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History of networking

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  • Evan Koblentz
    Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) first example of data moving between computers across a wire? Or was wireless networking
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 22 10:21 AM
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      Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) "first" example of data moving between computers across a wire?

      Or was "wireless networking" first, i.e. data being included in comms streams to spacecraft? (But excluding wireless telegraphy, which did not involve computers.)
    • Justin Jernigan
      Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) first example of data moving between computers across a wire?
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 22 10:36 AM
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        Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) "first" example of data moving between computers across a wire?

          I've always thought that was a Bell Labs "first" from the 40s.  I have a Bell Labs book somewhere around here.  Although I suppose what is meant by moving data and how advanced the "computer", I'm sure it took place in a laboratory 'first", but the publicized events of the 'first' were usually what made the history books (i.e. why publicize moving data 6 feet, when 100 miles sounds more impressive).  I will cetainly follow this thread. 
      • Dan Roganti
        ... wasn t it the FieldData by RCA, as least they tried to demonstrate networking various systems in the battlefield =Dan
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 22 10:40 AM
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          On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM, Justin Jernigan <jaj@...> wrote:


           

          Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) "first" example of data moving between computers across a wire?

            I've always thought that was a Bell Labs "first" from the 40s.  I have a Bell Labs book somewhere around here.  Although I suppose what is meant by moving data and how advanced the "computer", I'm sure it took place in a laboratory 'first", but the publicized events of the 'first' were usually what made the history books (i.e. why publicize moving data 6 feet, when 100 miles sounds more impressive).  I will cetainly follow this thread. 



          wasn't it the FieldData by RCA,
          as least they tried to demonstrate networking various systems in the battlefield

          =Dan

        • Evan Koblentz
          Yeah forget the first aspect; I just mean what are the earliest examples that we march-ins know of? ... From: Justin Jernigan
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 22 10:41 AM
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            Yeah forget the "first" aspect; I just mean what are the earliest examples that we march-ins know of?

            From: "Justin Jernigan" <jaj@...>
            Sender: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 13:36:57 -0400
            To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
            ReplyTo: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] History of networking

             

            Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) "first" example of data moving between computers across a wire?

              I've always thought that was a Bell Labs "first" from the 40s.  I have a Bell Labs book somewhere around here.  Although I suppose what is meant by moving data and how advanced the "computer", I'm sure it took place in a laboratory 'first", but the publicized events of the 'first' were usually what made the history books (i.e. why publicize moving data 6 feet, when 100 miles sounds more impressive).  I will cetainly follow this thread. 
          • Bill Degnan
            ... first ...
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 22 10:41 AM
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              >
              > Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem)
              "first"
              > example of data moving between computers across a wire?
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              <http://geo.yahoo.com/serv?s=97359714/grpId=14379032/grpspId=1705566162/msgI

              > d=18385/stime=1285176080/nc1=1/nc2=2/nc3=3> I've always thought that
              was a
              > Bell Labs "first" from the 40s. I have a Bell Labs book somewhere
              around
              > here. Although I suppose what is meant by moving data and how advanced
              the
              > "computer", I'm sure it took place in a laboratory 'first", but the
              > publicized events of the 'first' were usually what made the history
              books
              > (i.e. why publicize moving data 6 feet, when 100 miles sounds more
              > impressive). I will cetainly follow this thread.

              In theory, would there not have been automated telegraph communicaitons of
              punchcard data?
            • Mike Loewen
              ... The Whirlwind computer at MIT s Lincoln Labs used early modems to test the Cape Cod System (ca. 1951), the prototype for SAGE. SAGE used modems over
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 22 10:53 AM
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                On Wed, 22 Sep 2010, Evan Koblentz wrote:

                > Yeah forget the "first" aspect; I just mean what are the earliest examples that we march-ins know of?

                The Whirlwind computer at MIT's Lincoln Labs used early modems to test
                the Cape Cod System (ca. 1951), the prototype for SAGE. SAGE used modems
                over telephone lines at 1300bps to communicate between radar sites and
                other SAGE centers.


                Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
              • Evan Koblentz
                ... Dan you are spoiling my fun rhetorical question. :) All MARCHins should know about Fieldata by now. Commissioned by (surprise!) Camp Evans and developed
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 22 10:54 AM
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                  >>> wasn't it the FieldData

                  Dan you are spoiling my fun rhetorical question. :)

                  All MARCHins should know about Fieldata by now. Commissioned by (surprise!) Camp Evans and developed by Sylvania (RCA was one of several subcontractors; Sylvania was the primary one and it was a Sylvania guy who thought up Fieldata.)

                  Sylvania's Watts Humphrey, who was there and was a key member of the group, lectured at VCF East a couple of years ago.
                • Evan Koblentz
                  ... Excellent point.
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 22 10:56 AM
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                    >>> Whirlwind computer at MIT's Lincoln Labs used early modems to test the Cape Cod System (ca. 1951)

                    Excellent point.
                  • Dan Roganti
                    ... oh yes, this is should ve known -doh ~ usaf vet
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 22 11:00 AM
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                      On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                      >>> Whirlwind computer at MIT's Lincoln Labs used early modems to test the Cape Cod System (ca. 1951)

                      Excellent point.



                      oh yes, this is
                      should've known
                      -doh ~
                      usaf  vet

                    • Justin Jernigan
                      Does George Stibitz s work not count because he used a teletype on one end? _____ From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 22 11:10 AM
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                        Does George Stibitz's work not count because he used a teletype on one end?


                        From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Evan Koblentz
                        Sent: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:56 PM
                        To: MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro
                        Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] History of networking

                         

                        >>> Whirlwind computer at MIT's Lincoln Labs used early modems to

                        test the Cape Cod System (ca. 1951)

                        Excellent point.
                      • Evan Koblentz
                        ... It all counts, it s just a question of where people like to draw their arbitrary lines. For example, when I tell people about MOBIDIC, sometimes they laugh
                        Message 11 of 18 , Sep 22 11:18 AM
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                          >>> Does George Stibitz's work not count because he used a teletype on one end?‬

                          It all counts, it's just a question of where people like to draw their arbitrary lines.

                          For example, when I tell people about MOBIDIC, sometimes they laugh at calling it "portable". But it was specifically designed to move around. "It's a portable computer, Jim, but not as we know it..."
                        • Bob Schwier
                          Portable meant that it had a handle and could be lifted onto a battleship. bs ... From: Evan Koblentz Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] History
                          Message 12 of 18 , Sep 22 11:29 AM
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                            Portable meant that it had a handle and could be lifted onto a battleship.
                            bs

                            --- On Wed, 9/22/10, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:

                            From: Evan Koblentz <evan@...>
                            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] History of networking
                            To: "MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro" <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
                            Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 2:18 PM

                             
                            >>> Does George Stibitz's work not count because he used a teletype on one end?‬

                            It all counts, it's just a question of where people like to draw their arbitrary lines.

                            For example, when I tell people about MOBIDIC, sometimes they laugh at calling it "portable". But it was specifically designed to move around. "It's a portable computer, Jim, but not as we know it..."

                          • mejeep_ferret
                            ... I suspect folks have already replied with really good examples such as the SAGE remote site. I fear there s a value-call regarding data acquisition since
                            Message 13 of 18 , Sep 23 10:43 PM
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                              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
                              > Thinking aloud: unrelated to Ethernet, what really was the (ahem) "first" example of data moving between computers across a wire?

                              I suspect folks have already replied with really good examples such as the SAGE remote site. I fear there's a value-call regarding data acquisition since remote sensors MAY have included some rudimentary computer or data handling (or advanced such as a Programmed Data Processor: PDP).

                              Outside of lab or military work, most things were done off-line. Even into the 80s, many businesses and colleges still had huge rooms full of keypunch machines kept busy by keypunch operators (this is before "data entry" or "keyboarding"). I have a brochure from the late 50s describing accounting machines and there was one that duplicated paper tape over a phone. But that that networking? Perhaps: consider the first telegraphs. They clicked, but some worked unattended by moving a pen on a paper tape, thus the terms "mark" and "space" (still used to describe serial line status, as well as "break"). Just like the telephone (before Strowger's automatic dialer), people were "the switch", routing messages amid the otherwise disconnected telegraph loops (kinda like routing amid subnets). Ya, it was still human intervention and off-line processing but there were machines involved. Not always computing machines, though.

