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Issue No.01 - January-March (2006 vol.28)
pp: 56-71
Craig Partridge , BBN Technologies
Steven Blumenthal , BridgePort Networks
BBN has an illustrious history of contributions to data networking, and has made repeated contributions in the development of networking protocols, network operations, router design, and wireless and satellite networks. Because so much of BBN?s early Arpanet work has been documented elsewhere, this history focuses on post-Arpanet contributions that led to the Internet.
Data communications, TCP, IP, routing, routers, Arpanet, wireless, satellite
Craig Partridge, Steven Blumenthal, "Data Networking at BBN", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.28, no. 1, pp. 56-71, January-March 2006, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2006.7
1. A 1994 attempt to provide a complete bibliography of published papers from BBN in the networking area resulted in a 39-page document ( Arpanet and Internet: A Bibliography of BBN Papers, compiled by A. McKenzie, D. Walden, and F. Heart, BBN, 1994).
2. K. Hafner and M. Lyons, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, Simon and Schuster, 1996; P. Salus, Casting the Internet, Addison-Wesley, 1995; and J. Abbate, Inventing the Internet, MIT Press, 1999.
3. S. Crocker, then a graduate student at UCLA, has described UCLA as in a near"panic"to prepare when they discovered the interface message processor (IMP) was going to be delivered on time; see his introductory essay, J.K. Reynolds and J. Postel, The Request for Comments Reference Guide, RFC 1000, 1 Aug. 1987; rfc1000.txt.pdf.
4. F.E. Heart et al., "The Interface Message Processor for the ARPA Computer Network," Proc. AFIPS Conf., vol. 36, AFIPS Press, 1970, pp. 299-310.
5. Doing new releases across the network became possible once an IMP at BBN was on the network. A new release was loaded into the BBN IMP; then each neighboring IMP of the BBN IMP was instructed to reload from the BBN IMP, and then a neighbor of those IMPs reloaded, and so on across the network.
6. A.A. McKenzie et al., "The Network Control Center for the Arpanet," Proc. 1st Int'l Conf. Computer Comm., S. Winkler, ed., ACM Press, 1972, pp. 185-191.
7. W.R. Crowther and R.E. Kahn, "Flow Control in a Resource-Sharing Computer Network," IEEE Trans. Comm., vol. COM-20, no. 3, 1972, pp. 536-546.
8. S. Ornstein et al., Users Guide to the Terminal IMP, tech. report 2183, BBN, originally drafted by W.R. Crowther and D.C. Walden, July 1972.
9. BBN was awarded the IEEE 1999 Corporate Innovation Recognition award for its development of the IMP and TIP.
10. D.C. Walden, "Later Years of Basic Computer and Software Engineering," A Culture of Innovation: Insider Accounts of Computing and Life at BBN, D. Walden and R. Nickerson, eds., to be published.
11. J.M. McQuillan, I. Richer, and E.C. Rosen, "The New Routing Algorithm for the Arpanet," IEEE Trans. Comm., vol. COM-28, no. 5, 1980, pp. 711-719.
12. D.G. Bobrow et al., "TENEX, a Paged Time Sharing System for the PDP-10," Proc. 3rd ACM Symp. Operating System Principles, ACM Press, 1971, pp. 135-143.
13. C.S. Carr, S.D. Crocker, and V.G. Cerf, "Host-Host Communication Protocol in the ARPA Network," Proc. AFIPS Spring Joint Computer Conf., AFIPS Press, vol. 36, 1970, pp. 589-597.
14. A. McKenzie, Initial Connection Protocol, Internet Request for Comments 93 (RFC 93), Jan. 1971;
15. J. Davidson et al., "The Arpanet TELNET Protocol: Its Purpose, Principles, Implementation, and Impact on Host Operating System Design," Proc. ACM/IEEE 5th Data Comm. Symp., 1977, pp. 4:10-18; B.P. Cosell, and D.C. Walden, "Development of Telnet's Negotiated Options," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 25, no. 2, 2003, pp. 80-82.
