The Internet: On its International Origins and Collaborative Vision a work In-Progress

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XII - Conclusion
The earliest development of the Internet and its protocol suite TCP/IP solved the problem of sharing resources across the boundaries of differing networks and peoples. This development took place during the 1970s. It demonstrates the generative capacity of a collaborative environment where the researchers from different nations are able to work together to create an ever evolving and developing Internet. This is one of the most significant developments of the 20th century. Will it be studied and continued? Lessig and others raise the possibility that it may all be lost. A precious heritage has been contributed by visionaries like Licklider and Engelbart, and research pioneers like Kahn and Cerf, Davies and Kirstein, Lundh and Spilling, and Pouzin and Zimmerman. Many netizens have participated to create this important advance for modern society.(35) Its loss would be a great setback to our modern world. A collaborative and resource sharing environment, similar to the one that nourished the Internet's earliest development, continues to be needed, if we are to generate the means for the Internet's ongoing evolution.


(1) There are several books that document aspects of Internet history, and others that document related developments that set the foundation for the Internet. These include Janet Abbate, Inventing the Internet, Cambridge, 1999; Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, N.Y, 1996; Michael Hauben and Ronda Hauben,

Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet, Los Alamitos, 1997, John Naughton, A Brief History of the Future, N.Y., 1999, Arthur Norberg and Judy O'Neill, Transforming Computer Technology, Baltimore, MD, 1996; Howard Reingold, Tools for Thought, 1985 and reprinted 2000; Peter Salus, Casting the Net, Reading, MA, 1995; Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, New York, 2001.
Vint Cerf observes that a lot has been left out of the current histories, and "that a lot of mistakes are made - the popular 'histories' being the worst. Even when principals write, we forget details or get them wrong." And that one of his biggest complaints is that many books focus mainly on the development of the ARPANET. (Cerf, Email, April 13, 2003)
An example of such confusion, mistaking the development of the ARPANET for the development of the Internet, is in The Internet Galaxy, where Manuel Castells writes:
"The origins of the Internet are to be found in ARPANET....The openness of the ARPANET's architecture allowed the future Internet to survive its most daunting challenge....ARPANET's protocols were based on the diversity of networks." (pg 10, 26) (Oxford University Press, 2001)
(2) See Michael Hauben, "Social Forces Behind the Development of Usenet" in Hauben and Hauben, Netizens.

Draft version online at

Also see Robert Kahn, "The Introduction of Packet Satellite Communication", PROC NTC, November 1979.
To make communication possible among differ entities, there is a need to have some common conventions or agreements. In computer networking technology these are called protocols. Describing the nature of communication in computer networking, Cerf and Kirstein write:
A fundamental aspect of interprocess communication is that

no communication can take place without some agreed upon

conventions. The communicating processes must share some physical

transmission medium (wire, shared memory, radio spectrum, etc.)

and they must use common conventions or agreed upon translation

methods in order to successfully exchange and interpret the data

they wish to communicate. One of the key elements in any network

intercommunication strategy is therefore how the required

commonality is to be obtained. In some cases, it is enough to

translate one protocol into another. In others, protocols can be

held in common among the communicating parties.

Vinton Cerf and Peter Kirstein "Issues

in Packet Network Interconnection"

Kahn describes the importance of recognizing the potential for resource sharing in computer networking development:

Computer networks provide a unique mechanism for increased

participation between individuals. Participation in research and

development using the distributed resources of a computer network

can lead to close cooperation between individuals who might

otherwise have little incentive to work together. This interaction

can further cross-fertilize the network community and encourage

even higher levels of achievement through technical cooperation.
Robert Kahn, “Resource Sharing Computer

Communications Networks”

(3) "The ARPA computer communication network, ARPANET ... has been in operation since 1970. The main part of it operates within the US, but it has two tentacles, one to Hawaii and one to Norway and England." (Spilling, Research Proposal to Nato, 1)
First Norway was connected to the ARPANET, and then Great Britain. Later even several Eastern European countries were involved with networking and knew of the ARPANET. (See IIASA Networking Proceedings, Laxenburg, Austria, 1975)
(4) Kirstein, commenting on the importance of the development of TCP/IP as the means to make an Internet possible writes:
"Kahn is largely right, in that the Arpanet community in the US

did not address these problems. The Europeans connected to the

Arpanet did. As early as 1974, mechanisms for connecting British

and French networks with the Arpanet were being explored. By 1978,

interconnection between the British Research Network and the

Arpanet had one link via SATNET and one via International Packet

Switched Service of the British Telecom and Telenet. The technology

used was not that of the final Internet: the motivation was there.

It was just that the protocol wars had not been settled."
He also comments, "This is the difference, the other mechanisms explored internetworking: they did not embrace the IP protocols."

