How the internet got started

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Some thirty years ago , the Rand corporation , America's formost cold war think

tank, faced a strange straegic problem. How could the US authrieties succesfully

communicate after a nuclear war?

Postnuclear America would need a comand-and-control network, linked from city

to city , state to state, base to base . But no matter how throughly that network was

armored or protected , its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impact

of atomic bombs. A nuclear attack would reduce any conceivable network to tatters.

And how would the network itself be commanded and controlled ? Any central authority,

any network central citadel, would be an obvious and immediate target for man enemy

missle. Thecenter of the network would be the very first place to go.

RAND mulled over this grim puzzle in deep military secrecy, and arrived at a

daring solution made in 1964. The principles were simple .

The network itself would be

assumed to be unreliable at all times . It would be designed from the get-go to tyranscend

its all times . It would be designed from the get-go to transcend its own unrreliability. All

the nodes from computers in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes , each

node with its own authority to originate , pass , and recieve messages. The messages

would be divided into packets, each packet seperatly addressed. Each packet would begin

at some specified source node , and end at some other specified destination node . Each

packet would wind its way through the network on an individual basis.In fall 1969, the

first such node was insalled in UCLA. By December 1969, there were 4 nodes on the

infant network, which was named arpanet, after its Pentagon sponsor.

The four computers could even...