16. A. McKenzie (for example, RFC 281 and RFC 454) and N. Neigus (for example, RFC 542) of BBN were particularly active with FTP.
17. S. Levy, "History of Technology Transfer at BBN," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 27, no. 2, 2005, pp. 34-35.
18. Inside BBN, Bob Hinden strongly argued that BBN should suggest to DCA to use Ethernet rather than X.25 as the interface standard for Arpanet. Had Hinden's suggestion been followed, Ethernet and Ethernet switching technology might look very different than they do today.
19. Some of the story of the transition from the Arpanet to the Defense Data Network and the Internet is also told by A.A. McKenzie and D.C. Walden, "The Arpanet, The Defense Data Network, and The Internet," Encyclopedia of Telecommunications, vol. 1, Marcel Dekker, 1991, pp. 341-346.
20. Where Wizards Stay Up Late, pp. 176-186.
21. V. Cerf and R. Kahn, "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection," IEEE Trans. Comm., vol. COM-22, 1974, pp. 637-684.
22. S.C. Butterfield, R.D. Rettberg, and D.C. Walden, "The Satellite IMP for the ARPA Network," Proc. 7th Hawaii Int'l Conf. System Sciences, IEEE CS Press, 1974, pp. 70-73; see also the "Radio and wireless" section in this article.
23. J. Burchfiel, R.S. Tomlinson, and M. Beeler, "Functions and Structure of a Packet Radio Station," Proc. AFIPS Conf., vol. 44, AFIPS Press, 1975, pp. 245-251.
24. Inventing the Internet, p. 131.
25. V.G. Cerf et al., "Proposal for an Internetwork End-to-End Protocol," ACM SIGCOMM Computer Comm. Rev., vol. 6, no. 1, 1976, pp. 63-89.
26. Exactly how IP was invented is not documented. It apparently happened in a hallway during a Network Working Group meeting at USC ISI sometime in 1977, according to a personal communication from David Reed on 14 July 2004.
27. There was a sense that the work on TCP was an implicit criticism of the existing work done on Arpanet.
28. TENEX was the first major operating system to use paging and supported innovative features such as clear distinction between operating system and applications, command line completion, and file versioning. TENEX was created and maintained by BBN and having easy access to the source of a (widely used) operating system was an important resource for BBN's networking research. See Ref. 12.
29. R.S. Tomlinson, "Selecting Sequence Numbers," Proc. ACM SIGCOMM/SIGOPS Interprocess Comm. Workshop, ACM Press, 1975, pp. 11-26. For a good discussion of the sequence number problem as applied to routing protocols, see R. Perlman, Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols 2nd ed.,, Addison-Wesley, 1999, pp. 310-317.
30. As part of this work, Plummer wrote several influential notes on TCP implementation. However, oddly enough, he is best remembered for his vigorous but unsuccessful attempt to keep Rubber EOLs in the TCP specification.
31. This last idea was borrowed from work on Open Systems Interconnection protocol implementation by Tom Blumer.
32. R. Gurwitz and R. Walsh, "Converting the BBN TCP/IP to 4.2BSD," Proc. 1984 Summer Usenix Conf., Usenix Assoc., 1984, pp. 52-61.
33. D. Waitzman, C. Partridge, and S.E. Deering, Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol, RFC 1075, 1 Nov. 1988; .
34. While this is Charlie Lynn's only mention in the article, his contributions were far bigger. Charlie was one of BBN's best implementers for three decades. He specialized in finding ways to implement complex networked systems and served as a mentor to a number of the people mentioned in this article. He passed away unexpectedly in 2004.
35. D. Deutsch, R. Resnick, and J. Vittal, Specification of a Draft Message Format Standard, tech. report 4486, BBN, 1980.
36. R.D. Rettberg and D.C. Walden, "Gateway Design for Computer Network Interconnection," Proc. Eurocomp (The European Computing Conf. Comm. Networks) 1975, Online Conferences Ltd., 1975, pp. 113-128.