(Kirstein, Email, October 3, 2002)

(5) See Ronda Hauben, "Developing the New Field of Computer Communications" and Ronda Hauben, "The Birth of the Internet: An Architectural Conception for Solving the Multiple Network Problem"

Cyclades was the name for the network and the host computers, while Cigale, for the French word for grasshopper, was the packet switching subnetwork. In 2003, Louis Pouzin was awarded the Legion of Honor award by the French government for his networking contributions to the Internet’s development.

Offering a description of the difficult environment that made solving this problem even more challenging, Kirstein writes:

"By 1973, many PTTs were pursuing packet-switched networks which

led to the emergence of X.25 - which was, incidentally embraced by

Larry Roberts then at Telenet. This was meant to be, and actually was,

an Internet. All the protocol structure could have been built on top

of it. Indeed, in the British Coloured Books, embraced by the British

research network, this was done. The technology was packet switched, but

the interconnection was virtual circuit. This made it more difficult

to move to much higher speeds at the time. However many half truths

were prevalent in the '80s to state that X.25 could not exceed 1

Mbps - at a time that the British research network was operating at 8

Mbps." (Kirstein, Email, October 4, 2002)
(6) French researchers like Pouzin and others working on Cyclades, and US and other researchers involved with the development of the Internet participated in a number of meetings where they met and shared their research. For example, at a relatively early stage in the development of the research to create Cyclades, the director of the program, Louis Pouzin remembers a visit by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf to his project on March 19, 1973. Also during that year, Pouzin lists an INFOTECH workshop and INWG meeting in London, Feb. 20-23, 1973, and INWG meeting in NYC on June 7-8, 1973. He lists a NATO summer school in Brighton at the Univ of Sussex in England on Sept 10-14, 1973, and an ACM Data Communications Symposium in Tampa, Nov. 13-15, 1973. (Pouzin, Email, April 28, 2003)
(7) Robert Kahn also explains how there was the need to have access to an experimental system in order to develop a Satellite packet switching network. "This is the context in which an experimental program on packet satellite technology was first raised with the British Post Office, with... Comsat and subsequently with the Norwegian Telecommunications Administration and the NDRE." Kahn, "The Introduction of Packet Satellite Communications", Sec 4.5.2.
Dave Mills describes the important negotiations with INTELSAT that Kahn managed to achieve to be able to use satellite for the SATNET program. Mills writes:
“I reviewed the common carrier documents for the satellite circuits. Bob

actually accomplished something nobody had done before. The war games

were played with the government telcos of six overseas countries and two

domestic US carriers. None of these guys could function relative to the

others.... What seemed to make it work was the participation of the military

and military research infrastructures of the US (DoD), UK (RSRE) and Norway (NDRE).

I don't know where Germany (DFVLR) or the Italians got their support. There was

considerable friction between the landline, earth station and satellite providers

- they came from very different cultural groups with rigid expectations for revenue.
Case in point was the INTELSAT tariff for SATNET. SATNET used a single

56-kbps SPADE satellite channel, but eventually seven earth stations

shared the channel. INTELSAT wanted to charge full capacity for each

earth station separately, even though only one uplink operated at a time.

Bob managed to negotiate more favorable terms, but then there was the

earth station operators, who wanted their fair share of the loot.

Example: INTELSAT charged the earth station operators about US$.05 per

connected minute for the satellite channel itself. You might remember

the cost of a call between the US and UK was US$2.40 at the time. Guess

who got the difference? For monthly cost to COMSAT for the INTELSAT

channel of US$2160, COMSAT charged DoD some US$29,000. But, that

included the SIMP depreciation used as the satellite interface. Similar

gouging occurred overseas.” (Mills, Email, April 19, 2003)
(8) The Tanum earth station built in 1970-71 made possible international telecom traffic between Sweden and the rest of the Nordic region.
When Dave Mills joined the research effort in 1976, he explains that the NORSAR circuit was multiplexed with SDAC seismic data and ARPANET traffic. The biggest problem he writes, “was the unreliability of the Tanum-Kjeller microwave link.” (Mills, Email, April 19, 2003)
It is also helpful to know something about the creation of NORSAR to understand the collaborative relationship between NDRE and IPTO.
Lundh explains that NORSAR is the Seismic Observatory built in collaboration with ARPA in South Norway in the mid 1960s. "The initiative and most of the financing," he reports, "was made by ARPA's Nuclear Test Detection Office in an effort to build a foundation for (an) international nuclear test ban and to stop underground nuclear tests...."(Lund, Email, April 18, 2002)
This relationship was actually facilitated by a treaty between the US and Norwegian governments signed in 1968. The agreement was toward the construction of a large seismic array and research installation at Kjeller, Norway, just outside of Oslo. After notes were exchanged between the American Ambassador to Norway at the time, Margaret Jay Tibbets and the Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs, John Lyng, an

agreement was reached which concerned:

