History of the Internet Part 2
Internet History Timeline By Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba
Courtesy of: Webmaster Course.Com
The Birth of the ARPANET Continued…
Larry Roberts had gone from Lincoln Labs to DARPA, where he was in charge of the Information Processing Techniques Office.
He was concerned that after building the network, we could do something with it. So out of UCLA came an initiative to design protocols for hosts, which Steve Crocker led.
In April 1969, Steve issued the very first Request for Comment. He observed that we were just graduate students at the time and so had no authority.
So we had to find a way to document what we were doing without acting like we were imposing anything on anyone. He came up with the RFC methodology to say, “Please comment on this, and tell us what you think.”
Initially, progress was sluggish in getting the protocols designed and built and deployed. By 1971 there were about nineteen nodes in the initially planned ARPANET, with thirty different university sites that ARPA was funding.
Things went slowly because there was an incredible array of machines that needed interface hardware and network software.
We had Tenex systems at BBN running on DEC-10s, but there were also PDP8s, PDP-11s, IBM 360s, Multics, Honeywell… you name it. So you had to implement the protocols on each of these different architectures. In late 1971,
Larry Roberts at DARPA decided that people needed serious motivation to get things going. In October 1972 there was to be an International Conference on Computer Communications, so Larry asked Bob Kahn at BBN to organize a public demonstration of the ARPANET.
It took Bob about a year to get everybody far enough along to demonstrate a bunch of applications on the ARPANET. The idea was that we would install a packet switch and a Terminal Interface Processor or TIP in the basement of the Washington Hilton Hotel, and actually let the public come in and use the ARPANET, running applications all over the U.S.
A set of people who are legendary in networking history were involved in getting that demonstration set up.
Bot Metcalfe was responsible for the documentation; Ken Pogran who, with David Clark and Noel Chiappa, was instrumental in developing an early ring-based local area network and gateway, which became Proteon products, narrated the slide show; Crocker and Postel were there.
Jack Haverty, who later became chief network architect of Oracle and was an MIT undergraduate, was there with a holster full of tools.
Frank Heart who led the BBN project; David Walden; Alex McKenzie; Severo Ornstein; and others from BBN who had developed the IMP and TIP.
The demo was a roaring success, much to the surprise of the people at AT&T who were skeptical about whether it would work.
At that conference a collection of people convened:
Donald Davies from the UK, National Physical Laboratory, who had been doing work on packet switching concurrent with DARPA; Remi Despres who was involved with the French Reseau Communication par Paquet (RCP) and later Transpac, their commercial X.25 network; Larry Roberts and Barry Wessler, both of whom later joined and led BBN’s Telenet; Gesualdo LeMoli, an Italian network researcher; Kjell Samuelson from the Swedish Royal Institute; John Wedlake from British Telecom; Peter Kirstein from University College London; Louis Pouzin who led the Cyclades/Cigale packet network research program at the Institute Recherche d’Informatique et d’Automatique (IRIA, now INRIA, in France).
Roger Scantlebury from NPI, with Donald Davies may also have been in attendance, Alex McKenzie from BBN almost certainly was there.
I’m sure I have left out some and possibly misremembered others. There were a lot of other people, at least thirty, all of whom had
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