37. M. Beeler et al., "Gateway Design for Computer Network Interconnection," invited presentation, Proc. AFIPS 1976 Nat'l Computer Conf. and Exposition, AFIPS Press, 1976; V. Strazisar, "Gateway Routing: An implementation Specification," Internet Eng. Note 30 (IEN 30), Apr. 1978; V. Strazisar, "How to Build a Gateway," IEN 109, Aug. 1979.
38. R. Hinden and A. Sheltzer, The DARPA Internet Gateway, RFC 823, Sept. 1982;
39. By 1983, Mike Brescia had written a memo known informally as "Mike's Instructions For Building Your Own Gateway" which described in detail what type of LSI-11 to order, what network cards to order, and how to get a software tape from Mike.
40. BBN's parallel processing computer R&D from the Pluribus through the Butterfly and beyond is sketched by D. Walden, "Basic Computer and Software Engineering, Part 1," A Culture of Innovation: Insider Accounts of Computing and Life at BBN, D. Walden and R. Nickerson, eds., to be published.
41. Described in T. Mallory, "SPF Routing in the Butterfly Gateway," Proc. April 22-24 1987 Internet Eng. Task Force; Sixth IETF, P. Gross ed., IETF, 1987; IETF06.pdf.
42. R. Rettberg felt that it would be efficient to combine the boot load device and the console into a single platform and proposed using small Macintosh computers for this function. One result was that the Butterfly loaded its boot image over the Mac's very slow serial port.
43. R. Hinden led the team that designed the initial prototype, code-named "Emerald."
44. C. Partridge et al., "A Fifty Gigabit Per Second IP Router," IEEE/ACM Trans. Networking, vol. 6, no. 3, 1998, pp. 237-248.
45. Request for Quotation, Dept. of the Army Defense Supply Service—Washington, July 29, 1968; a 55-page document distributed on behalf of the Advanced Research Projects Agency.
46. Interface Message Processors for the ARPA Computer Network, tech. report, BBN, Quarterly Technical Report, 1969.
47. W.R. Crowther et al., "The Interface Message Processor for the ARPA Computer Network," Proc. AFIPS Conf., vol. 36, 1970, AFIPS Press, pp. 551-567; D. Walden, "The Interface Message Processor, Its Algorithms, and Their Implementation," invited lecture, Journees D'Etude: Réseaux de Calculateurs, Association Française pour la Cybernétique Économique et Technique [Workshop on Computer Networks, French Society of Economic and Technical Cybernetics (AFCET)], Paris, 1972; D. Walden, "Routing (A Memorandum)," Proc. 1974 Int'l Seminar on Performance Evaluation of Data Processing Systems, Weizmann Inst. of Science, pp. 429-433; J.M. McQuillan, Adaptive Routing Algorithms for Distributed Computer Networks, tech. report 2831, BBN, 1974, a reprint of McQuillan's Harvard PhD thesis; J.M. McQuillan and D.C. Walden, "The ARPA Network Design Decisions," Computer Networks, vol. 1, no. 5, 1977, pp. 243-289.
48. It is also known as the "distributed Bellman-Ford" algorithm, although BBN's parallel algorithm for Arpanet had little similarity to Bellman's or Ford's nonparallel algorithm (D. Walden, "The Bellman-Ford Algorithm and Distributed Bellman-Ford"; ).
49. Many of these features were foreseen by team members W.R. Crowther and R.E. Kahn (see Ref. 7), but the initial algorithms probably were the best the team could devise within the time available for initial network deployment.
50. J.M. McQuillan, Adaptive Routing Algorithms for Distributed Computer Networks, tech. report 2831, BBN, 1974; a reprint of McQuillan's Harvard PhD thesis.
