Did Cisco Systems invent the router first

Inventing the Internet

Early networks successfully connected computers. But different kinds of networks couldn’t link to each other. So, the next challenge was creating “networks of networks,” a process called internetworking.

France’s CYCLADES and Britain’s NPL network were experimenting with internetworking in the early 1970s. Xerox PARC began linking Ethernets with other networks. These influenced ARPA’s TCP/IP internetworking protocol development led by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.

In 1977 Cerf and Kahn successfully linked three networks in a dramatic round-the-world transmission from a cruising van. In 1983, the entire ARPANET adopted the TCP/IP protocol. The Internet was born.

Internetworking as a Business

Connecting networks to each other requires special-purpose computers called gateways or routers as intermediaries. Some of the first gateways were repurposed ARPANET Interface message Processors (IMPs) from BBN. By the late 1970s, BBN was selling these and other dedicated gateways around the world.

An aggressive Silicon Valley startup called Cisco emerged from the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence lab, however, and soon dominated the router business.

Because most Cisco routers came ready to run Internet protocols, they helped spread the Internet globally—sometimes even to organizations officially supporting competing standards.

Ginny Strazisar, BBN

Strazisar wrote the first internetworking router (then called “gateway”) software for the new TCP/IP protocols. BBN turned this headstart into a business selling routers.

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AGS router

This Cisco router was able to map one network protocol into another. The software was originally developed by Bill Yeager at Stanford, then licensed and enhanced by Cisco (from “San Francisco”) founders Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner.

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