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This article claims a long list of "firsts" for BBN. Most of them are correct, but one is I think wrong. For future reference, here's some info on all of them.
- the first person-to-person network email sent - probably correct - see email for more.
- the first Internet Protocol router - this is correct; it was written in BCPL (possibly BLISS-11, but I think it was BCPL) for the ELF operating system on the PDP-11 (the PDP-11/40, to be exact). I don't have a reference at hand, but I remember this quite well (from the late 70's, when I started working on my own IP router). Ginny Strazisar was working on it in 1977, but I don't know if she was the original author.
- the first time-sharing system - I think this is correct, but there's some uncertainty. It was almost certainly one of the two PDP-1 systems: the first, at BBN, or the second, at RLE at MIT. (The McCarthy time-sharing demo on the 709 at MIT was earlier, but it wasn't really a service system.) According to Reminiscences On The History Of Time Sharing, "the BBN project was finished first in the summer of 1962"; Bell/Mudge/McNamara Computer Engineering says (pp. 140) that the "multi-user PDP-1 at MIT .. was operational in 1963". I'd like to see better confirmation on that (maybe research in the oral histories at the Babbage Institute), but it fits with McCarthy's memory.
- the first link-state routing protocol - correct - the so-called "New ARPANET routing protocol" done by John McQuillan. Again, no ref at hand, but they are easy to find.
- the first modem - this one is almost certainly incorrect. Depending on exactly how you define modem, it was either the SIGSALY system (which sent encrypted voice that was digitized - although they didn't have the term back then, or use it), or some of the early remote radar stuff done as part of Whirlwind (computer) work on the Cape Cod project.
- I have done some more research on this, and if SIGSALY was not the first modem, it appears to be a device created by John "Jack" Harrington of the Air Force Cambridge Research Lab in 1950, for sending radar data in digital form over analog phone lines. It thus seems very unlikely that BBN had anything to do with the first modems. So I'll delete that claim for now. It appears that this claim may be related to this entry:
- 1963 - Designed and demonstrated the first voice modem, called DataDial, to enable remote communication with computers by telephone.
- from this page on BBN's site. However, i) it's a long time after earlier devices, ii) that appears to be a particular kind of modem, and iii) in any event not enough technical details are given to be sure there was something really novel about this particular modem.
- If anyone has any more data, I would be interested to see it. Noel (talk) 23:39, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I was an employee of BBN for 22+ years and for a number of those years worked closely with Wally Feurzeig, who is the source of the modem claim. It is not quite what you have outlined above. In the early days of the remote time-sharing experiments one of the questions was how to send digital data to a computer in a readily interpretable form. Since there were no modems or similar encoding standards at the time, the developers used touch-tone phone signals. For this project, which I cannot identify specifically (would have to ask Wally) the engineers noted that there seemed to be no previous art, or so they thought at the time. It is my understanding that a patent application was drafted on the use of frequency encoding to transmit digital data that was very general and would have likely covered every analog modem ever built since. In typical BBN fashion, the corporate attorney, Michael Nacey, declined to pursue the matter, apparently feeling the idea was without a future or significant technical merit. I am no judge of the claims or their validity, but it is my understanding that this is the development referred to in the BBN Timeline cited above. Ldmjr (talk) 19:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
IP Address Range
Should this article mention somewhere that BBN is among a handful of companies to be assigned an entire IP address range by IANA? Scott 110 07:33, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
GTE bought BBN in the summer of 1997, not 1998.
Raytheon buys BBN
In-q-tel and BBN?
The latest edit states the In-q-tel invested, but the reference doesn't support that. There is another reference which does (as an aside) - http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/mass-high-tech/2008/11/thingmagic-in-q-tel-team-up-on-investment.html 126.96.36.199 (talk) 22:04, 24 March 2013 (UTC)