Talk:National Science Foundation Network

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working on this page re the event that's happening today (talk) 14:12, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Three maps were added and so the reqmap request has been removed. Jeff Ogden (talk) 04:08, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Physical location?[edit]

Did they rent lines from the telephone companies, or did they build their own lines? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

MCI provided the T1 and later the T3 circuits that were used for the NSFNET backbone. Jeff Ogden (talk) 06:03, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

ARPANET connection[edit]

Was NSFNet physically connected to the ARPANET? -- Beland (talk) 17:48, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I believe so. There was a link to MILNET. The ARPANET was in the process of going away as NSFNET was being created. Jeff Ogden (talk) 06:03, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

ANS and UUNET and the history of the Internet[edit]

The following statement was deleted from the article earlier today by Kbrose:

ANS built and owned the first truly redundant nation-wide Internet backbone - it was completed by 1992. I worked for ANS, and I have a network map right here. UUNET was limited to Southern California and was actually the first sign of the internet, using TCP/IP. I see no mention of UUNET or ANS anywhere in the history of the internet on Wikipedia... which is just wrong.

I didn't write or delete the statement, but I agree that it would be best to talk about it here and so am adding this section to get the discussion started. Here are some comments of my own:

  • ANS did not build and own the first truly redundant nation-wide Internet backbone. The T1 NSFNET backbone was in operation before ANS was created by Merit, IBM, and MCI.
  • The data circuits for NSFNET were provided and owned by MCI. In later years ANS operated and managed NSFNET and ANSNET using shared network infrastructure. ANS operated NSFNET on behalf of the Merit Network. Merit held and remained ultimately responsible for the operation of NSFNET under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. ANSNET was a logically separate network that was operated and paid for by ANS. It allowed commercial traffic without the need to follow NSF's Acceptable Use Policy (which prohibited commercial traffic under many circumstances). There were agreements between NSF, Merit, and ANS about how the shared network infrastructure was to be managed, but other than that, Merit and NSF didn't have much to do with ANSNET.
  • UUNET was an early ISP that allowed commercial traffic. I'd need to check the dates to be sure when it started or really when it started to use TCP/IP and offer true Internet services.
  • This article is about NSFNET. ANS played an important role in that and so should be, but isn't currently, mentioned in the article. But more generally this article probably isn't the place to address the full history of the Internet.
  • The NSFNET article really needs to be rewritten. While I think what the current article says is correct, the current article doesn't read very well and has a lot of redundant material while at the same time leaving other important or at least interesting things out.
  • I'm willing to work on a rewrite, but I'll be traveling and won't get to it for at least a month or two. Others with more time in the near future should feel free to work on the article now.

Jeff Ogden (talk) 06:51, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

I started on the rewrite I mentioned in the last two bullet points above. Still a lot of work to be done.
Jeff Ogden (talk) 21:05, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
I think I'm done with my updates. Hopefully I've addressed the issues wrt ANS and UUNET.
Jeff Ogden (talk) 18:19, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
A few other articles related to NSFNET were also updated and would benefit from a review: vBNS, Network Access Point (NAP), Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX), and North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG)
Jeff Ogden (talk) 19:34, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Regarding the start of the Internet and reference to Internet users on ARPANET & CSNET[edit]

Per the Internet wiki page - Use of the term "Internet" to describe a single global TCP/IP network originated in December 1974 with the publication of RFC 675, the first full specification of TCP that was written by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine, then at Stanford University. During the next nine years, work proceeded to refine the protocols and to implement them on a wide range of operating systems. The first TCP/IP-based wide-area network was operational by 1 January 1983 when all hosts on the ARPANET were switched over from the older NCP protocols. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

