Perspective on the ARPANET reference model
RFC 871

Document Type RFC - Unknown (September 1982; No errata)
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     < INC-PROJECT, MAP-PERSPECTIVE.NLS.14, >, 12-Aug-83 11:34 AMW


     RFC 871                                            September 1982




                              M.A. PADLIPSKY
                           THE MITRE CORPORATION
                          Bedford, Massachusetts




          The paper, by one of its developers, describes the
     conceptual framework in which the ARPANET intercomputer
     networking protocol suite, including the DoD standard
     Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP),
     were designed.  It also compares and contrasts several aspects of
     the ARPANET Reference Model (ARM) with the more widely publicized
     International Standards Organization's Reference Model for Open
     System Interconnection (ISORM).



                              M. A. Padlipsky


          Despite the fact that "the ARPANET" stands as the
     proof-of-concept of intercomputer networking and, as discussed in
     more detail below, introduced such fundamental notions as
     Layering and Virtualizing to the literature, the wide
     availability of material which appeals to the International
     Standards Organization's Reference Model for Open System
     Interconnection (ISORM) has prompted many new- comers to the
     field to overlook the fact that, even though it was largely
     tacit, the designers of the ARPANET protocol suite have had a
     reference model of their own all the long.  That is, since well
     before ISO even took an interest in "networking", workers in the
     ARPA-sponsored research community have been going about their
     business of doing research and development in intercomputer
     networking with a particular frame of reference in mind.  They
     have, unfortunately, either been so busy with their work or were
     perhaps somehow unsuited temperamentally to do learned papers on
     abstract topics when there are interesting things to be said on
     specific topics, that it is only in very recent times that there
     has been much awareness in the research community of the impact
     of the ISORM on the lay mind.  When the author is asked to review
     solemn memoranda comparing such things as the ARPANET treatment
     of "internetting" with that of CCITT employing the ISORM "as the
     frame of reference," however, the time has clearly come to
     attempt to enunciate the ARPANET Reference Model (ARM)
     publicly--for such comparisons are painfully close to comparing
     an orange with an apple using redness and smoothness as the
     dominant criteria, given the philosophical closeness of the CCITT
     and ISO models and their mutual disparities from the ARPANET

          This paper, then, is primarily intended as a perspective on
     the ARM.  (Secondarily, it is intended to point out some of the
     differences between the ARM and the ISORM. For a perspective on
     this subtheme, please see Note [1])  It can't be "the official"
     version because the ARPANET Network Working Group (NWG), which
     was the collective source of the ARM, hasn't had an official
     general meeting since October, 1971, and can scarcely be
     resurrected to haggle over it.  It does, at least, represent with
     some degree of fidelity the views of a number of NWG members as
     those views were expressed in NWG general meetings, NWG protocol
     design committee meetings, and private conversations over the
     intervening years. (Members of the current ARPA Internet Working
     Group, which applied


     RFC 871                                            September 1982

     and adapted the original model to a broader arena than had
     initially been contemplated, were also consulted.)  That might
     not sound so impressive as a pronunciamento from an international
     standards organization, but the reader should be somewhat
     consoled by the consideration that not only are the views
     expressed here purported to be those of the primary workers in
     the field, but also at least one Englishman helped out in the
     review process.

                     Historical/Philosophical Context

          Although rigorous historians of science might quibble as to
     whether they were "invented" by a particular group, it is  an
     historical fact that many now widely-accepted, fundamental
     concepts of intercomputer networking were original to the ARPANET
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