[ih] The story of BGP?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Sun Feb 10 18:57:35 PST 2013

    > From: Tony Li <tony.li at comcast.net>

    >>> The transition was more in the '91-'93 window. The urgency to publish
    >>> the RFC was far lower than the need to have working code and a
    >>> working network.

    >> Are you talking about the transition to BGP-4, or the transition to
    >> BGP?

    > The transition to BGP.

Ah, OK. But the BGP-3 spec came out in October '91, so it seems the specs
didn't lag as much as you seem to be indicating it did?

(There was also a version of the BGP spec which came out in June 1990 -
RFC-1163 - which doesn't have a number on it, but that must have been BGP-2,
although I'm not sure that term was ever used.)

    >>>> Was the shutdown of the ARPAnet a big factor?

    >>> Absolutely.

    >> I'm trying to see how this can be?

    > Recall that with the ARPAnet, we were all directly homed to 14/8 (and =
    > 10/8 for MILnet).

??? The ARPANET was 10/8, and the MILNET 26/8? 14.8 was the global X.25

    > Shutting down the ARPAnet is what triggered the creation of NSFnet,
    > which in turn resulted in the NSFnet regional networks.
    > ...
    > NSFnet would not have been necessary except for the planned
    > decommissioning of ARPAnet.

Ah, now I see what your reasoning is. However, I'm not sure this is what

The 56KB NSFNET was started in 1985 (I remember the Proteon/Cisco/Fuzzball
selection meeting), and entered service early in 1986. However, the decision
to shut down the ARPANET was made by Mark Pullen, who came to DARPA in 1987.
Likewise, the first regionals were started before 1987. IIRC, NYSRENET and
SURANET were both started before then.

Yes, the availability of the NSFNET and regionals allowed Mark to 'pull the
plug' on the ARPANET - but the evolution of the Internet to a
'multi-backbone' system was already underway when he did so - and, in fact,
it was inevitable.

Remember, use of the ARPANET was restricted to people with a DoD/DoE/NASA
contract/connection, whereas NSF wanted to make their network accessible to
everyone: that was the reason behind CSNET (in the early 1980s) and the
56K-phase NSFNET. In addition, as I indicated previously:

    >> Simply speeding up the ARPANET, to avoid the growt of the alternate
    >> backbones, was not an option. The ARPANET's whole architecture was
    >> just not suitable for high speeds. In particular, the
    >> 8-outstanding-packet limit [per 'link'] would have been a killer -
    >> particularly as all IP traffic shared one 'link'.)

So, again, I'm not sure the shutdown of the ARPANET was that important an
influence in the evolution of the Internet.

BTW, there's a nice site with a bunch of presentations on it:


about the background to, and the history of, the NSFNet, and also some of the
regionals. One of the sessions:


includes a presentation by Yakov giving the early history of BGP. (Maybe this
is the same thing as the YouTube thingy?)


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