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The Evolution of Host to Host Protocol Technology Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131445D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 13 page(s) / 53K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

David C. Walden: AUTHOR [+4]


Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc.

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1979 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

The Evolution of Host to Host Protocol Technology

David C. Walden

Alexander A. McKenzie Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc.

(Image Omitted: The growth of networking -- more and more computers of different makes communicating with each other -- will motivate the greater standardization of host-to- host protocols.)

The past decade has been one of great activity in the development of computer communications networks. No aspect of this activity has been more difficult than the development of the procedures and conventions used by "host" computers attempting to communicate with each other across a network. (We apply the term "host" to distinguish them from the machines often used to make up the communications subnetwork.)

These host machines are almost infinitely various. They can be made by different manufacturers and use different operating systems. They can be relatively accommodating, or extremely unaccommodating, to the addition of the computer communication function. They can be attached to communication subnetworks providing either a very sophisticated or a very primitive communications capability. They can be made by a vendor who believes in supporting communication with other vendors' equipment or who hopes to discourage it. Here, we discuss host communication procedures and conventions, tracing their evolution and relating them to other network technologies.

When computer communication development first entered the present era (with the beginning of construction of the Arpanet'in 1968), researchers unaccountably used the word "protocol" to mean a set of communication procedures and conventions.* Thus, we use the term "host-to- host protocol" for the subject of this paper.

All communication protocols of interest appear to have at least two common elements: (1) the establishment of path conventions and (2) the definition of path control procedures. Path conventions deal with timing considerations (e.g., communication with a 300-baud terminal), encoding or representational considerations (e.g., using the ASCII character set), and methods for multiplexing control information and data on the same communication path (e.g., provision of certain distinguishable control characters used to signal that the direction of transmission should be reversed). Path control procedures establish a virtual communications medium between the communicating entities; this medium has certain desirable characteristics which may not be possessed by the physical medium (e.g., provision for addressing, synchronization, error control, and flow c...