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Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi by Ben Everard, Tim Mamtora, Ralph Roberts, Jeffrey Duntemann, Eben Upton

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Chapter 7

Wired and Wireless Ethernet

FOR A LONG time, there were so few computers in the world that the benefits of connecting them to one another simply didn’t occur to anyone. In the mainframe era, “data sharing” consisted of printing out reports on huge piles of paper and sending them to whoever needed the data. Early use of data communications was not for networking but for remote access to user timesharing terminals, card/tape readers and printers. (For more on this, see Chapter 6.) It wasn’t about connecting computers to computers but rather about connecting computers to their peripherals. As currently understood, networking is the practice of transferring data files and commands between otherwise independent computers.

Only after the cost of computers came down due to the introduction of minicomputers did universities and research organisations have a critical mass of “in-house” computers to interconnect, circa 1965. After that, networking technology advanced quickly. The initial focus was on connecting computers at a distance, in separate buildings or even separate research campuses, in what came to be called a wide-area network (WAN). Lawrence Roberts and Thomas Marill did the experimental work on wide-area network hardware at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Labs that led directly to the seminal research network Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) by 1969. Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf created TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet ...

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