[TUHS] TUHS Digest, Vol 14, Issue 63

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Tue Jan 17 05:46:27 AEST 2017

    > From: Larry McVoy

    > It is pretty stunning that the company that had the largest network in
    > the world (the phone system of course) didn't get packet switching at
    > all.

Actually, it's quite logical - and in fact, the lack of 'getting it' about
packets follows directly from the former (their large existing circuit switch

This dates back to Baran (see his oral history:


pg. 19 and on), but it was still detectable almost two decades later.

For a variety of all-too-human reasons (of the flavour of 'we're the
networking experts, what do you know'; 'we know all about circuit networks,
this packet stuff is too different'; 'we don't want to obsolete our giant
investment', etc, etc), along with genuine concerns about some real issues of
packet switching (e.g. the congestion stuff, and how well the system handled
load and overload), packet switching just was a bridge too far from what they
already had.

Think IBM and timesharing versus batch and mainframe versus small computers.


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