A Brief History of Computer Networking
|Introduction. Now for a bit of background.
In the 1960s computers could very seldom communicate with each other.
When someone needed to move data from one computer to another it was done
via things like punch cards or magnetic tape. Even the formats for
these could be incompatible.
The US military, in particular, was very concerned about communications that could withstand war and espionage. The Department of Defense wanted networks that could function even if some connections were destroyed. ARPANet - Advanced Research Projects Agency Network came into being in connection with major research university infrastructures to bring such implementations into the rest of the world. ARPANet was built on two assumptions
From the start, there was no central authority which would make the network more vulnerable to attack in many ways. These beliefs resulted in a peer-to-peer networking philosophy. Data and information could travel in packets independently by any number of different paths through all kinds of linkages to their destination.
Distributed/Centralized Control. Think about how centralized authority/control actually makes any sort of operations more vulnerable to attack. Some classic "military" strategies are
There are obviously many others. But I think it is also the case that central control has a number of other disadvantages.
Obviously, as more central control is exerted all of these issues increase in vulnerability.
As we will see throughout the semester, how much centralized control should be used is an issue of much complexity. Unfortunately, it seems to always be at its worst when "authorities" are least willing to examine and consider how much control they do and should exert.
But considering how much we see individuals striving to exert centralized control, it is obvious that it has its advantages, at least for some people.
But, distributed control has its advantages and disadvantages. We will get into this to varying extents throughout the semester. But some of the advantages for developing more distributed systems are given in the following list.
What we will see in practice is that
But these are issues that we will discuss in much more detail over the entire semester.