The topic of how radio evolves and embraces available technology is one that describes the hobby itself. From spark-gap through AM, SSB, and FM our community picked up or invented solutions to make communication possible.
When the internet came along it too became a tool ripe for picking and in 1997 a connection between a radio and the internet was made with the Internet Radio Linking Project or IRLP when Dave VE7LTD, a student at the University of British Columbia, joined the UBC Amateur Radio Society. Using a radio, some hardware, and a computer, you could send audio between...
The Most Exciting Era in Amateur Radio -- the Merging of Radio with Computer/Internet Technology by Reg, VE7IG
We are now in one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting, eras in amateur radio. This is due to the successful merging of radio with computer technology (including internet). So many new things are happening all at the same time. Some have been around for a while but are just now seeing usage peaking way up. One of these is IRLP. Most repeater systems have a standalone IRLP node where, as long as the internet is up, you can talk to hams around the world through your local repeater.