The Internet design grew out of the pioneering packet-switched network called the ARPAnet. The ARPAnet was a mostly-US national network built of mini-computer packet switches, called Interface Message Processors (IMPs), that were linked by 56kbps leased telephone lines. The IMPs were designed and built by Bolt, Beranek, and Neumann (BBN) under contract with ARPA, beginning in 1968. One of BBN's first tasks was to define the standard hardware interface between a host and a colocated IMP. This interface was described in BBN Report 1822 [BBN1822], which was a bible for the administrators of the many different hosts that connected to the ARPAnet.
The BBN Report 1822 host/IMP hardware interface was bit-serial and asynchronous. In 1968, the 8-bit byte had not yet been adopted as an industry standard, so the interface had to cope with word-based machines with arbitrary word length -- some common word lengths were 8, 12, 16, 24, 36, and 60, but there were others. From the software viewpoint, Report 1822 defined what would today be called the link- layer access protocol for the ARPAnet.
Braden, et al. Informational [Page 1]
RFC 3109 Request to Move STD 39 to Historic Status May 2001
In 1983 the US DoD moved the ARPAnet technology to TCP/IP and split off parts of the ARPAnet to form a production facility called MILNET. The DoD mandated a byte-oriented, X.25-based interface for the MILNET IMPs. However, the machines on the research-oriented ARPAnet continued to use the 1822 interface under the new Internet protocol suite. Therefore, BBN Report 1822 was made an Internet Standard, STD 39, although the report was not republished as an RFC.
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