On Distributed Communications Series

XI. Summary Overview

On Distributed Communications: List of Publications in the Series

I. Introduction to Distributed Communications Networks, Paul Baran, RM-3420-PR.

Introduces the system concept and outlines the requirements for and design considerations of the distributed digital data communications net-work. Considers especially the use of redundancy as a means of withstanding heavy enemy attacks. A general understanding of the proposal may be obtained by reading this volume and Vol. XI.

II. Digital Simulation of Hot-Potato Routing in a Broadband Distributed Communications Network, Sharla P. Boehm and Paul Baran', RM-3103-PR.

Describes a computer simulation of the message routing scheme proposed. The basic routing doctrine permitted a network to suffer a large number of breaks, then reconstitute itself by rapidly relearning to make best use of the surviving links.

III. Determination of Path-Lengths in a Distributed Network, J. W. Smith, RM-3578-PR.

Continues model simulation reported in Vol. II. The program was rewritten in a more powerful computer language allowing examination of larger networks. Modification of the routing doctrine by intermittently reducing the input data rate of local traffic reduced to a low level the number of message blocks taking excessively long paths. The level was so low that a deterministic equation was required in lieu of Monte Carlo to examine the now rare event of a long message block path. The results of both the simulation and the equation agreed in the area of overlapping validity.

IV. Priority, Precedence, and Overload, Paul Baran, RM-3638-PR.

The creation of dynamic or flexible priority and precedence structures within a communication system handling a mixture of traffic with different data rate, urgency, and importance levels is discussed. The goal chosen is optimum utilization of the communications resource within a seriously degraded and overloaded network.

V. History, Alternative Approaches, and Comparisons, Paul Baran, RM-3097-PR.

A background paper acknowledging the efforts of people in many fields working toward the development of large communications systems where system reliability and survivability are mandatory. A consideration of terminology is designed to acquaint the reader with the diverse, sometimes conflicting, definitions used. The evolution of the distributed network is traced, and a number of earlier hardware proposals are outlined.

VI. Mini-Cost Microwave, Paul Baran, RM-3762-PR.

The technical feasibility of constructing an extremely low-cost, all-digital, X- or Ku -band microwave relay system, operating at a multi-megabit per second data rate, is examined. The use of newly developed varactor multipliers permits the design of a miniature, all-solid-state microwave repeater powered by a thermoelectric converter burning L-P fuel.

VII. Tentative Engineering Specifications and Preliminary Design for a High-Data-Rate Distributed Network Switching Node, Paul Baran, RM-3763-PR.

High-speed, or "hot-potato," store-and-forward message block relaying forms the heart of the proposed information transmission system. The Switching Nodes are the units in which the complex processing takes place. The node is described in sufficient engineering detail to estimate the components required. Timing calculations, together with a projected implementation scheme, provide a strong foundation for the belief that the construction and use of the node is practical.

VIII. The Multiplexing Station, Paul Baran, RM-3764-PR.

A description of the Multiplexing Stations which connect subscribers to the Switching Nodes. The presentation is in engineering detail, demonstrating how the network will simultaneously process traffic from up to 1024 separate users sending a mixture of start-stop teletypewriter, digital voice, and other synchronous signals at various rates.

IX. Security, Secrecy, and Tamper-Free Considerations, Paul Baran, RM-3765-PR.

Considers the security aspects of a system of the type proposed, in which secrecy is of paramount importance. Describes the safeguards to be built into the network, and evaluates the premise that the existence of "spies" within the supposedly secure system must be anticipated. Security provisions are based on the belief that protection is best obtained by raising the "price" of espied information to a level which becomes excessive. The treatment of the subject is itself unclassified.

X. Cost Estimate, Paul Baran, RM-3766-PR.

A detailed cost estimate for the entire proposed system, based on an arbitrary network configuration of 400 Switching Nodes, servicing l0~,000 simultaneous users via 200 Multiplexing Stations. Assuming a usable life of ten years, all costs, including operating costs, are estimated at about $60,000,000 per year.

XI. Summary Overview, Paul Baran, RM-3767-PR.

Summarizes the system proposal, highlighting the more important features. Considers the particular advantages of the distributed network, and comments on disadvantages. An outline is given of the manner in which future research aimed at an actual implementation of the network might be conducted. Together with the introductory volume, it provides a general description of the entire system concept.