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This paper introduces the wide range of technical, legal, and political issues associated with interconnection of packet-switched data communication networks. Motivations for interconnection are given, desired user services are described, and a range of technical choices for achieving interconnection are compared. Issues such as the level of interconnection, the role of gateways, naming and addressing, flow and congestion control, accounting and access control, and basic internet services are discussed in detail. The CCITT X.25/ X.75 packet-network interface recommendations are evoluated in terms of their applicability to network interconnection. Alternatives such as datagram operation and general host gateways are compared with the virtual circuit methods. Some Observations on the regulatory aspects of interconnection are offered and the paper concludes with a statement open research problems and some tentative conclusions.