30th Anniversary of the Internet

Major Internet Milestones:A 30th Anniversary Celebration of the First Three-network Transmission


  • Bob Kahn DARPA
  • Jim Garret Collins Radio – still in the business. Wi-Fi packet radio (for military)
  • Irwin Jacobs Linkabit (now at Qualcomm)
  • Vint Cerf DARPA (now Google)
  • Donald Neilson SRI
  • Paal Spilling Norwary
  • Ginny Travers BBN

The Internet Problem: Internetworking of disparate networks

Kahn gave introductory remarks

Internet Demonstration: Nov 22, 1977 data was flowing from a van in silicon valley from SRI to USC via London

  1. Satellite network (Packet Satellite), 64/128 kbps, 8000 bit packets – Irwin was the architect
  2. Digital packet radio (Packet Radio) 100/400kbps, 2000 bit packets, omnidirectional broadcast, DSSS. – Kahn was the architect
  3. Wired ground network (Arpanet) 50kbps landlines

Kahn inspired by “Poisson Shannon and the Amateur Radio”

Routing modules could be plugged into the ARPANET, congestion and deadlocks would be an issue. AT&T did not see it as a business.

Asked for 20 MHz portion of spectrum – got the band they used for radar at SFO

Internet router added 3 boxes instead of one.

Kahn – communications with applied math and EE. Cerf – computer scientist. Background in Leiner paper. Collaborated on the development of TCP.

Connected 2 networks, but no documentation

Cerf — was DARPA PM, Director of IPTO

3-network demo was historic – 50 people made it happen

“A ride in the packet radio van [SRI] is a religious experience – it converts everyone who rides in it.” – Vint Cerf

D&R – demonstration and recovery (instead of R&D) when US starred generals would be taken for a ride in it

Irwin Jacobs involved in packet/satellite radio – challenges

  • Working with companies all around the world
  • Short packets, long packets, protocols to handle that
  • Fighting tdma issues. Cdma would solve a lot of those problem

Donald Nielson

Weren’t many codes in spread spectrum – only one (Kahn)

Ginny built the first gateways (routers) ever

  • Surprise is the Internet of today
  • In those days we were connecting networks at the rate of every six months
  • No one could ever envision
  • Installing gateways in Europe, Norway, etc. based on passport stamps. Didn’t realize how momentous it is going to be
  • Biggest challenge we had was low bandwidth and mismatched bandwidth (9.6 kbps to 56 kbps backbone, packets would fill up and drop)

Reasons for international participation

  • Resource sharing – computers, lines,
  • Command & Control – militaries will have to work with other countries militaries – hence international participation, requested approval from DARPA and got it

Cerf & Kahn on TCP/IP

  • No patents to prevent people from adopting its use
  • Not secret to make it a standard and make it as widely used as possible
  • Social processes for standards body was a challenge and new thing
  • Secure packet technology developed at NSA was classified so could not tell anyone about it – PKI was not available until much later

Given problems with security in IP, what you do if you could start over with IP v8?


  • End to end security and authentication so you know who you are talking to
  • 128 bit address space


  • Had we tried to solve security up front, we would not have invented the Internet

One Response to “30th Anniversary of the Internet”

  1. Paul Baran Says:

    Hi Sri:
    Good seeing you that night and thanks for an excellent writeup of an interesting meeting

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