History of the Internet Part 4 – Continuing the Online Timeline

Internet history timeline by Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba

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The Birth of the Internet Continued…

.. places. The initial design work was done in my lab at Stanford. The first draft came out in the fall of 1973 for review by INWG at a meeting at University of Sussex (September 1973).

A paper by Bob Kahn and me appeared in May 1974 in IEEE Transactions on Communications and the first specificationHistory of the Internet of the TCP protocol was published as an Internet Experiment Note in December 1974.

We began doing concurrent implementation at Stanford, BBN, and University College London. So effort at developing the Internet protocols was international from the beginning.

In July 1975, the ARPANET was transferred by DARPA to the Defense Communications Agency (now the Defense Information Systems Agency) as an operational network.

About this time, military security concerns became more critical and this brought Steve Kent from BBN and Ray McFarland from DoD more deeply into the picture, along with Steve Walker, then at DARPA.

At BBN there were two other people: William Plummer and Ray Tomlinson.

It was Ray who discovered that our first design lacked and needed three-way handshake in order to distinguish the start of a new TCP connection from old random duplicate packets that showed up later from an earlier exchange.

At University College London, the person in charge was Peter Kirstein. Peter had a lot of graduate and undergraduate students working in the area, using a PDP-9 machine to do the early work. They were at the far end of a satellite link to England.

Even at the beginning of this work we were faced with using satellite communications technology as well as ARPANET and packet radio. We went through four iterations of the TCP suite, the last of which came out in 1978.

The earliest demonstration of the triple network Internet was in July 1977. We had several people involved. In order to link a mobile packet radio in the Bay Area,

Jim Mathis was driving a van on the San Francisco Bayshore Freeway with a packet radio system running on an LSI-11. This was connected to a gateway developed by .i.Internet: history of: Strazisar, Virginia: Virginia Strazisar at BBN. Ginny was monitoring the gateway and had artificially adjusted the routing in the system.

It went over the Atlantic via a point-topoint satellite link to Norway and down to London, by land line, and then back through the Atlantic Packet Satellite network (SATNET) through a Single Channel Per Carrier (SCPC) system, which had ground stations in Etam, West Virginia, Goonhilly Downs England, and Tanum, Sweden. The German and Italian sites of SATNET hadn’t been hooked in yet.

Ginny was responsible for gateways from packet radio to ARPANET, and from ARPANET to SATNET. Traffic passed from the mobile unit on the Packet Radio network across the ARPANET over an internal point-to-point satellite link to University College London, and then back through the SATNET into the ARPANET again, and then across the ARPANET to the USC Information Sciences Institute to one of their DEC KA-10 (ISIC) machines.

Internet history timelineSo what we were simulating was someone in a mobile battlefield environment going across a continental network, then across an intercontinental satellite network, and then back into a wireline network to a major computing resource in national headquarters.

Since the Defense Department was paying for this, we were looking for demonstrations that would translate to military interesting scenarios.

So the packets were traveling 94,000 miles round trip, as opposed to what would have been an 800-mile round trip directly on the ARPANET. We didn’t lose a bit!

After that exciting demonstration, we worked very hard on finalizing the protocols. In the original design we didn’t distinguish between TCP and IP; there was just TCP. In the mid-1970s, experiments were being conducted to encode voice through a packet switch, but in order to do that we had to compress the voice severely from 64 Kbps to 1800 bps.

If you really worked hard to deliver every packet, to the voice playing out without a break, you had to put lots and lots of buffering in the system to allow sequenced reassembly after retransmissions, and you got a very unresponsive system.

So Danny Cohen at ISI, who was doing a lot of work on packet voice, argued that we should find a way to deliver packets without requiring reliability. He argued it wasn’t useful to retransmit a voice packet end to end. It was worse to suffer a delay of retransmission.

That line of reasoning led to separation of TCP, which guaranteed. …

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