The Day the Infant Internet Uttered its First Words

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at usap.gov
Fri Jul 18 23:26:10 CDT 2008


On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 08:07:00PM -0700, Eric wrote:
> As a tangent to the "first" computer on the internet, I reference this
> interesting link, showing the IMP log, along with the date and time of
> the "birth" of said [I][i]nternet.
> 
> See:
> 
> http://www.lk.cs.ucla.edu/first_words.html

I'd heard the story before that the first traffic was "lo" (since something
crashed in the middle of "login")... good to see some hardcopy backing that
up.

Thanks for sharing that.

Thinking back to the early days of the 'net, does anyone happen
to have an electronic copy of the article describing the
construction of the "BBN 1822" async interface that was used to
connect PDP-11s to an IMP? 

Here's a link to the abstract of the original article:

<http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA037212>

Essentially, it's a high-speed parallel-async interface - parallel from
the PDP-11 (using an available-at-the-time DRV11C or DR11C), serial to
the IMP.  From what I know about mid-1970s PDP-11 peripherals, I expect
that DEC's serial cards weren't up to the task for some reason - probably
too slow or lacked some essential handshake that the IMP depended on,
or it could just be that the BBN 1822 interface handled 16-bit-to-8-bit
conversion in hardware to let the CPU worry about message headers and
content.  Looking at the original article would probably reveal some 
design element that could shed light on why it was specifically necessary
to throw external hardware at the problem.

The original document is known as "BBN 1822" or "STD 39", but according
to RFC 3109, the document in which "STD 39" was deprecated from a standard
to "historical", STD 39 was never republished as an RFC itself (thus is
not part of the various collections of RFCs).

I'm more interested in schematics of the PDP-11 IMP interface than pages
of IMP protocol descriptions.  Anyone have even that part of BBN 1822
around?

Thanks,

-ethan

-- 
Ethan Dicks, A-333-S     Current South Pole Weather at 19-Jul-2008 at 04:00 Z
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Ethan.Dicks at usap.gov            http://penguincentral.com/penguincentral.html



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