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On Distributed Communications Networks

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1 Author(s)
Baran, P. ; The RAND Corp., Santa Monica, CA, USA

This paper briefly reviews the distributed communication network concept in which each station is connected to all adjacent stations rather than to a few switching points, as in a centralized system. The payoff for a distributed configuration in terms of survivability in the cases of enemy attack directed against nodes, links or combinations of nodes and links is demonstrated. A comparison is made between diversity of assignment and perfect switching in distributed networks, and the feasibility of using low-cost unreliable communication links, even links so unreliable as to be unusable in present type networks, to form highly reliable networks is discussed. The requirements for a future all-digital data distributed network which provides common user service for a wide range of users having different requirements is considered. The use of a standard format message block permits building relatively simple switching mechanisms using an adaptive store-and-forward routing policy to handle all forms of digital data including digital voice. This network rapidly responds to changes in the network status. Recent history of measured network traffic is used to modify path selection. Simulation results are shown to indicate that highly efficient routing can be performed by local control without the necessity for any central, and therefore vulnerable, control point.

Published in:

Communications Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

March 1964

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