Internetworking and Layered Models

The Internet today is a widespread information infrastructure, but it is inherently an insecure channel for sending messages. When a message (or packet) is sent from one Website to another, the data contained in the message are routed through a number of intermediate sites before reaching its destination.

The Internet was designed to accommodate heterogeneous platforms so that people who are using different computers and operating systems can communicate. The history of the Internet is complex and involves many aspects – technological, organisational and community.

The Internet concept has been a big step along the path towards electronic commerce, information acquisition and community operations. Early ARPANET researchers accomplished the initial demonstrations of packetswitching technology.

In the late 1970s, the growth of the Internet was recognised and subsequently a growth in the size of the interested research community was accompanied by an increased need for a coordination mechanism.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) then formed an International Cooperation Board (ICB) to coordinate activities with some European countries centered on packet satellite research, while the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) assisted DARPA in managing Internet activity.

In 1983, DARPA recognised that the continuing growth of the Internet community demanded a restructuring of coordination mechanisms. The ICCB was disbanded and in its place the Internet Activities Board (IAB) was formed from the chairs of the Task Forces.

The IAB revitalised the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as a member of the IAB. By 1985, there was a tremendous growth in the more practical engineering side of the Internet. This growth resulted in the creation of a substructure to the IETF in the form of working groups.

DARPA was no longer the major player in the funding of the Internet. Since then, there has been a significant decrease in Internet activity at DARPA. The IAB recognised the increasing importance of IETF, and restructured to recognise the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) as the major standards review body.

The IAB also restructured to create the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) along with the IETF. Since the early 1980s, the Internet has grown beyond its primarily research roots, to include both a broad user community and increased commercial activity.

This growth in the commercial sector brought increasing concern regarding the standards process. Increased attention was paid to making progress, eventually leading to the formation of the Internet Society in 1991.

In 1992, the Internet Activities Board was reorganised and renamed the Internet Architecture board (IAB) operating under the auspices of the Internet Society. The mutually supportive relationship between the new IAB, IESG and IETF led to them taking more responsibility for the approval of standards, along with the provision of services and other measures which would facilitate the work of the IETF.