Another interesting element, apart from the rapidity of change, is the factor of accident or coincidence, often
traceable to a personal event or a meeting of one or two people in critical circumstances.
- Ben Segal, A Short History of Internet Protocols at CERN, April, 1995.
The European Network (EUnet) spread the ARPANET throughout
the research community in Europe, and connected universities
and research centers in a similar way to how the CSNet worked
in the United States.
Before 1988, the EUnet primarily supported the X.25 protocol,
which was packet oriented
like the Internet's TCP/IP, but used
mainly for point-to-point commercial communications. (Larry
Roberts was CEO of an X.25 network company called Telenet.)
In 1988, Daniel Karrenberg, the system manager at the Amsterdam Mathematics
Centre, which served as the gateway to the ARPANET for email and
Usenet newsgroup communications, and Ben
Segal, the CERN TCP/IP
Coordinator, added routers to the EUnet
that also supported TCP/IP communications.
This provided the potential for full network connectivity to the ARPANET, introduced
the Internet to CERN, and helped Europe convert to TCP/IP through
use of the EUnet.
Shortly thereafter in 1989, John Gamble, the new CERN TCP/IP Coordinator,
connected their network to the EUnet, thereby providing full TCP/IP connectivity
to the ARPANET. Interestingly, this was just in time for Tim
Berners-Lee to use this connection to distribute the first web server on the Usenet to the world, sparking the first public explosion in Internet
use. (Berners-Lee also credits Segal with being something
of a mentor to him while at CERN.)
In the early 1990's, EUnet Ltd. became a commercial spin-off from the European
User Group (EUUG,
under the efforts of an American named Glenn Kowack. Several countries
then leveraged EUnet, incorporated in Ireland, to spread the Internet across
For example, Luc
De Vos in Belgium created EUnet Belgium in 1993 as a spin-off
university of Leuven. De Vos was also subsequently
of the board of EUnet for a time.