"seismological research focused on development of methods and systems

for detection and identification of underground nuclear explosions.” See

The NORSAR (NORwegian Seismic ARay) website describes the conditions of the treaty:

"The agreement specified that the purpose of the installation was to be seismological research and experimentation primarily in the field of detection seismology. At the same time the agreement provided that the facility could be used for independent research at the direction of the Norwegian government. A framework for funding the construction and operation of the array facilities was also specified.
Cooperating agencies were authorized on both sides to conclude administrative agreements to carry out the details of the agreement. The cooperating agency for the United States has for more than 25 years been the Advanced Research Projects Agency, while for Norway the cooperating agency during construction of the NORSAR large-aperture array was the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, while the

Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (NTNF)was chosen in 1970 as cooperating agency for the management of the facility....

NORSAR opened in 1969. Data gathered by it was transmitted to a data center in Virginia, the Seismic Data Analysis Center (SDAC). By 1970/71 the Nordic satellite station in Tanum, Sweden was opened to transmit the data via satellite. The transmission capacity of the satellite was 2.4 kb/s.
Cerf adds that "The ARPA office in charge of Nuclear Detection was called the Nuclear Monitoring Research Office. Col David C. Russell worked in that office before he succeeded Larry Roberts and J.C.R. Licklider as ARPA/IPTO director. On Russell's retirement from the US Army, Bob Kahn, who was then deputy director of the office, became office director of IPTO." (Cerf, Email, April 13, 2003)
(9) With regard to funding the UCL research, eventually there was also "funding from IPTO on ARPANET and then tcp/ip experimentation. The funding mechanism involved the appropriate foreign security reviews, but was otherwise like any other funding." (Kahn, Email, July 22, 2002)
(10) It is generally believed that the transport of seismic data from Norway to the US was the reason for the Norwegian connection to the ARPANET. Lundh explains that this is a misunderstanding. It was interest in the research that IPTO was doing, not the desire to transport seismic data more efficiently between the US and Norway,

that was the motivating factor for NDRE to accept the invitation from IPTO to join the Internet research program.

(11) Lundh reports that his first contact with ARPA was in Fall, 1965 when he "was invited to Washington and to Billings Montana" on the occasion of the opening of the seismic array in Montana LSSA (Large Scale Seismic Array). Lundh's interest was, he explains, in "powerful computing methods, notably multicomputers." His contacts at ARPA were Harry Sonneman and Stephen Lukasik and occasionally Bob Frosh. (Lundh,

Email, April 18, 2002)

(12) Kirstein's paper was "On the Development of Computer and Data Networks in Europe", Proc. Int. Conf. on Computer Communications, Washington, 240-244, 1972.
Cerf describes some of those present at the ICCC'72. He lists Donald Davies from the UK, National Physical Laboratory, Remi Despres who was involved with the French Reseau Communication par Paquet (RCP, and later with X.25 networking), Larry Roberts and

Barry Wessler, from IPTO, 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 NPL with Donald Davies may also have been there and Alex McKenzie from BBN probably was there. (Cerf, "How the Internet Came to Be")

Cerf writes that the IFWP later became the IFIP 6.1. with the help of Alex Curran who was the US representative to IFIP Technical Committee 6. Cerf also credits Keith Uncapher and Dick Tanaka with helping this affiliation to be carried out. (Cerf, Email, April 13, 2003)
(13) Spilling, however, writes, "Yngvar and I disagree a little on this point. I had the impression that Bob Kahn was looking for a good demonstration object, sort of on a global scale, to defend all the spending on developing the technology. The seismic detection facility NORSAR had to send seismic information across a leased line to the processing plant in Washington, D.C. And what could be a better

demonstration object, than to convey this information via packet switching

technology from Norway to the US From what I understood, Bob Kahn used this as an example of the usability of the technology – when NORSAR became connected -- toward his defence funding party."
Lundh responds that:
"I believe Paal may well be right in his impression of Bob's motive

for inviting Norway. However, my reason for suggesting that NDRE accept the

invitation to actively collaborate and to actually undertake that

collaboration was my interest in resource sharing networking and its

manifold possibilities. That interest was first inspired by Bob Kahn and

Larry Roberts and the Washington, DC conference and demo in 1972. It was

further strengthened later by all that we learned and experienced during

the following years of collaboration." (Lundh, Email, October 15, 2002)

Cerf adds that "The original circuit was 2400 baud so the 9600 baud,

circuit, though shared, was faster for the data transport. Later

SATNET provided 64 kb/s service." (Cerf, Email, April 13, 2003)
Kirstein writes that "It (Seismic array technology or test detection-ed) was

