NPL network

Last updated

The NPL Network or NPL Data Communications Network was a local area computer network operated by a team from the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington outside London that pioneered the concept of packet switching. Following a pilot experiment during 1967, elements of the first version of the network, Mark I, became operational during 1969 then fully operational in 1970, and the Mark II version operated from 1973 until 1986. The NPL network, followed by the wide area ARPANET in the United States, were the first two computer networks that implemented packet switching, and were interconnected in the early 1970s. The NPL network was designed and directed by Donald Davies.

Computer network collection of autonomous computers interconnected by a single technology

A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables, or wireless media such as Wi-Fi.

National Physical Laboratory (United Kingdom) National Measurement Institution of the United Kingdom

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the national measurement standards laboratory for the United Kingdom, based at Bushy Park in Teddington, London, England. It comes under the management of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Teddington largely suburban town centred in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Teddington is an affluent riverside area of South West London, England. Historically in Middlesex, it has been part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since 1965. Teddington is on a long meander of the Thames between Hampton Wick and Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. Mostly residential, it stretches from the river to Bushy Park with a long high street of generally upmarket shops, restaurants and pubs. There is a suspension bridge over the lowest non-tidal lock on the Thames, Teddington Lock. At Teddington's centre is a mid-rise urban development, containing offices and apartments. Teddington and surrounding areas have some of the highest house prices in the UK outside of Central London.

Contents

Origins

In 1965, Donald Davies, who was later appointed to head of the NPL Division of Computer Science, proposed a national data network based on packet switching in Proposal for the Development of a National Communications Service for On-line Data Processing. After the proposal was not taken up nationally, during 1966 he headed a team which produced a design for a local network to serve the needs of NPL and prove the feasibility of packet switching. [1] The design was the first to describe the concept of an "Interface computer", today known as a router. [2]

Donald Davies Welsh computer scientist

Donald Watts Davies, was a Welsh computer scientist who was employed at the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In 1965 he developed the concept of packet switching, which is today the dominant basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide, and implemented it in the NPL network. This was independent of the work of Paul Baran in the United States who had a similar idea in the early 1960s. The ARPANET project, a precursor to the Internet, credited Davies for his influence.

Router (computing) Device that forwards data packets between computer networks, creating an overlay internetwork

A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. Data sent through the internet, such as a web page or email, is in the form of data packets. A packet is typically forwarded from one router to another router through the networks that constitute an internetwork until it reaches its destination node.

The next year (1967) a written version of the proposal entitled NPL Data Network was presented by Roger Scantlebury at a conference at Gatlinburg of the proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery, which described how equipment ( nodes ) used to transmit signals ( packets ) would be connected by electrical links to re-transmit the signals between and to the nodes, and interface computers would be used to link node networks to so-called time-sharing computers and other users. The interface computers would transmit multiplex signals between networks, and nodes would switch transmissions while connected to electrical circuitry functioning at a rate of processing amounting to mega-bits. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] In Scantlebury's report following the conference, he noted "It would appear that the ideas in the NPL paper at the moment are more advanced than any proposed in the USA". [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is an international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947, and is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society. The ACM is a non-profit professional membership group, claiming nearly 100,000 student and professional members as of 2019. Its headquarters are in New York City.

In telecommunications networks, a node is either a redistribution point or a communication endpoint. The definition of a node depends on the network and protocol layer referred to. A physical network node is an active electronic device that is attached to a network, and is capable of creating, receiving, or transmitting information over a communications channel. A passive distribution point such as a distribution frame or patch panel is consequently not a node.

A network packet is a formatted unit of data carried by a packet-switched network. A packet consists of control information and user data, which is also known as the payload. Control information provides data for delivering the payload, for example: source and destination network addresses, error detection codes, and sequencing information. Typically, control information is found in packet headers and trailers.

Packet switching

The first theoretical foundation of packet switching was the work of Paul Baran, in which data was transmitted in small chunks and routed independently by a method similar to store-and-forward techniques between intermediate networking nodes. Davies independently arrived at the same model in 1965 and named it packet switching. [14] [15] He chose the term "packet" after consulting with an NPL linguist because it was capable of being translated into languages other than English without compromise. [16] Packet switching was used to produce an experimental network using a Honeywell 516 node. According to Zakon, NPL under Davies was the earliest organisation that created a packet switching network. [3] [17] [9] [18]

Packet switching a method of grouping data which is transmitted over a digital network into packets

Packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into packets. Packets are made of a header and a payload. Data in the header are used by networking hardware to direct the packet to its destination where the payload is extracted and used by application software. Packet switching is the primary basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide.

Paul Baran American engineer

Paul Baran was a Polish-born Jewish American engineer who was a pioneer in the development of computer networks. He was one of the two independent inventors of packet switching, which is today the dominant basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide, and went on to start several companies and develop other technologies that are an essential part of modern digital communication.

Store and forward is a telecommunications technique in which information is sent to an intermediate station where it is kept and sent at a later time to the final destination or to another intermediate station. The intermediate station, or node in a networking context, verifies the integrity of the message before forwarding it. In general, this technique is used in networks with intermittent connectivity, especially in the wilderness or environments requiring high mobility. It may also be preferable in situations when there are long delays in transmission and variable and high error rates, or if a direct, end-to-end connection is not available.

