"net-like arrangement of threads, wires, etc.," 1550s, from net (n.) + work (n.). Extended sense of "any complex, interlocking system" is from 1839 (originally in reference to transport by rivers, canals, and railways). Meaning "broadcasting system of multiple transmitters" is from 1914; sense of "interconnected group of people" is from 1947.
1887, "to cover with a network," from network (n.). From 1940 as "to broadcast over a (radio) network;" 1972 in reference to computers; 1980s in reference to persons. Related: Networked; networking.
network net·work (nět'wûrk')
A fabric or structure in which cords, threads, or wires cross at regular intervals.
A body structure resembling such a fabric or structure.
A system of computers and peripherals, such as printers, that are linked together. A network can consist of as few as two computers connected with cables or millions of computers that are spread over a large geographical area and are connected by telephone lines, fiberoptic cables, or radio waves. The Internet is an example of very large network. See more at LAN, WAN.
To solicit opinion and aid from associates with common interests: I'm networking this question, but nobody has a certain answer (1980s+)