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A HISTORY OF COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS: 1968 -1988

AN OVERVIEW

Between 1968-1988, the burgeoning needs of first the Department of Defense and then of large corporations to interconnect their computers and peripherals drove the history of Computer Communications. In 1968, the needs were simply how to interconnect essentially computer terminals to computers over the telephone network, especially the public switched network controlled by the regulated monopoly, AT&T. That need, when exasperated by having to have unique terminals for every manufacturers’ computers, compelled a government agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), to explore building a network interconnecting diverse computers. These initial dynamics, the resistance of AT&T to change and the incentive to innovate a solution to the constraints of both the telephone network and the proprietary nature of manufacturers’ terminal-to-computer connections, led to the a series of innovations cumulatively known as packet switching. Packet switching proved inexhaustible to meeting the evolving needs of interconnecting computers.

While the most immediate needs and constraints driving the nature of computer communications were those of computers and telecommunications (or communications), these dynamics were played out in a veritable “soup” of other conditions and actions. Some of these external factors will be briefly discussed in the historical reconstruction.

"Overview" information to help understand this history

Summaries

Summarized within the book "Entrepreneural Capitalism and the Emergence of Computer Communications: 1968 -1988" you will find information and analysis about:

  • Relevant driving forces and market events,
  • Changes in related market sectors, technology and product development.

 Read these sections to find out more:

The Remarkable Growth in the Use of Computers 1.3
Euphoric Markets and Venture Capital 1967-1968 1.7
Entrepreneurism Flourishes1968-1972 3.1
The Economic Roller Coaster 1969-1975 3.2
Minicomputers, Distributed Data Processing and Microprocessors 5.1
Modems, Multiplexers and Networks 1976-1978 5.9 
The Return of Venture Capital 7.10
Ethernet Chips, Boundless Hope and Market Confusion 8.34
The Office of the Future, the PBX to CBX and AT&T 8.6
The IBM PC and IBM’s Token Ring LAN 1981-1982 8.7
Alex Brown & Sons Conference: March 1983 10.1
The Revolution of Digital Transmission 11.1
Market Analysis: Samples of Expert’s Opinions 1984-1987 11.18
Computer Communications Consolidation and Growth 12.xx
The Growth of Computer Networking 12.xx