In our June 2000 issue we wrote: “Two protocols used in the Internet are so important that they deserve special attention: the Internet Protocol (IP) from which this journal takes its name, and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). IP is fundamental to Internet addressing and routing, while TCP provides a reliable transport service that is used by most Internet applications, including interactive Telnet, file transfer, electronic mail, and Web page access via HTTP. Because of the critical importance of TCP to the operation of the Internet, it has received much attention in the research community over the years. As a result, numerous improvements to implementations of TCP have been developed and deployed.” We return to TCP in this issue with a look at its performance at gigabit speeds. Geoff Huston describes numerous research proposals related to TCP and discusses lessons learned by operators and researchers involved with this protocol.
My first encounter with the Internet (then called the ARPANET) took place in 1976 when I visited the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (NDRE) at Kjeller, about 20 kilometers from Oslo, Norway. At NDRE, one of the researchers, named Pål, showed me a teletype terminal that was connected through the ARPANET to a host computer at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. After a few minutes, the teletype started printing messages from someone called “Geoff” on the other end of the line. Pål typed back, passing on questions from myself about the weather in California and so on. I later learned that the host computer was a PDP-10 model KA10 running the TENEX operating system. TENEX could “link” two terminals together so that anything typed on one terminal would appear on the other, and conversely. This primitive “chat” system is the forerunner of today’s Instant Messaging (IM) environment. David Strom gives an overview of the current state of IM solutions in our second article.
The article “Working with IP Addresses” in our last issue sparked several comments, some of which are included in our Letters to the Editor section. A few readers also noticed some errors in the article, so we have included the corrections in this issue. We very much appreciate your feedback. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
—Ole J. Jacobsen, Editor and Publisher