Communication Servers designed to support hundreds or thousands of users reached their peak capabilities just as dial-up service access began to recede in importance. In fact, many network engineers today have probably never managed a dial-up communications server, which were once used to connect everything from individual users to services like AOL and remote workers to entire sites (hence OSPF’s demand circuit capability). Kevin Herbert joins us to discuss the early work on communication servers, including some of the challenges of working with early networking hardware.

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Google fascinates network engineers because of the sheer scale of their operations, and their obvious influence over the way networks are built and operated. In this episode of the History of Networking, Richard Hay joins Donald Sharp and Russ White to talk about some past designs and stories of failure and success in one of the world’s largest operating networks.

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Dawit Bekele began his journey with the Internet while at college—but on returning to Africa, he discovered there was very little connectivity. While he was not involved in the initial stages of engineering the Internet in Africa, he began as an early user and proponent of connecting his home continent, and is now part of the Internet Society, helping to grow connectivity.

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GRE was the first tunneling protocol ever designed and deployed—and although it largely been overtaken by VXLAN and other tunnel protocols, it is still in widespread use today. For this episode of the History of Networking, Stan Hanks, the inventor of GRE—and hence the inventor of the concept of tunneling in packet switched networks—joins us to describe how and why GRE tunneling was invented.

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Started as a consulting company, SUSE was one of the first organizations to begin working in the development and commercialization of LINUX. Through the years, LINUX has become the base for much of the IT world, including many of the open source network operating systems. Dirk Hohndel joins the History of Networking to discuss the origins of SUSE LINUX.

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Ivan Pepelnjak was a founding member of the first IX in Slovenia twenty-five years ago. He joins us to describe the origins of the Internet, from the first dial-up circuits to the founding of the first IX and local DNS services here on the History of Networking. Ivan is an independent consultant and trainer; his work can be found at https://ipspace.net.

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