                              > Or was "wireless networking" first, i.e. data being included in comms streams to spacecraft?

                              I wonder if "IFF" (Identify Friend/Foe) counts? That was WW II vintage work, integrated into RADAR. When did RTTY begin and were there any evolutions between morse code and binary codes?


                              Re-reading the original question: it seems to imply peer-to-peer sharing. That's unfair to hierarchical systems such as IBM's evolution of mainframes to terminal controllers to terminals which evolved into SNA. Even RJE (remote job entry) terminals dialed up into remote computers (in the 70s) and had some microcontroller handling the serial protocol and printer and card reader.

                              Stretching the question a little, one could assert that mainframe I/O systems were small networks due to the "intelligence" built into all the controllers and devices.


                              One thing I find frustrating is the industry's reluctance to link things directly to computers. Even in the 70s, I remember seeing lab equipment drawing onto chart recorders, which were then hand-digitized for computer work. Drafting was done by hand, then similarly scanned or digitized (usually not at all, kept offline). To bring this back home, Univac tried to make the leap from tabulating equipment to keying direct to tape, but that was just too much of a leap for most folks! I have IBM and Honeywell electronic keyboards with the awful keypunch layout, apparently intended to phase keypunch operators over to online data-entry. Until time-sharing was common, most tasks were offline out of necessity (batch processing), thus the delay of computer to computer direct unattended communications.

                              -- jeffj
                            • MITA - Gmail
                              It would probably be useful to separate the discussion into WANs vs. LANs. Most textbooks erroneously distinguish between these two as being based on distance.
                              Message 14 of 18 , Sep 24 7:14 AM
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                                It would probably be useful to separate the discussion into WANs vs. LANs. Most textbooks erroneously distinguish between these two as being based on distance. The proper distinction is between point-to-point connections and multipoint connections. FDDI is a LAN technology that can span about 200 kilometers, IIRC, and I have seen computers connected by null modem cables where one computer was literally sitting on top of the other in a point-to-point WAN.

                                 

                                The original question in this thread had to do with Ethernet, in particular DIX Ethernet. Ethernet existed before the DIX consortium got together and came up with a slightly different frame format. Ethernet is a multipoint protocol. Arcnet also was a LAN architecture from the same era, and Datapoint fans claim that it predated Ethernet.

                                 

                                Comparing these technologies with point-to-point connections is useless – it would be easy (and not particularly enlightening, IMHO) to include things like telegraphs.

                                 

                                Gil

                                --
                                A. G. (Gil) Carrick, Director
                                Museum of Information Technology at Arlington

                                DT MITA icon

                                1012 Portofino Drive

                                Arlington, TX 76012
                                817-264-MITA (6482) - gil.carrick (Skype)

                                http://MIT-A.com

                                 

                              • Bill Degnan
                                ... ... There must be a book on the history of the Ethernet that is not written by someone at D|i|g|i|a|l or XEROXT Bill Degnan
                                Message 15 of 18 , Sep 24 7:34 AM
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                                  -------- Original Message --------
                                  > From: "MITA - Gmail" <museum.it.arlington@...>
                                  > Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 10:14 AM
                                  > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: History of networking
                                  >
                                  > It would probably be useful to separate the discussion into WANs vs. LANs.
                                  <snip>
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > The original question in this thread had to do with Ethernet, in particular
                                  > DIX Ethernet.
                                  <snip>

                                  There must be a book on the history of the Ethernet that is not written by someone at D|i|g|i|a|l or XEROXT

                                  Bill Degnan
                                • system@great-escape.tmesis.com
                                  ... Is Cisco a reliable enough source??? http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/internetworking/technology/handbook/Ethernet.html#wp1020560 The original Ethernet
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Sep 30 5:57 PM
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                                    "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...> writes:

                                    >There must be a book on the history of the Ethernet that is not written by =
                                    >someone at D|i|g|i|a|l or XEROXT=20

                                    Is Cisco a reliable enough source???