Development

Following a pilot experiment during 1967, [19] [20] [21] [22] Davies gave the first public demonstration of packet switching on 5 August 1968. [23] Elements of the first version of the network, Mark I, became operational during 1969 then fully operational in 1970, and the Mark II version operated from 1973. [3] [4] [24] The NPL team also carried out simulation work on the performance of packet networks. [25] The local area NPL network and the wide area ARPANET in the United States, were the first two computer networks that implemented packet switching. [26] [27]

A pilot study, pilot project, pilot test, or pilot experiment is a small scale preliminary study conducted in order to evaluate feasibility, duration, cost, adverse events, and improve upon the study design prior to performance of a full-scale research project.

ARPANET Early packet switching network that was the first to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet-switching network and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. The ARPANET was initially founded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense.

The NPL network was later interconnected with other networks, including the ARPANET in 1973. [3] [28] The NPL network used a line speed of 768 kbit/s in 1967. [21] [22] Influenced by this, the proposed line speed for ARPANET was upgraded from 2.4 kbit/s to 50 kbit/s and a similar packet format adopted. [29] [30] [31] In 1976, 12 computers and 75 terminal devices were attached, [32] and more were added. The network remained in operation until 1986, influencing other research in the UK and Europe. [33] [25] Alongside Donald Davies, the NPL team included Derek Barber, Roger Scantlebury, Peter Wilkinson, Keith Bartlett, and Brian Aldous. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

History of the Internet History of the Internet, a global system of interconnected computer networks

The history of the Internet has its origin in the efforts of wide area networking that originated in several computer science laboratories in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. The U.S. Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s, including for the development of the ARPANET project, directed by Robert Taylor and managed by Lawrence Roberts. The first message was sent over the ARPANET in 1969 from computer science Professor Leonard Kleinrock's laboratory at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to the second network node at Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Packet radio form of amateur radio data communications using the AX25 protocol

Packet radio is a digital radio communications mode used to send packets of data. Packet radio uses packet switching to transmit datagrams. This is very similar to how packets of data are transferred between nodes on the Internet. Packet radio can be used to transmit data long distances.

Internet backbone Vital infrastructure of the networks of the Internet

The Internet backbone may be defined by the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected computer networks and core routers on the Internet.

The end-to-end principle is a design framework in computer networking. In networks designed according to this principle, application-specific features reside in the communicating end nodes of the network, rather than in intermediary nodes, such as gateways and routers, that exist to establish the network.

In telecommunications, a point-to-point connection refers to a communications connection between two communication endpoints or nodes. An example is a telephone call, in which one telephone is connected with one other, and what is said by one caller can only be heard by the other. This is contrasted with a point-to-multipoint or broadcast connection, in which many nodes can receive information transmitted by one node. Other examples of point-to-point communications links are leased lines, microwave radio relay and two-way radio.

Leonard Kleinrock is an American computer scientist. A professor at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, he made several important contributions to the field of computer networking, in particular to the theoretical foundations of computer networking. He played an influential role in the development of the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, at UCLA.

The CYCLADES computer network was a French research network created in the early 1970s. It was one of the pioneering networks experimenting with the concept of packet switching, and was developed to explore alternatives to the ARPANET design. The network supported general local network research.

The Interface Message Processor (IMP) was the packet switching node used to interconnect participant networks to the ARPANET from the late 1960s to 1989. It was the first generation of gateways, which are known today as routers. An IMP was a ruggedized Honeywell DDP-516 minicomputer with special-purpose interfaces and software. In later years the IMPs were made from the non-ruggedized Honeywell 316 which could handle two-thirds of the communication traffic at approximately one-half the cost. An IMP requires the connection to a host computer via a special bit-serial interface, defined in BBN Report 1822. The IMP software and the ARPA network communications protocol running on the IMPs was discussed in RFC 1, the first of a series of standardization documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Lawrence Roberts (scientist) American electrical engineer and computer scientist

Lawrence Gilman Roberts was an American engineer who received the Draper Prize in 2001 "for the development of the Internet", and the Principe de Asturias Award in 2002.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to telecommunication:

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Internet.

Core router type of router designed to operate in the Internet backbone

A core router is a router designed to operate in the Internet backbone, or core. To fulfill this role, a router must be able to support multiple telecommunications interfaces of the highest speed in use in the core Internet and must be able to forward IP packets at full speed on all of them. It must also support the routing protocols being used in the core. A core router is distinct from an edge router: edge routers sit at the edge of a backbone network and connect to core routers.

Internet in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has been involved with the Internet since it was created. The telecommunications infrastructure provides Internet access to businesses and home users in various forms, including cable, DSL, and wireless. The Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United Kingdom is .uk and is sponsored by Nominet.

