetime that I appreciate what the Internet has brought us. Despite its faults and imperfections, it’s key to our everyday existence. The Internet is the new family hearth… the town square… the city forum… the global village. And this cultural pillar turns 40 this week on October 29.
At a number of employers, most recently Cisco, I’ve witnessed its construction, like a dirt road in the countryside, first oiled, then paved; two lanes, then four, then eight. It reminds me of an old Cisco ad.
It’s from the mid-90s, but its message still rings true. Remote access servers followed by Digital subscriber line access and now fiber. Token rings and bridges, have given way to switches and routers. Flip phones, Blackberries, and now iPhones and Droids. My local Bulletin Board System grew into the World Wide Web, and now, into something I don’t even bother to name. It is just there. Until a few years ago, our focus was on building out the broadband wireline platform – building the foundation on which we deploy all our Web 2.0 applications and cloud-based services.
In the not-too-distant future, we’ll be able to say the same about mobile broadband, paving the way to a common experience whether you’re at your desk, on your smartphone, or using any other Internet-connected device you may have. Where ever you are, whenever you are. It all adds up to Borderless Networks – a far cry from where we started, but in many ways, the natural evolution of that first tenuous connection between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute.