ARPANET was the first open packet-switched computer network that was put into use in 1969 and was decommissioned in 1989. Its main use was for academia and research.

FAQ About the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET)

The U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, abbreviated ARPANET, was the world’s first successful packet-switched network. Here are some frequently asked questions about this groundbreaking technology.


ARPANET was a wide-area network developed by the United States Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The network was designed to allow different research institutions to share information and collaborate, regardless of their physical location. ARPANET was decades ahead of its time and paved the way for modern internet technology.

When Was ARPANET Created?

ARPANET was created in 1969 and first connected four universities in California. At the time, the network was used primarily for academic research, but its applications quickly expanded to include military communications.

When Was ARPANET Finally Decommissioned?

ARPANET was finally decommissioned in 1989, after 20 years of operation. By the end of the network’s life, it had connected hundreds of universities, research institutions, and military installations across the United States.

How Did ARPANET Work?

At its core, ARPANET was a packet-switched network. This means that instead of sending entire messages in one go, information was broken down into packets and transmitted independently. ARPANET used specialized protocols to ensure that these packets were routed correctly to their intended destination.

What Were Some of the Key Milestones in ARPANET’s History?

Over the course of its 20-year lifespan, ARPANET achieved a number of significant milestones, including:

  • The first successful transmission between two computers, which took place in October 1969
  • The development of email, which initially began as a way for researchers to communicate with one another on the network
  • The creation of the first wide-area file sharing network, known as the File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • The development of the first internet service providers, which allowed individuals to connect to the network from their homes and offices

What Was ARPANET’s Legacy?

ARPANET may have been decommissioned in 1989, but its legacy lives on. Many of the technologies and protocols that ARPANET developed continue to be used today, including TCP/IP, DNS, and email. Without ARPANET, the modern internet as we know it would not exist.

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