The internet started as a small "net" of interconnected computers, but how were those computers connected? Was a chip manufactured to be installed onto the computer? Was it software?

  • Your titled asked about "wirelessly connected computers" but the body appears to be asking about the internet instead. Could you clarify?
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 12:49
  • @Semaphore Yes, sorry - I've edited the question.
    – crgsqdmn
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 12:58
  • Thanks. The main problem (as I see it) is, which event do you consider to be the first time computers were connected to the Internet?
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 13:03
  • 1
    I'm not sure whether I understand the question - obviously there has to be a hardware component. Or is your question whether the connection ran on telegraph masts or could already use the telephone network?
    – user45891
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 14:20
  • 1
    I was hesitant to downvote, in order not to discourage tech-history questions such as this one… but it's really written too poorly, so much that I'm not sure what he's asking either. A rewrite would likely help much.
    – o0'.
    Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


The wikipedia article on ARPANET explains the earliest architecture. Communication was over leased telephone lines using acoustic modems. Each node was run by a small, specialized computer that did routing. Communication between the routers and the local computers was through a serial port. To read the packets off the serial port, the local machine would have to have some kind of software installed (what we would call today a "tcp/ip stack").

  • well, those 'small' computers were still huge by today's standards. Think PDPs :)
    – jwenting
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 17:13

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