                                    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/internetworking/technology/handbook/Ethernet.html#wp1020560


                                    The original Ethernet specifications we worked from in those days should be
                                    sufficient, not? I quoted from its opening preamble here too. I'd consider
                                    that all three companies had there name on that spec and should suffice that
                                    they all agreed to the verbiage of it.

                                    Xerox created an experimental "ethernet" that became its physical link. The
                                    patent to which I posted here. Ethernet is a specification of both physical
                                    and Data Link layers (reference: ISO 7 layer networking model[*]). I won't
                                    go on to belabor who devised the various aspects of it, nor will I elaborate
                                    upon who was instrumental in its proliferation to ingrain it as the standard
                                    for networking today.

                                    I'm not going to concern myself with this any further; I can put my H4000s
                                    and H4005s, 10base5 etherhose and AUIs to use elsewhere.



                                    [*] Andrew S. Tannenbaum, "Computer Networks" is a good treatise on network
                                    algorithms and the ISO model. I have several editions here. I can get the
                                    ISBNs if anybody is interested.


                                    Back into the kernel for me...
                                  • jack99rubin
                                    ... It should go without saying that no single source, especially one with a marketing department, is beyond suspicion in a discussion like this!!! That there
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Oct 1, 2010
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                                      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, system@... wrote:
                                      >
                                      > "Bill Degnan" <billdeg@...> writes:
                                      >
                                      > >There must be a book on the history of the Ethernet that is not written by =
                                      > >someone at D|i|g|i|a|l or XEROXT=20
                                      >
                                      > Is Cisco a reliable enough source???
                                      >
                                      > http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/internetworking/technology/handbook/Ethernet.html#wp1020560
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > The original Ethernet specifications we worked from in those days should be
                                      > sufficient, not? I quoted from its opening preamble here too. I'd consider
                                      > that all three companies had there name on that spec and should suffice that
                                      > they all agreed to the verbiage of it.
                                      >
                                      > Xerox created an experimental "ethernet" that became its physical link. The
                                      > patent to which I posted here. Ethernet is a specification of both physical
                                      > and Data Link layers (reference: ISO 7 layer networking model[*]). I won't
                                      > go on to belabor who devised the various aspects of it, nor will I elaborate
                                      > upon who was instrumental in its proliferation to ingrain it as the standard
                                      > for networking today.
                                      >
                                      > I'm not going to concern myself with this any further; I can put my H4000s
                                      > and H4005s, 10base5 etherhose and AUIs to use elsewhere.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [*] Andrew S. Tannenbaum, "Computer Networks" is a good treatise on network
                                      > algorithms and the ISO model. I have several editions here. I can get the
                                      > ISBNs if anybody is interested.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Back into the kernel for me...
                                      >

                                      It should go without saying that no single source, especially one with a marketing department, is beyond suspicion in a discussion like this!!!

                                      That there was enough (perceived) demand to corral these mavericks together long enough to come up with a shared spec is the wonder of it. The real history, as "system" says, is in the internal corporate conversations and the IEEE committee meetings. Lots of head butting, private agendas and cross purposes all bottled up to produce something that was "good enough" to power Al Gore's vision for an interconnected world.

                                      Ever the cynic,
                                      Jack
                                    • system@great-escape.tmesis.com
                                      ... That would leave DEC out. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, honest lawyers and DEC marketing are all fictitious entities. ... I do hope that was a
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Oct 1, 2010
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                                        "jack99rubin" <jack.rubin@...> writes:

                                        >It should go without saying that no single source, especially one with a ma=
                                        >rketing department, is beyond suspicion in a discussion like this!!!=20

                                        That would leave DEC out. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, honest lawyers
                                        and DEC marketing are all fictitious entities.


                                        >That there was enough (perceived) demand to corral these mavericks together=
                                        > long enough to come up with a shared spec is the wonder of it. The real hi=
                                        >story, as "system" says, is in the internal corporate conversations and the=
                                        > IEEE committee meetings. Lots of head butting, private agendas and cross p=
                                        >urposes all bottled up to produce something that was "good enough" to power=
                                        > Al Gore's vision for an interconnected world.

                                        I do hope that was a tongue-in-cheek poke at "Al Gore", the inventor of
                                        the internet. ;)


                                        >Ever the cynic,

                                        Welcome to the club.
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