What's your point? Kbrose (talk) 20:24, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
I like the current wording/rewording from Kbrose. Some of the confusion is the difference between "the Internet" and "the term Internet". If "the Internet" is the world-wide network-of-networks using the TCP/IP protocols, then the ARPANET didn't become part of that until the late 1980s since it was a relatively closed network run by the US Defense Department that was pretty hard to get access to and that much of the non-U.S. world was more than a little skeptical of. The early ARPANET was an internet, but not the Internet. I'm less sure how CSNet fits in. It was an alternative to the ARPANET, but it was only partly a true TCP/IP network. There was a CSNET to ARPANET gateway, but not until sometime in the early 1980s. Certainly not all the way back to 1974. Jeff Ogden (talk) 06:34, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Jeff, for finishing my sentence. Was looking for a specific project term, and got interrupted and forgot to finish, I recall. Yes, your point about CSNET is valid, as is everything else you mentioned, and I think it is only in the article because of the funding history with various stages of networking needs. That puts the NSFNET effort in better perspective perhaps. Kbrose (talk) 16:41, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
I like the rewording as well, but to be clear CSNET is not "in the article because of the funding history". CSNET is the formal precursor to the NSFNET, as it is the first TCP/IP network that was available outside of the networking research community, and it was actually the NSFNET's first funding of any part of the Internet - "The National Science Board approves the new plan and funds it for five years at a cost of $5 million. Since the protocols for interconnecting the subnets of CSNET include TCP/IP, NSF becomes an early supporter of the Internet." Also note that when the NSFNET was established, it interconnected via IP with CSNET, but the NSFNET did not even interconnect directly with either ARPANET or MILNET. CSNET (as the prototype of NSFNET and interconnected with it) was the earliest network of the generally available Internet. One could claim that neither CSNET nor NSFNET were actually the "public" Internet until the AUP was removed in early 90's but if you consider the NSFNET part of the Internet, then CSNET is an earlier portion of the Internet. TcomptonMA (talk) 03:27, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with that characterization of CSNET. It was not a forerunner, it was afterthought to the ARPANET, to provide access to not-connected sites. ARPANET served not only network research. Also, CSNET ran mostly over X.25, tunneling TCP/IP, and there were many modem dialup connections. Only in terms of funding source was it a forerunner outside the DOD. But I do agree, that the NSFNET was not initially part of the Internet or ARPANET, it was simply a network to interconnect the supercomputing centers, and the connection to the larger Internet came through various gateways (VAXes? 750?) if I recall. Kbrose (talk) 00:42, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Then go argue with NSF, since they consider CSNET to be their initial foray into developing Internet services. (talk) 04:44, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
There is still the difference between "internet services" and "the Internet". I'm OK with the newest revised wording on this, if we make it a lowercase "i". In fact I'll do that now. Jeff Ogden (talk) 12:11, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Someone switched the "i" back to "I" with the justification that NSF uses the phrase "Internet Services". I guess I'm OK with that. But I'll leave everyone with the following that was taken from the History of the Internet article:
The term "internet" was adopted in the first RFC published on the TCP protocol (RFC 675: Internet Transmission Control Program, December 1974) as an abbreviation of the term internetworking and the two terms were used interchangeably. In general, an internet was any network using TCP/IP. It was around the time when ARPANET was interlinked with NSFNet in the late 1980s, that the term was used as the name of the network, Internet, being a large and global TCP/IP network.
Jeff Ogden (talk) 18:08, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Please read Doug Van Houweling's 1993 description of CSNET in the appendix of his CLIR report - <> "It is based on the TCP/IP protocol suite, and has been connected to the ARPANet from its inception. CSNET was developed to support the university computer science community and has been open to research and development efforts in both the higher education and industrial communities. CSNET uses both switched and leased circuits, as well as the X.25 protocol."
CSNET was based on TCP/IP , interconnected with ARPA (hence the creation of the Internet, interconnection of two distinct networks), and offered organizations with connections to "The Internet". This all occured pre-NSFNET, hence why NSF cites CSNET as their first effort supporting the Internet. (talk) 06:33, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Privatization vs Evolution of NSF Architecture[edit]

This is really one topic, and the privatization section could use some additional material from Karen Frazer's report: (talk) 09:35, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Recent updates should have addressed this. Jeff Ogden (talk) 18:20, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Regional Networks[edit]

There needs to be either a section here or a new wiki page for the Regional Networks (before we lose everyone who still remembers them) (talk) 12:40, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I added a new section on "Regional Networks". Right now it is just a list with names and where they were connected to NSFNET. It would be good to expand this, but I am not sure where to go to find the details. Perhaps the e-mail archives at Merit? Or the LINKLETTER newsletters in the Hathi Trust digital library? Or is there an archive of material from FARNET (the Federation of American Research Networks) somewhere? Jeff Ogden (talk) 15:44, 2 September 2011 (UTC) (talk) 19:45, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

International Connections Manager[edit]

There should be more about the NSF/Sprint International Connections Program in this article. Here's a possible source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by TcomptonMA (talkcontribs) 04:06, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, I agree. And some of this needs to be reflected back into the History of the Internet article. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Here is a quote from Jessica Yu that is taken from NSFNET: A Partnership for High-Speed Networking Final Report 1987-1995 (page 34):

“The NSFNET backbone glued together the international networks—almost all traffic from abroad would transit the NSFNET. With that kind of connectivity available, other countries were prompted to build their own networks so they could get connected too. Many of them used NSFNET's three-tiered structure—backbone, regionals, campus networks—when they started to build their own networks.”
--Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 04:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

An Unfortunate Choice of Wording[edit]

"True vision for the Internet"? Whose, exactly? What if someone's "true vision" is a network that only allows research, educational, or non-profit use? The wording makes it sound as lack of connectivity was all the fault of that mean old NSFNET getting in the way. What if those regulations served a legitimate purpose? Lothar76 (talk) 21:44, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

 Done, I hope. I changed the wording a bit and hopefully the change will resolve any NPOV problem. If not, we can continue the discussion here. I also removed the "POV-section|date=November 2013" template. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 00:11, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that the "mean old NSFNET" was to blame, but it was at the center of a controversy at the time. I do think that pretty much everyone wanted to allow commercial traffic in some fashion. The questions were about how to go about doing that, without violating the rules established by Congress for how NSF funds could be used and without diminishing the quality of the networking service that the Research and Education community had come to expect. --Jeff Ogden (W163) (talk) 00:11, 15 November 2013 (UTC)