Hitchhiker's Guide to Streaming Media: The History of IP

There are so many myths and rumors about the creation of the internet, and your humble Hitchhiker’s Guide author often witnesses the general public’s confused thinking that the internet was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in CERN some 20 years after the fundamental internet protocols were actually introduced by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. Berners-Lee actually only introduced the world wide web—just one of many services delivered on the internet.

So to clear things up and to give some context to those of us focused on the streaming technologies now utilizing the internet here is a Brief History of the Internet...

>>>Lookup: History of IP

TIMELINE: (merged data based on RFC 1120)


Len Kleinrock develops message/packet switching queuing analyses (store and forward communications) in his MIT dissertation


Donald Davies (British National Physical Laboratory) and Paul Baran simultaneously propose “packet switching” to U.S. researchers at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to help them create a failure-resistant computer network. (See Wired March 2000 p. 145 for more on this part of the pre-history…)

Paul Baran did his work at RAND in 1962. He prepared an 11-volume report entitled “On Distributed Communications” and in this work he invented an idea for supporting voice communication using digital “message blocks.”

Donald Davies (British National Physical Laboratory) developed the idea and the term “packet” and implemented a single node system around 1965.

They like the idea.

Christmas 1968

BBN is awarded the contract to develop the ARPANET, which is a test network for packet switching. BBN develops and installs the first interface message processor at UCLA in September, 1969. It runs between the Universities of California, Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) and University of Utah. There are about 100 individuals involved and around as many “links” on the ARPANET. Larry Roberts led the effort from DARPA, Frank Heart was the BBN project leader; Bob Kahn was principal architect for the BBN IMP.


ARPA is renamed DARPA (the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), and BBN develop email. [specifically, Ray Tomlinson]

Packet switching is developed for a multitude of mobile, satellite and cable links. Xerox PARC pioneer ethernet. DARPA sponsors ground packet radio, packet satellite; PARC pioneers ethernet on coaxial cable

To get all of these packet networks interconnected, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn present TCP/IP as a potential solution. The principle is to create a set of gateways to connect each different network. They first introduced this notion in Sept 1973 at the International Network Working Group (INWG) meeting at
University of Sussex, UK.

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