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Here's what to expect from this chapter. In it, we'll accomplish several things:
...To get some idea of what the DoD was facing, imagine picking up the phone in the U.S. and calling someone in Spain. You have a perfectly good hardware connection, as the Spanish phone system is compatible with the American phone system. But despite the hardware compatibility, you face a software incompatibility. The person on the other end of the phone is expecting a different protocol for communication; that is, they likely speak Spanish. It's not that one language is better or worse than the other-they're simply different, and so, fluent understanding between the English and Spanish speakers just isn't going to happen. Rather than force the Spanish speaker to learn English or the English speaker to learn Spanish, we could teach them both a new language like Esperanto, the "universal language" designed in 1888. If Esperanto were used in our telephone example, it's likely that neither speaker would use it at home, but they would when communicating with each other.
That was how TCP/IP began-as a simple, alternative communications language. As time went on, TCP/IP evolved into a mature, well-understood, robust set of protocols, with many sites adopting it as their main communication language.
...The new network, dubbed ARPANET, was designed and put in place by a private contractor called Bolt, Barenek and Newman. For the first time, it linked university professors both to themselves and to their military and civilian project leaders around the country. Because ARPANET was a network that linked separate, private university networks with distant military networks, it was a "network of networks."
ARPANET ran atop a protocol called the Network Control Protocol (NCP). NCP was later refined into two components, the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The change from NCP to TCP/IP is the technical difference between ARPANET and the Internet. On January 1, 1983, ARPANET packet-switching devices stopped accepting NCP packets and only passed TCP/IP packets, so, in a sense, that date can be thought of as the "official" birthday of the Internet.
The primordial Internet goo known as ARPANET became the Internet after a few evolutionary steps. Probably the first major development occurred in 1974, when Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn proposed the protocols that would become TCP and IP. (We say "probably" because the Internet didn't grow through a centralized effort, but rather through the largely disconnected efforts of several researchers, university professors, and graduate students, most of whom are still alive-and almost all of whom have a different perspective on what the "defining" aspects of Internet development were.) Over its more than 20-year history, the Internet and its predecessors have gone through several stages of growth and adjustment. Ten years ago, the Internet could only claim a few thousand users. At last count, five million computers and 100 million users were on the Internet. The Internet appears to double in size about every year. It can't do that indefinitely, so it's certainly a time of change for this huge network of networks. As with life forms, adaptability facilitates both change and survival, so it's easy to appreciate why TCP/IP's versatility is so important.
Internet growth is fueled not by an esoteric interest in seeing how large a network the world can build, but rather by just a few applications that require the Internet to run. One of the most important is Internet e-mail, followed closely by the World Wide Web, with File Transfer Protocol (FTP) bringing up the: rear. We'll discuss these more thoroughly later in this chapter.
Originally, Internet protocols were intended to support connections between mainframe-based networks-basically the only type that existed through most of the 1970s. Then came the 1980s which saw the growth of UNIX workstations, microcomputers, and minicomputers. Since the development of the Berkeley version of UNIX was funded mostly with government money, the government said, "Put the TCP/IP protocol suite in that thing." There was some resistance at first, but adding IP as a built-in part of Berkeley UNIX has helped both UNIX and...