51. R. Perlman, Interconnections.
52. E.C. Rosen, Exterior Gateway Protocol, RFC 827, Oct. 1982. Much of the credit for EGP is shared with David Mills, then of Linkabit Corp. Mills took Rosen's somewhat sketchy specification of EGP and made it concrete and stable (see D.L. Mills, Exterior Gateway Protocol Formal Specification, RFC 904, April 1984;
53. One of the authors, Partridge, had a characteristic encounter with Brescia. Partridge was debugging a new network management protocol implementation and, to see if he could use it to retrieve data from a local router, sent a few packets to the router. On getting no reply, he reread his code for bugs, then tried again. Still no answer from the router but the phone rang. It was Brescia calling to say that Partridge's implementation had two bytes reversed in the protocol header and to please fix it.
54. D. Comer, "The Computer Science Research Network CSNET: A History and Status Report," Comm. ACM, vol. 26, no. 10, pp. 747-753.
55. In the 1980s, there were several competing email networks and getting the email between networks required considerable skill (see J.S. Quartermann, The Matrix, Digital Press, 1990). Charlotte Mooers, CSnet's"postmistress"became internationally known for her skill in getting email to the right place.
56. C. Partridge, Mail Routing and the Domain Name System, RFC 974, Jan. 1986;
57. L. Lanzillo and C. Partridge, "Implementation of Dial-up IP for UNIX Systems," Proc. 1989 Winter Usenix Conf., Usenix Assoc., pp. 201-208.
58. One of Rugo's marketing challenges was finding out who in a high-tech company was running their network. This was before the days of chief technical officers (CTOs). So Rugo took to calling each company's CEO, on the assumption that he'd get their assistant, who could tell him who ran the company's network. Some of his most memorable marketing calls occurred when he actually got put directly through to the CEO of a major high-tech company.
59. NEARnet chose to spend its NSF start-up money on capital equipment, while most regional networks chose instead to use the money to reduce what they charged customers. When the money ran out, many regionals were left with an infrastructure in need of upgrade and customers suffering sticker shock.
60. Probably, in part, because some key operations people were at Planet including Dan Long, John Curran (ex-CSnet and Planet's CTO), Mike Brescia, and Steve Blumenthal (manager of the group that ran the Wideband network and several other experimental networks and who succeeded Curran as CTO).
61. D. Greenfield, "North American ISP Survey: Looking for Number Two," Network Magazine, Sept. 2002; .
62. BBN's 1996 10K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows that Planet's revenues (closely tied to customers and bandwidth) more than doubled between June 1994 and June 1995, and more than quadrupled between June 1995 and June 1996.
63. A brief comment on the economics of hypergrowth in the 1990s may be useful. Deploying new networking equipment and circuits typically took 6 to 12 months from initial ordering until completed installation. So an ISP had to guess how big it would be, a year in advance. The penalty for underestimating was crushing—loss of market share, reduced revenue stream, devalued stock. The penalty for overestimation was mild—the excess capacity would be consumed in the next year, provided hypergrowth continued. BBN's two biggest competitors in this period were UUnet and PSI. PSI was the most aggressive in pursuing a "grow at all costs" policy, while UUnet (until it was acquired by WorldCom) was the most fiscally conservative of the three competitors.
64. I.M. Jacobs, R. Binder, and E.V. Hoversten, "General Purpose Packet Satellite Networks," Proc. IEEE, vol. 66, no. 11, pp. 1448-1467.
65. G. Falk et al., "Integration of Voice and Data in the Wideband Packet Satellite Network," IEEE J. Selected Areas in Comm., vol. SAC-1, no. 6, 1983, pp. 1076-1083.
66. W. Edmond et al., "The Butterfly Satellite IMP for the Wideband Packet Satellite Network," Proc. ACM SIGCOMM, ACM Press, 1986, pp. 194-203.
67. This was not solely a BBN effort or problem. Linkabit (the provider of ground modems) and Western Union (which owned the satellite) had their own challenges to overcome to make the Wideband Net a success.
