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Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) technologies

Last Edit: 10/01/17

Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) technologies are a technology company which are primarily a contractor to the US military, and specifically, to the the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) technologies have played an important 'role' in the research and development of computer science in the second half of the twentieth century. A number of prominent computer scientists, and 'pioneers of the Internet' have worked for BBN, such as: Robert 'Bob' Kahn and JCR Licklider.

Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) technologies, as the name would suggest, were founded by three individuals:

  1. Richard Bolt
  2. Leo Beranek
  3. Robert Newman

Bolt and Beranek were professors at MIT when they founded BBN in 1948.

In relation to the Internet, perhaps the most notable contribution BBN made to the development of the Internet was their contribution to the implementation of ARPANET. ARPANET was a computer network, whose technical architecture would evolve to become the Internet. ARPANET was commissioned by ARPA in 1968; ARPA was the predecessor of DARPA. Bob Taylor and Lawrence Roberts, while working at ARPA, devised and implemented the 'grand plan' of ARPANET: the ARPA computer NETwork.

ARPANET required a technology that could transport data packets between it's nodes (locations). The procurement of this technology was initiated in the spring/summer months of 1968. Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) technologies won the contract to build this technology, and, in February 1969, met with the team of computer scientists (Stephen Crocker et al) who would create the protocols for ARPANET. The BBN employees at this meeting included Robert 'Bob' Kahn: Bob Kahn would later co-invent TCP/IP. In the summer of 1969 BBN completed it's contract with ARPA by delivering four Interface Message Processors; this technology would evolve into the present day 'router'.

BBN also created their own packet switching computer network in the 1970's: Telenet. Telenet was a publicly accessible network, whereas ARPANET was a computer network designed for educational and military use. BNN also created an ISP in the 1990's. However, in terms of it's impact in relation to the Internet, BBN is known primarily for it's contract to implement ARPANET.