FYI on "What is the Internet?" (RFC1462)
Original Publication Date: 1993-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-10
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
E. Krol: AUTHOR [+1]
This FYI RFC answers the question, "What is the Internet?" and is produced by the User Services Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard.
Network Working Group E. Krol Request for Comments: 1462 University of Illinois FYI: 20 E. Hoffman Merit Network, Inc. May 1993
FYI on "What is the Internet?"
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
This FYI RFC answers the question, "What is the Internet?" and is produced by the User Services Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Containing a modified chapter from Ed Krol’s 1992 book, "The Whole Internet User’s Guide and Catalog," the paper covers the Internet’s definition, history, administration, protocols, financing, and current issues such as growth, commercialization, and privatization.
A commonly asked question is "What is the Internet?" The reason such a question gets asked so often is because there’s no agreed upon answer that neatly sums up the Internet. The Internet can be thought about in relation to its common protocols, as a physical collection of routers and circuits, as a set of shared resources, or even as an attitude about interconnecting and intercommunication. Some common definitions given in the past include:
* a network of networks based on the TCP/IP protocols, * a community of people who use and develop those networks, * a collection of resources that can be reached from those networks.
Today’s Internet is a global resource connecting millions of users that began as an experiment over 20 years ago by the U.S. Department of Defense. While the networks that make up the Internet are based on a standard set of protocols (a mutually agreed upon method of communication between parties), the Internet also has gateways to networks and services that are based on other protocols.
Krol & Hoffman [Page 1]
RFC 1462 What is the Internet? May 1993
To help answer the question more completely, the rest of this paper contains an updated second chapter from "The Whole Internet User’s Guide and Catalog" by Ed Krol (1992) that gives a more thorough explanation. (The excerpt is published through the gracious permission of the publisher, O’Reilly & Associates, Inc.)
The Internet (excerpt from "The Whole Internet User’s Guide and Catalog")
The Internet was born about 20 years ago, trying to connect together a U.S. Defense Department network called the ARPAnet and various other radio and satellite networks. The ARPAnet was an experimental network designed to support military research--in particular, research about how to build networks that could withstand partial outages (like bomb attacks) and still function. (Think about this when I describe how the network works; it may give you some insight into the design of the Internet.) In the ARPAnet model, communication always occurs between a source and a destination computer. The network itself is assumed to be unreliable; any portion of the network could disappear at any moment (pick your favorite catastrophe--these days backhoes cut...