The Other Net
The first nationwide computer research network was the Defense Department’s ARPAnet, which evolved into the modern internet. But it wasn’t the last network of its kind. In 1976, the Department of Energy sponsored the creation of the Magnetic Fusion Energy Network to connect what is today the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center with other research laboratories. Then the agency created a second network in 1980 called the High Energy Physics Network to connect particle physics researchers at national labs. As networking became more important, agency chiefs realized it didn’t make sense to maintain multiple networks and merged the two into one: ESnet.