A Technical History of National Physical Laboratories (NPL) Network
Architecture - A Design Timeline
- In the UK, the Ministry of Defense is created to spur productivity
and efficiency in industries in need of restructuring or modernization,
above all- computing
- Paul Baran of the Rand Corporation publishes the On Distributed Communications
series, introducing the system concept and requirements for his
distributed communication network- which includes the idea of
- November: Davies proposes the idea of a national message
switching network focusing on the other needs of real-time computing
- December: Davies writes Proposal for the Development
of a National Communciation Service for On-Line Data Processing.
The first paper to propose the network with technical detail.
- March: Davies presents his network ideas publicly for
the first time to an audience of people active in computing, telecommunications
and the military. Afterwards, a man from the British Ministry
of Defense, Arthur Llewellyn, reveals to Davies that packet switching
had already been invented in 1964 by Baran
- June: Davies presents his own network and packet switching
ideas in Proposal
for a Digital Communication Network. First time the word "packet"
was used in print.
- July: Memorandum written by Davies that proposed to build
a network on the NPL site. This is the starting point of the group.
- April: Scantlebury and Barlett writes A Protocol for
Use in the NPL Data Communications Network. First occurence
of the word protocol in print to be used in context of
- August: Davies, Barlett, Scantlebury and Wilkinson wrote
A Digital Communications Network for Computers Giving Rapid
Response which was the first public presentation of NPL's
- Autumn: The National Physical Laboratory begins to build
the modest packet-switched network called the Mark I, UK's
early experimental version of the ARPANET.
- August: Davies invited to present Communication Network
to Serve Rapid Response Computers at the IFIP Congress of
1968 in Edinburg.
Barlett presented Transmission Control in a Local Network.
This is the first time packet switching ideas were presented at
a major international conference.
- The Mark I first goes live.
:Donald Davies' team at NPL introduces
an upgraded version of the network called the Mark II
to official replace the Mark I
- The Mark II ends its term of service at NPL.