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How TCP/IP Became The Protocol Of The Internet

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How TCP/IP Became The Protocol Of The Internet: Commercialization of the Internet involved not only the development of competitive, private network services, but also the development of commercial products implementing the Internet technology.

In the early 1980s, dozens of vendors were incorporating TCP/IP into their products because they saw buyers for that approach to networking.

Unfortunately, they lacked both real information about how the technology was supposed to work and how the customers planned on using this approach to networking.

Many saw it as a nuisance add-on that had to be glued on to their own proprietary networking solutions, SNA, DECNet, Netware, NetBios.

The DoD had mandated the use of TCP/IP in many of its purchases but gave little help to the vendors regarding how to build useful TCP/IP products.

In 1985, recognizing this lack of information availability and appropriate training, Dan Lynch in cooperation with the IAB arranged to hold a three day workshop for ALL vendors to come learn about how TCP/IP worked and what it still could not do well.

The speakers came mostly from the DARPA research community who had both developed these protocols and used them in day-to-day work.

About 250 vendor personnel came to listen to 50 inventors and experimenters.

The results were surprises on both sides, the vendors were amazed to find that the inventors were so open about the way things worked (and what still did not work) and the inventors were pleased to listen to new problems they had not considered, but were being discovered by the vendors in the field.

Thus a two-way discussion was formed that has lasted for over a decade.

After two years of conferences, tutorials, design meetings and workshops, a special event was organized that invited those vendors whose products ran TCP/IP well enough to come together in one room for three days to show off how well they all worked together and also ran over the Internet.

In September of 1988 the first Interop trade show was born. 50 companies made the cut. 5,000 engineers from potential customer organizations came to see if it all did work as was promised.

It did. Why? Because the vendors worked extremely hard to ensure that everyone’s products interoperated with all of the other products – even with those of their competitors.

The Interop trade show has grown immensely since then and today it is held in 7 locations around the world each year to an audience of over 250,000 people who come to learn which products work with each other in a seamless manner, learn about the latest products, and discuss the latest technology.

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