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ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)

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ARPANET was a packet-switching network developed in the early 1970s. ARPANET was funded by ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), which later became DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The ARPANET network linked defense facilities, government research laboratories, and university sites. It evolved into the backbone of the Internet, and the term "ARPANET" was officially retired in 1990. However, MILNET (military network) was spun off from ARPANET in 1983. In addition, ARPANET spurred the development of one of the most important protocol suites available today, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). TCP/IP is a set of communications procedures and standards that provide a basis for interconnecting dissimilar computers.

DARPA was interested in interlinking the many different computer systems that were spread out across the country as part of the nation's research and development effort. DARPA's goal was to create a set of nonproprietary communications protocols that would make it easy to connect many different computers together. Much of the original work was done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with the help of companies such as BBN (Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc.). In 1980, the first TCP/IP modules were installed.

One of the most important aspects of TCP/IP's development was the program of testing and certification carried out by the government to ensure that developers met published TCP/IP standards, which were (and still are) available to the public free of licensing arrangements. This ensured that developers did not alter the standard to fit their own needs and possibly cause confusion in the rest of the TCP/IP community. Today, the use of TCP/IP protocols virtually assures interconnection (and in some cases, interoperability) among systems that use it for communications.

Refer to RFC 2235 (Hobbes' Internet Timeline, November 1997). Also see "Routing on the Internet," which covers some of the historical aspects of routing.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
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