References

  1. Pelkey, James (2007), "NPL Network and Donald Davies 1966 - 1971", Entrepreneurial Capitalism and Innovation: A History of Computer Communications 1968-1988 , retrieved 13 April 2016
  2. Roberts, Dr. Lawrence G. (May 1995). "The ARPANET & Computer Networks" . Retrieved 13 April 2016. Then in June 1966, Davies wrote a second internal paper, "Proposal for a Digital Communication Network" In which he coined the word packet,- a small sub part of the message the user wants to send, and also introduced the concept of an "Interface computer" to sit between the user equipment and the packet network.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Hempstead, C.; Worthington, W., eds. (8 August 2005). Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology. Routledge. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  4. 1 2 A Hey, G Pápay (8 December 2014). The Computing Universe: A Journey through a Revolution. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0521766451 . Retrieved 2015-08-16.(source: Roger Scantlebury - p.201)
  5. B. Steil, Council on Foreign Relations (1 January 2002). Technological Innovation and Economic Performance. Princeton University Press. ISBN   0691090912 . Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  6. Oxford Dictionaries - word definition - relay & word definition - node published by Oxford University Press [Retrieved 2015-08-16]
  7. J. Everard - STATES (p.14) published by Routledge 28 Feb 2013 (reprint), 176 pages, ISBN   1134692757 [Retrieved 2015-08-16]
  8. F.E. Froehlich, A. Kent (14 November 1990). The Froehlich/Kent Encyclopedia of Telecommunications: Volume 1 - Access Charges in the U.S.A. to Basics of Digital Communications. CRC Press. p. 344. ISBN   0824729005., Volume 1 of Encyclopedia of Telecommunications|accessdate=2015-08-16}}
  9. 1 2 J. Gillies, R. Cailliau (2000). How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. Oxford University Press. pp. 23–25. ISBN   0192862073.
  10. "Oral-History:Donald Davies & Derek Barber" . Retrieved 13 April 2016. the ARPA network is being implemented using existing telegraphic techniques simply because the type of network we describe does not exist. It appears that the ideas in the NPL paper at this moment are more advanced than any proposed in the USA
  11. Naughton, John (2015). "8 Packet post". A Brief History of the Future: The origins of the Internet. Hachette UK. ISBN   1474602770. they lacked one vital ingredient. Since none of them had heard of Paul Baran they had no serious idea of how to make the system work. And it took an English outfit to tell them.
  12. Barber, Derek (Spring 1993). "The Origins of Packet Switching". The Bulletin of the Computer Conservation Society (5). ISSN   0958-7403 . Retrieved 6 September 2017. Roger actually convinced Larry that what he was talking about was all wrong and that the way that NPL were proposing to do it was right. I've got some notes that say that first Larry was sceptical but several of the others there sided with Roger and eventually Larry was overwhelmed by the numbers.
  13. Abbate, Jane (2000). Inventing the Internet. MIT Press. p. 37. ISBN   0262261332. Although he was aware of the concept of packet switching, Roberts was not sure how to implement it in a large network.
  14. Scantlebury, Roger (25 June 2013). "Internet pioneers airbrushed from history". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  15. "Packets of data were the key...". NPL. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  16. Harris, Trevor, Who is the Father of the Internet? The case for Donald Watts Davies, p. 6, retrieved 10 July 2013
  17. T. Vickers (14 April 2005). Copeland, B. J. (ed.). Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine: The Master Codebreaker's Struggle to Build the Modern Computer. Oxford University Press. ISBN   0191625868 . Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  18. R.H. Zakon. Bidgoli, H. (ed.). The Internet Encyclopedia, G – O. published by John Wiley & Sons 2004, 840 pages,. ISBN   0471689963 . Retrieved 2015-08-16.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  19. Elliott, Geoffrey (2004). Global business information technology : an integrated systems approach. Financial Times Prentice Hall. p. 425. ISBN   9780321270122.
  20. Winston, Brian (2002). Media,Technology and Society: A History: From the Telegraph to the Internet. Routledge. p. 327. ISBN   1134766327.
  21. 1 2 Kaminow, Ivan; Li, Tingye (2002-05-22). Optical Fiber Telecommunications IV-B: Systems and Impairments. Elsevier. p. 29. ISBN   978-0-08-051319-5.
  22. 1 2 "The History of the Internet". The History of Computing Project. 19 March 2001. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  23. "The accelerator of the modern age". BBC News. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  24. "UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL) & Donald Davies". Living Internet. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  25. 1 2 C. Hempstead; W. Worthington (2005). Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Technology. Routledge.
  26. Roberts, Lawrence G. (November 1978). "The Evolution of Packet Switching" . Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  27. "Donald Davies". thocp.net; "Donald Davies". internethalloffame.org.
  28. M. Ziewitz & I. Brown (2013). Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 7. ISBN   1849805040 . Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  29. Abbate, Jane (2000). Inventing the Internet. MIT Press. p. 38. ISBN   0262261332.
  30. "Brief History of the Internet". Internet Society. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  31. Roberts, Dr. Lawrence G. (May 1995). "The ARPANET & Computer Networks" . Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  32. "The National Physical Laboratory Data Communications Netowrk". 1974. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  33. Packet Switching
  34. "Technology of the Internet". The National Museum of Computing. Retrieved 3 October 2017.

Further reading