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This paper has attempted to introduce some of the factors that influence the design, implementation, and management of an international network that encompasses several time zones. The technical problems of transporting bit streams between points are generally soluble. Practical experience has resulted in a management concept that separates, as far as possible, the management of individual host systems from management of the telecommunications network. This concept makes it possible to treat the network as an independent subsystem with well defined parameters which can be tracked and controlled in terms of cost and performance. Technical problems are easy to overcome when compared with issues of user education and operationaliaison. Operational experience with the SCD network has begun to have significant influence on its future. The role of the network as a provider of remote computing facilities is entering a consolidation phase. The future is in the expansion of its role as a powerful communications facility and its role as a vehicle for balancing resources across time zones.
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