ARPA's original reason for placing a TIP there. From the time Arpanet came on-stream in 1970, ARPA wanted to bring the NORSAR array to SDAC in Washington over Arpanet. This is what justified the bulk of the ARPA expenditure (from the Nuclear Monitoring Research Office - NMROP on the link in the early days.) I do not know when the extension...which did result from the extended IPTO interest in the NMRO activity, put actual expenditure in the IPTO budget.”(Kirstein, Email, October 8, 2002)

(14) Important developments in satellite technology in the 1960s and early 1970s led to the development of INTELSAT IV and made possible the SATNET packet switching network. Abramson and Kuo write:

"In 1970 the ARPA Network came into existence as a communications

network for the sharing of resources among a large number of computer

centers. The ARPANET and its resource sharing capabilities became

feasible because of the use of a new method of communication system

organization -- called packet switching.... In April 1965, the scope

and nature of human communication was irreversibly altered by the

successful launch of INTELSAT I, the first geosynchronous

communication satellite. Since that time the cost of information

transmission over long distances has decreased at a rate that makes

even the present decrease in information processing costs seem mild by

comparison. The cost per year of a single voice grade channel in

INTELSAT I was about $20,000 per year; that satellite had a capacity

of 24 such channels. The corresponding cost on INTELSAT IV, launched

in January 1971 was about $2,000 per year, and each INTELSAT IV has

about 5,000 channels...."

"By the beginning of 1973 the lower cost, higher channel capacity,

higher power, and small ground stations required by new communication

satellites had suggested the magnitude of the impact these

developments would make in computer-communication networks of the

future.... By the end of 1972, the worldwide satellite communication

net of INTELSAT had been completed...." (from Preface, Norman Abramson

and Franklin F. Kuo) Computer-Communications Networks edited by

Abramson and Kuo, 1973, Englewood Cliffs, N.Y., xvii.)

(15) For further elaboration see Ronda Hauben, "The Birth of the Internet" and Ronda Hauben, "Open Architecture", in The Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History. Raul Rojas, Editor, Fitzroy Dearborn, Chicago, 2001, vol 2, pp. 652-653.
Kirstein adds:
"This was Kahn's thinking, but there was also a practical consideration.

The basis of all the network itself between 1969 and 1974 was the IMP,

and this was firmly under the control of one division of BBN. With the

interest in the Packet Radio and SATNET, any attempt to connect them was delayed by the need to further develop the IMP to meet all its demands. This was one very important reason why Kahn proposed a "gateway" which could be programmed by others, freeing the programs from the stranglehold of one group. In practice the IMPs could now

be developed differently for the different network technologies. Moreover, an important development occurred. Shortly after, in 1975/76 when Dave Mills (then at COMSAT) programmed the “fuzzballs", to provide a cheaper and more lightweight alternative to the BBN implementation." (Kirstein, Email, July 3, 2002)
Cerf elaborates, "In this case, the fuzzballs were functioning as routers - handled IP switching as opposed to the IMPs. The apples-to-apples comparison would be between fuzzballs and the BBN Internet Gateways. I believe in fact the fuzzballs were providing all the functionality of the IMPs and the gateways by switching IP packets." (Cerf, Email, April 13, 2003)
Kirstein adds that the development of the application level relay "during this period was also a new form of interconnection" which "allowed all the British network developments to occur independently of the US ones, but traffic still to flow easily between the networks."
He explains that, "This was not an interconnection at the network level, but at the application protocol level (Telnet, FTP initially). This form of interconnection was new at the time, (and-ed) allowed the different networks to develop quite independently. In fact it was to exercise this new concept, that all the traffic between the UK and ARPANET was justified in the '70s and early '80s. Later in the '80s, this concept even allowed the US to develop Mockapetris' Domain Name

System, while the UK developed the 'Network Registration Service'."

"While these developments were quite different," Kirstein notes that, "the relay function allowed them to look to users as a single network.... Clearly application level relays are not adequate in performance or robustness, however, they played an important role prior to the world agreeing that IP was the way to go." (See the article by V.G. Cerf and P.T. Kirstein, "Issues in Packet Network Interconnection," Proc IEEE 66, 11, pp 1386-1408, November 1978. This is a special issue devoted to

packet internetworking issues.)

Kirstein adds:
“In fact the original grant I had from ARPA was to connect in two

computers, the large IBM Computer at the Rutherford Laboratory near

Oxford and the CDC in London. Both were the centre of centralised

proprietary interactive and remote job entry networks. This connection

was made as one between two networks from the beginning. It looked to ARPANET

as if IBM was directly connected as a Host, and any ARPANET Host looked

like a remote IBM device.”
(Higginson, PL, PT Kirstein and AV Stokes: "The Problems Connecting

Hosts into ARPANET via Front-end Computers", Workshop on Distributed

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The Internet: On its International Origins and Collaborative Vision a work In-Progress

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