Telecommunications TimelineLast edited on January 15, 2012 by Michel Luca Gilbert
This telecommunications timeline will be continually added to over the months and years, with the hope that it will serve as an increasingly comprehensive timeline of major events in the telecommunications industry. If you know of some relevant events, feel free to send them to us at email@example.com.
Table of Contents
- The work of Joseph Henry and Michael Faraday with electromagnetism sets the stage for the modern age of electronic communications.
- Pantelegraph is invented by Abbe Giovanna Caselli. He becomes the first person to transmit a still image over wires.
- Willoughby Smith conducted experiments with Selenium and light. Together with his assistant, Joseph May, he determined that the electrical resistance of selenium is decreased when it is exposed to light. This discovery makes it possible to develop technologies that can represent images as electrical signals. Selenium eventually becomes critical in the manufacturing of photoelectric cells and the television.
- George Carey, a civil servant from Boston, proposes sending every component of a picture over multiple circuits.
- Alexander Graham Bell transmits the human voice electronically and the telephone is born. (March 10)
- Paul Nipkow successfully sends images with 18 lines of resolution over wires using a rotating metal disk technology he calls the electric telescope.
- Eugen Goldstein, an early pioneer in X-ray technology, coins the term cathode ray to describe the light emitted when electric current was forced through a vacuum within a cathode. He determined that a concave cathode emitted cathode rays that all focused in one point. He also proved that the characteristics of those rays were attributable to the material of which cathode was made, and that they could induce chemical reactions that are normally caused by sunlight (e.g., photochemical reactions).
- Constantin Perskyi, a Russian scientist, is credited with being the first to use the word television in a paper he read at the World's Fair in Paris, where the first International Congress of Electricity was being held.
- Boris Rosing combines a cathode ray tube (CRT) with Paul Nipkow's mechanical disk and constructs the first functional mechanical television. Mechanical televisions eventually gave way to all electronic televisions.
- Both Campbell Swinton and Boris Rosing propose the use of CRTs to project images. Working independently, they each develop electronic scanning methods for reproducing images.
- John Logie Baird successfully transmits the first greyscale television image with 30 lines of resolution at five frames per second in October of 1925. His work was largely based on Paul Nipkow's work with mechanical television, and would eventually be displaced by all electronic systems. Baird had done private demonstrations of his initial work as early as February 1924 and had held the first public demonstration of a prototype in March of 1925.
- Vladimir Zworkin files a patent for an improved cathode ray receiving tube, which he names the Kinescope. Two days later, he reads a paper about his invention at a convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers.
- Vladimir Zworkin successfully demonstrates the operation of a new camera tube that was dubbed the Iconoscope. The iconscope (which he called an electric eye) becomes the cornerstone for future television development. Zworkin later develops the kinescope for picture display (aka the reciever).
- President Roosevelt signs the Communications Act of 1934 into law. The act creates the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and dissolves the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). It also recognizes the Bell System as a "natural monopoly," setting the stage for decades of litigation. (June)
- In an attempt to improve signal reception and sales, John Walson designs and installs a mountain-top antenna and runs coaxial cable with in-line amplifiers to his appliance store in Mahanoy, Pennsylvania. In June of that year, he begins to sell access to his cable to the residents of Mahanoy, creating one of the first community antenna television (CATV) systems in the United States.
- The USSR puts the first artificial satellite in orbit around the planet. Sputnik creates a climate of fear and sets the stage for the Department of Defense (DOD) to step up activities in advanced projects research, leading to the creation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which ultimately funds the launch of the ARPAnet. (October 4)
- U.S. Department of Defense creates the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA's mandate is to ensure that the U.S. maintains a lead in applying state-of-the-art technology for military capabilities and to prevent technological surprise from her adversaries.
- The first request for comment (RFC) is published: "Host Software" by Steve Crocker. (April 7)
- CompuServe is founded. A subsidiary of Golden United Corporation, it was initially created to furnish computing support for Golden United Life Insurance Company and to provide a computer time-sharing service. It eventually comes to support both commercial and non-commercial applications, most notably email.
- The ARPAnet is launched. It is one of the first packet-switching networks and sets the stage for the development of the Internet. The first node is initiated on September 2nd at UCLA. The second node is activated on October 1st at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). The third node is initiated on November 1st at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). The fourth node is added in December at the University of Utah. The first packets from users crossed the network when a remote login attempt was made on October 29th. The system crashed as the letter "G" of "LOGIN" was being typed.
- The ARPAnet is divided into two sections: one military and the other civilian. The entire ARPAnet moves from using the Network Computer Protocol (NCP) to using the TCP/IP protocols.
- Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack found Cisco Systems. Both were computer scientists at Stanford University in California.
- Four Berkeley students write the first implementation of the Domain Name System (DNS) for Unix systems.
- The first TCP/IP Interoperability Conference is held in early December. In 1988 this conference is renamed INTEROP.
- Bernard Daines invents the first Ethernet switch. He later goes on to form the company Grand Junction to market his invention. Grand Junction, instrumental in the creation of Fast Ethernet, is eventually acquired by Cisco.
- The first email gateway is installed between CompuServe and the Internet (at Ohio State University). Another gateway, implemented between MCI's email system and the Internet, is located at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.
- The ARPAnet is decommissioned. (June)
- The World becomes the first commercial provider of dial-up access to the Internet.
- John Romkey demonstrates the Internet Toaster during the INTEROP trade show.
- National Science Foundation (NSF) removes restrictions on commercial use of the NSFNet backbone. This initiates a period of rapid expansion of the Internet.
- Mosaic 2.0 is released. This is the first graphical browser for Windows, the Macintosh, and Unix. (March)
- The NSFNet backbone is upgraded to 155 Mbps; Internet traffic passes 10 terabytes (TB) per month.
- First Virtual becomes the first cyberbank (Internet-based) insured by the FDIC.
- The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TA96) is signed into law by President William J. Clinton. (February 8)
- Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC) completes its merger with Pacific Telesis. (April 1)
- Bell Atlantic completes its merger with NYNEX. (August 14)
- MCI completes its merger with Worldcom and adopts the name MCI Worldcom. (September 15)
- Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC) completes its merger with Southern New England Telephone (SNET). (November 1)
- Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC) completes its merger with Ameritech. (October 8)
- A massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is launched against eight major websites including eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo!. (February 6)
- Bell Atlantic completes its merger with GTE and adopts the name [htpp://verizon.com Verizon Communications]. (June 30)
- Qwest completes its merger with U S West. (July 1)
- Wikipedia, one of the first Internet wikis, goes online and rapidly gains popularity. (Jan 13)
- The 10th Wikipedia article is added. (January)
- The 100th Wikipedia article is added. (February)
- The 1 thousandth Wikipedia article is added. (April)
- The 10 thousandth Wikipedia article is added. (October)
- The 100 thousandth Wikipedia article is added. (October)
- The 1 millionth Wikipedia article is added. (November)
- Sprint completes its merger with Nextel. (August 15)
- Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC) completes its merger with AT&T and adopts the AT&T brand name. (November 21)
- Verizon Communications completes its merger with MCI, but retains the Verizon brand. (January 6)
- AT&T completes its merger with Bellsouth. (December 29)
- FairPoint completes its purchase of Verizon Communications assets in northern New England. (March 31)
- The 10 millionth Wikipedia article is added. (April)