Dennis Jennings and the History of NSFNET

The NSFNET followed the CSNET, connecting the campuses of several colleges and supercomputing systems with a 56K core in 1986. The NSFNET was the first large-scale implementation of Internet technologies in a complex environment of many independently operated networks, and forced the Internet community to iron out technical issues arising from the rapidly increasing number of computers and address many practical details of operations, management and conformance. The NSF eventually became the “seed” of the commercialized core of the Internet, playing an outsized role in the current design of routing, transport, and other Internet technologies.

In this episode of the History of Networking, Dennis Jennings joins Donald Sharp and Russ White to discuss the origins and operation of the NSFNET.

You can find out more about Dennis and the NSFNET in the following links.


History of Internet 2: Dale Finkelson

The Internet was originally designed as a research network, but eventually morphed into a primarily commercial system. While “Internet 2” sounds like it might be a replacement for the Internet, it was really started as a way to interconnect high speed computing systems for researchers—a goal the Internet doesn’t really provide any longer. Dale Finkelson joins Donald Sharp and Russ White for this episode of the History of Networking to discuss the origins of Internet 2.


History of FARNT with Laura Breeden

FARNT was a regional consortium of smaller network operators that eventually helped drive the adoption of TCP/IP and the global Internet, as well as helping efforts to commercialize Internet access. Join Donald Sharp and Russ White as Laura Breeden discusses the origins of FARNT, it’s importance in the adoption of early Internet technologies, and the many hurdles regional network operators had to overcome.

Laura is now the Board Chair at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.


The History of the Cisco TAC

The Cisco Technical Assistance Center, or TAC, was as responsible for the growth of computer networking as any technology or other organization. TAC trained the first generation of network engineers, both inside Cisco and out, creating a critical mass of talent that spread out into the networking world, created a new concept of certifications, and set a standard that every other technical support organization has sought to live up to since. Join Joe Pinto, Phil Remaker, Alistair Woodman, Donald Sharp, and Russ White as we dive into the origins of TAC.


George Sadowsky on the History of Networking

George Sadowsky was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of networking technology for economic development, particularly in developing economies. He has worked in over 50 countries to bring training and networking infrastructure to the local population. In this episode of the History of Networking, George recounts some of the early, pre-Internet, work in computer networking, and the development of many of the organizations that make the Internet work today. His web site can be found here.


The History of EARN, RARE, and European Networks (part 2)

European networks from the mid-1980’s to the late 2000’s underwent a lot of change, bolstered by the rise and fall of America Online, the laying of a lot of subsea cables, and the creation of several organizations, including EARN and RARE, to bolster the spread and use of the Internet. Daniele Bovio joins Donald Sharp and Russ White on this episode of the History of Networking to give us a good overall perspective of this history.

You can find more information about the history of EARN at