NSFNET: 1985 – 1994: Taming Tigers: Finding Routers for NSFNET | May 23 | 1 p.m. EDT

Internet Reunion Club

Thank you for joining us on May 23 for NSFNET: 1985 – 1994: Taming Tigers: Finding Routers for NSFNET. This Internet2-supported event included discussions of early routers, the development of IP routing software, and the early challenges of router performance.

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Speakers Sessions
Scott BradnerThe Early Routers and Interoperability
The concept of deploying small special-purpose computers (i.e. “routers”) to manage traffic in data networks had been around for decades, yet when it came time for the NSFNET interim backbone to be deployed in the mid-1980s commercially available devices were few. And, there were not many options when the NSFNET speed was to be increased to T3 (45Mbps) in the early 1990s.

This talk will explore the development of routers from the early 1960s to the devices used in the T3 NSFNET.
Susan HaresRouting Software
The explosive growth in the number of NSFNET networks, and the complexity of the interconnections between them and to other national and international IP networks, challenged the internet community to develop appropriate routing algorithms and standards.

This talk will chart the development of IP routing software over that tumultuous decade from 1985 to 1994 – covering NSFNET routing (Gated on IBM), open-source routing (Gated from Cornell), OSI routers, and commercial router protocols.
Craig PartridgeGigabit Routers
As the growth of the NSFNET / Internet exploded at the end of the 1980s, the Internet community realized that one of its many immediate challenges was router performance. At the time, routers were designed around a single processor and a single high-speed bus. The community realized this architecture would fail at data rates much over 2 Gbps, far below anticipated backbone router data rates in the near future.

It was clear to almost everyone that future routers had to be built around a switched backplane, but it was unclear how to adapt IP routers to work on switched backplanes. Craig will talk about the router industry’s attempts to solve this problem and, after several missteps, the creation of the modern backbone router architecture.

Speaker Biographies

Scott Bradner:

Scott Bradner retired in 2016 after working for 50 years at Harvard University IT. He also was involved with the IETF for more than 25 years and spent nearly that amount of time with the Internet Society. He created and ran the Harvard Network Device Test Lab which performed performance tests on hundreds of routers and switches.

Susan Hares:

Susan Hares has designed and deployed routing protocols and architectures for over 30 years and is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts in routing technology (L2, L3, SDN, NFV, Intent Networking) and on software-based virtualization of network technology. She is co-chair of the IETF’s Inter-Domain Routing (IDR) WG and a co-author of the BGP specification.

In 2015, Ms. Hares began consulting, writing books, and teaching. Currently, she is consulting with Huawei on new technologies for the internet and is working on a series of books on consensus decision-making in volunteer organizations (e.g. IETF). Susan is an adjunct professor at Regent University, Virginia, teaching biblical Greek, moral integrity, and spiritual formation.

Craig Partridge:

Dr. Craig Partridge is chair of the Department of Computer Science at Colorado State University. Prior to moving to CSU, Craig was chief scientist at BBN Technologies, where he worked for 35 years. Craig is an IEEE and ACM Fellow and is a member of the Internet Hall of Fame.