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How The Internet Got Started Essay

801 words - 3 pages

Some thirty years ago , the Rand corporation , America's formost cold war thinktank, faced a strange straegic problem. How could the US authrieties succesfullycommunicate after a nuclear war?Postnuclear America would need a comand-and-control network, linked from cityto city , state to state, base to base . But no matter how throughly that network wasarmored or protected , its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impactof atomic bombs. A nuclear attack would reduce any conceivable network to tatters.And how would the network itself be commanded and controlled ? Any central authority,any network central citadel, would be an obvious and immediate target for man enemymissle. Thecenter of the network would be the very first place to go.RAND mulled over this grim puzzle in deep military secrecy, and arrived at adaring solution made in 1964.The principles were simple . The network itself would beassumed to be unreliable at all times . It would be designed from the get-go to tyranscendits all times . It would be designed from the get-go to transcend its own unrreliability. Allthe nodes from computers in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes , eachnode with its own authority to originate , pass , and recieve messages. The messageswould be divided into packets, each packet seperatly addressed. Each packet would beginat some specified source node , and end at some other specified destination node . Eachpacket would wind its way through the network on an individual basis.In fall 1969, thefirst such node was insalled in UCLA. By December 1969, there were 4 nodes on theinfant network, which was named arpanet, after its Pentagon sponsor.The four computers could even be programed remotely from the other nodes. thanks toARPANET scientists and researchers could share one another's computer facilities bylong -distance . This was a very handy service , for computer-time was precious in theearly '70s. In 1971 ther were fifteen nodes in Arpanet; by 1972, thirty-seven nodes. And itwas good.As early as 1977,TCP/IP was being used by other networks to link toARPANET.ARPANET itself remained fairly tightly controlled,at least until 1983,when itsmilitary segment broke off and became MILNET. TCP/IP became more common,entireother networks fell into the digital embrace of the Internet,and messily adhered. Since thesoftware called TCP/IP was public domain and he basic technology was decentralized andrather anarchic by its very nature,it as difficult to stop people from barging in linking upsomewhere or other. Nobody wanted to stop them from joining this branching complex ofnetworks,whichcame tobe known as the...

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