68. C. Topolcic, Experimental Internet Stream Protocol: Version 2 (ST-II), RFC 1190, 1 Oct. 1990; .
69. M. Bergamo, ACTS Gigabit Satellite Network Study: Satellite Beam Switched TDMA Networking and Support for SONET Interfaces, tech. report 7574, BBN, 29 Mar. 1991.
70. M. Bergamo, "Network Architecture and SONET Services in the NASA/DARPA Gigabit Satellite Network Using NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite," Proc. 15th AIAA Int'l Comm. Satellite Systems Conf., AIAA, 1994, pp. 208-216.
71. M. Bergamo and D. Hoder, "Gigabit Satellite Network for NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)," Int'l J. Satellite Comm., vol. 14, no. 3, 1996, pp. 161-173.
72. R. Ramanathan and J. Redi, "A Brief Overview of Ad Hoc Networks: Challenges and Directions," IEEE Comm. Magazine, 50th anniversary commemorative issue, May 2002, pp. 20-22.
73. R.E. Kahn et al., "Advances in Packet Radio Technology," Proc. IEEE, vol. 66, no. 11, 1978, pp. 1468-1496; J. Burchfiel; R.S. Tomlinson, and M. Beeler, "Functions and Structure of a Packet Radio Station," AFIPS Conf. Proc., vol. 44, AFIPS Press, 1975, pp. 245-251.
74. Others who participated in the project at BBN included Jil Westcott, Ray Tomlinson, Radia Perlman, Don Allen, Mike Beeler, Virginia (Strazisar) Travers, and Greg Lauer.
75. J. Burchfiel, R.S. Tomlinson, and M. Beeler, "Functions and Structure of a Packet Radio Station," AFIPS Conf. Proc., vol. 44, 1975, pp. 245-251.
76. J. Jubin and J.D. Tornow, "The DARPA Packet Radio Network Protocols," Proc. IEEE, vol. 75, no. 1, 1987, pp. 21-32; other participants playing long-term roles in this program included Jil Westcott and Greg Lauer.
77. NTDR was the first "real-life" ad hoc network, and was used by the Fourth Infantry Division in the recent Iraq war.
78. S. Ramanathan and M. Steenstrup, "Hierarchically Organized, Multihop Mobile Networks for Multimedia Support," ACM/Baltzer Mobile Networks and Applications, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 101-119; K. Kasera and S. Ramanathan, "A Location Management Protocol for Hierarchically Organized Multihop Mobile Networks," Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Universal Personal Communication ( ICUPC 97 ), IEEE Press, 1997.
79. R. Ramanathan, "On the Performance of Ad Hoc Networks Using Beamforming Antennas," Proc. ACM MobiHoc 2001, ACM Press, Oct. 2001, pp. 95-105.
80. J. Redi and R. Ramanathan, "Utilizing Directional Antennas for Ad Hoc Networks," Proc. IEEE Milcom, IEEE Press, 2002.
81. J. Redi and B. Welsh, "Energy Conservation for Tactical Mobile Robots," Proc. IEEE Milcom, 1999, IEEE Press; J. Redi et al., "JAVeLEN: An Ultra-Low Energy Ad Hoc Wireless Network," submitted for publication.
82. R. Ramanathan and R. Hain, "Topology Control of Multihop Radio Networks Using Transmit Power Adjustment," Proc. IEEE Infocom, IEEE Press, 2000, pp. 404-413.
83. R. Ramanathan and R. Hain, "An Ad Hoc Wireless Testbed for Scalable, Adaptive QoS Support," Proc. IEEE Wireless Comm. and Networking Conf., vol. 3, IEEE Press, 2000, pp. 998-1002.
84. R. Ramanathan, "Making Ad Hoc Networks Density Adaptive," Proc. IEEE Milcom, IEEE Press, 2001, pp. 957-961.
85. C. Santivanez, R. Ramanathan, and I. Stavrakakis, "Making Link-State Routing Scale for Ad Hoc Networks," Proc. ACM MobiHoc, ACM Press, 2001, pp. 22-32.
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