Who remembers dialling up to connect to the internet and hearing that ‘bleeping-whirring’ noise as you waited?
That may seem like a long time ago, but it really wasn’t. Everyone these days expects a quick, stable, speedy internet connection and today it delivers just that, mostly. But it is only going to get faster as broadband and wireless technologies improve. As it speeds up you don’t want your business to be left behind. So here we outline some key milestones in the internet’s development and how you can ensure your business gets the best out of it.
The internet was invented in the late 1960s by the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, part of the US government and allowed multiple computers to communicate and connect on a single network. It evolved and the use of the internet grew outside of government and saw it being sold to commercial businesses in the mid-1990s.
Although the majority of businesses were quick to use the internet, back then, you required a phone line to dial-up and connect and when you were on the internet, phone calls couldn’t be made on the same line.
Speed was a significant issue back then. By 1998 the best connection a business could hope for was 56Kbps. This meant that if you wanted to download a file, you were in for a wait! Streaming music or films just wasn’t possible. Plus, if you had a connection it was very expensive with some of the earliest modems costing around £400.
Broadband and Wi-Fi
It evolved again and in the early 2000s, broadband came into play and replaced dial-up. Roll out and uptake was quick for both commercial and residential use, and by 2007 half of all internet users had a broadband connection. Broadband allowed more data to be transferred as it was always on and didn’t have to be ‘dialled’ into.
At the same time, Wireless Internet started being offered to businesses and the public. Wi-Fi routers and access points started appearing in 2001 and quickly saw wireless devices become the norm. Wireless hotspots started to pop up in coffee shops, retails stores and of course offices, this allowed people to work from wherever they wanted.
3, 4 and now 5G
Alongside all this was the other evolution of the internet, that of mobile. Mobile internet really took off with the development of 3G. This third-generation could reach speeds of 220Kbps and transformed how people used their mobile phones, as they could now email and surf the web a lot easier than before. 4G was released in 2010 and provided us with around 15Mbps and now all eyes are on the rollout of 5G which will deliver 20Gbps.
Out of this world Internet
One of the latest evolutions comes from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Known as StarLink, this service is currently in beta around the world and promises to deliver wireless high-speed internet from satellites orbiting the Earth. This is the perfect solution for remote locations without internet or reliable telecoms infrastructure.
On a clear night, you may be able to see the string of StarLink satellites travelling overhead.
All this has happened relatively quickly over the last 26 years, so imagine where we will be in a few more. Our reliance on the internet has made many businesses sign up for deals for 3-5 years or more to ensure that they have a great connection and the speed they need. But we advise caution on long-term deals. As we have shown the internet is evolving at a fast pace and if you sign up for a deal now, the chances are, in a year or two you’ll be able to get even better, faster and cheaper deals. Shorter deals for your home and business internet access are advised to ensure you get the best service and you don’t get left behind.