Internet Activities Board
RFC 1120

Document Type RFC - Informational (September 1989; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1160
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                            V. Cerf
Request for Comments:  1120                                          NRI
                                                          September 1989

                     The Internet Activities Board

Status of this Memo

   This RFC provides a history and description of the Internet
   Activities Board (IAB) and its subsidiary organizations.  This memo
   is for informational use and does not constitute a standard.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1. Introduction

   In 1968, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
   initiated an effort to develop a technology which is now known as
   packet switching.  This technology had its roots in message switching
   methods, but was strongly influenced by the development of low-cost
   minicomputers and digital telecommunications techniques during the
   mid-1960's [BARAN 64, ROBERTS 70, HEART 70, ROBERTS 78].  A very
   useful survey of this technology can be found in [IEEE 78].

   During the early 1970's, DARPA initiated a number of programs to
   explore the use of packet switching methods in alternative media
   including mobile radio, satellite and cable [IEEE 78, IEEE 87].
   Concurrently, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) began an
   exploration of packet switching on coaxial cable which ultimately led
   to the development of Ethernet local area networks [METCALFE 76].

   The successful implementation of packet radio and packet satellite
   technology raised the question of interconnecting ARPANET with other
   types of packet nets.  A possible solution to this problem was
   proposed by Cerf and Kahn [CERF 74] in the form of an internetwork
   protocol and a set of gateways to connect the different networks.
   This solution was further developed as part of a research program in
   internetting sponsored by DARPA and resulted in a collection of
   computer communications protocols based on the original Transmission
   Control Protocol (TCP) and its lower level counterpart, Internet
   Protocol (IP).  Together, these protocols, along with many others
   developed during the course of the research, are referred to as the
   TCP/IP Protocol Suite [LEINER 85, POSTEL 85, CERF 82, CLARK 86, RFC

   In the early stages of the Internet research program, only a few
   researchers worked to develop and test versions of the internet
   protocols.  Over time, the size of this activity increased until, in

Cerf                                                            [Page 1]
RFC 1120                        The IAB                   September 1989

   1979, it was necessary to form an informal committee to guide the
   technical evolution of the protocol suite.  This group was called the
   Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) and was established by
   Dr. Vinton Cerf who was then the DARPA program manager for the
   effort.  Dr. David C. Clark of the Lab for Computer Science at
   Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named the chairman of this

   In January, 1983, the Defense Communications Agency, then responsible
   for the operation of the ARPANET, declared the TCP/IP protocol suite
   to be standard for the ARPANET and all systems on the network
   converted from the earlier Network Control Program (NCP) to TCP/IP.
   Late that year, the ICCB was reorganized by Dr. Barry Leiner, Cerf's
   successor at DARPA, around a series of task forces considering
   different technical aspects of internetting.  The re-organized group
   was named the Internet Activities Board.

   As the Internet expanded, it drew support from U.S. Government
   organizations including DARPA, the National Science Foundation (NSF),
   the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space
   Administration (NASA).  Key managers in these organizations,
   responsible for computer networking research and development, formed
   an informal Federal Research Internet Coordinating Committee (FRICC)
   to coordinate U.S. Government support for and development and use of
   the Internet system.  The FRICC sponsors most of the U.S. research on
   internetting, including support for the Internet Activities Board and
   its subsidiary organizations.

   At the international level, a Coordinating Committee for
   Intercontinental Research Networks (CCIRN) has been formed which
   includes the U.S.  FRICC and its counterparts in North America and
   Europe.  The CCIRN provides a forum for cooperative planning among
   the principal North American and European research networking bodies.

2. Internet Activities Board

   The Internet Activities Board (IAB) is the coordinating committee for
   Internet design, engineering and management.  The Internet is a
   collection of over a thousand packet switched networks located
   principally in the U.S., but also includes systems in many other
   parts of the world, all interlinked and operating using the protocols
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