How the Internet came to be: On use by other networks

by Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba
Copyright (C) 1993 Vinton Cerf. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for noncommercial purposes.
This node is a part of How the Internet Came to Be node

The Domain Name System (DNS) has been a key to the scaling of the Internet, allowing it to include non-Internet email systems and solving the problem of name-to-address mapping in a smooth scalable way. Paul Mockapetris deserves enormous credit for the elegant design of the DNS, on which we are still very dependent. Its primary goal was to solve the problems with the host.txt files and to get rid of centralized management. Support for Mail eXchange (MX) was added after the fact, in a second phase. Once you get a sufficient degree of connectivity, it becomes more advantageous to link to this highly connected thing and tunnel through it rather than to build a system in parallel. So BITNET, FidoNet, AppleTalk, SNA, Novell IPX, and DECNet tunneling are a consequence of the enormous connectivity of the Internet.

The Internet has become a test bed for development of other protocols. Since there was no lower level OSI infrastructure available, Marshall Rose proposed that the Internet could be used to try out X.400 and X.500. In RFC 1006, he proposed that we emulate TP0 on top of TCP, and so there was a conscious decision to help higher-level OSI protocols to be deployed in live environments before the lower-level protocols were available.

It seems likely that the Internet will continue to be the environment of choice for the deployment of new protocols and for the linking of diverse systems in the academic, government, and business sectors for the remainder of this decade and well into the next. .

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