Friday, September 29, 2006

25 years of the TCP/IP Internet protocols

Two of the core protocols that define how data is transported over the Internet are 25 years old this month, according to an ISOC press release. The Internet Protocol (IP) and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), together known as TCP/IP, were formally standardized in September 1981 by the publication of RFC 791 and RFC 793.

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn are widely credited with the design of TCP/IP, and many others involved in the ARPANET project made significant contributions.

The core of the documents was RFC 675, published in December 1974 by Cerf together with co-authors Carl Sunshine and Yogen Dalal. The subsequent sequence of documents leading up to RFC 791 and 793 benefited from the participation of many people including Dave Clark, Jon Postel, Bob Braden, Ray Tomlinson, Bill Plummer, and Jim Mathis, as well as other unnamed contributors to the definition and implementation of what became the Internet's core protocols.

"We can't yet say that the Internet is mature," says Brian Carpenter, chair of the IETF, "but it's a great tribute to its pioneers that the two most basic specifications that were published a quarter of a century ago are still largely valid today. I hope the IP version 6 standard will do as well."

The RFC series, which was launched in 1969 by Steve Crocker at UCLA (and edited for many years by the late Jon Postel), continues today as the public archive of the Internet's fundamental technology. Since 1977 it has been hosted by The University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (ISI). ARPA support ended in 1998, at which time the Internet Society (ISOC) took over providing funding for the publication of Internet standards. More recently, ISOC extended its support to include other areas critical to the open development of Internet standards.


Blog Posting Number: 524

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