New submitter strangebush sends this quote from Wired about Van Jacobson's work on the TCP/IP protocol in the '80s, which helped stabilize early computer networks
enough for them to eventually grow into the internet:
"'I was getting a bit per second between two network gateways that were literally in the same room,' Jacobson remembers. ... In 1985, Berkeley ran one of the IMPs, or interface message processors, that served as the main nodes on the ARPAnet, a network funded by the U.S. Department of Defense that connected various research institutions and government organizations across the country. The network was designed so that any node could send data at any time, but for some reason, Berkeley's IMP was only sending data every twelve seconds. As it turns out, the IMP was waiting for other nodes to complete their transmissions before sending its data. The ARPAnet was meant to be a mesh network, where all nodes can operate on their own, but it was behaving like a token ring network, where each node can only send when they receive a master token. 'Our IMP would just keep accumulating data and accumulating data for about twelve seconds and then it would dump it,' says Jacobson. 'It was like the old token ring networks when you couldn't say anything until you got the token. But the ARPAnet wasn't built to do that. There was no global protocol like that.'"