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NCP -- Network Control Program

With the pressure to get something working and the general confusion as to how to achieve the high generality we all aspired to, we punted and defined the first set of protocols to include only Telnet and FTP functions.

In
December 1969, we met with Larry Roberts in Utah, and suffered our first direct
experience with ‘redirection’. Larry made it abundantly clear that our first step
was not big enough, and we went back to the drawing board. Over the next few months
we designed a symmetric host-host protocol, and we defined an abstract implementation
of the protocol known as the Network Control Program.

Along
with the basic host-host protocol, we also envisioned a hierarchy of protocols,
with Telnet, FTP and some splinter protocols as the first examples. If we had
only consulted the ancient mystics, we would have seen immediately that seven
layers were required.


Stephen D. Crocker, RFC 1000,
The Request For Comments Reference Guide.

The
Network Control Protocol (NCP) was the first standard networking protocol on the ARPANET. NCP was finalized and deployed in December 1970 by the Network Working Group (NWG), led by Steve Crocker, also the inventor of the Request For Comments.

NCP
standardized the ARPANET network interface, making it easier to establish, and
enabling more and more DARPA sites to join the network. In
October 1971, every site on the ARPANET logged into every other site (with one
exception) over NCP at a meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

By
the end of 1971 there were fifteen sites using NCP on the young Internet:

  • Bolt Baranek and Newman
  • Carnegie
    Mellon University
  • Case
    Western Reserve University
  • Harvard
    University
  • Lincoln
    Laboratories
  • Massachusetts
    Institute of Technology
  • NASA
    at AMES
  • RAND
    Corporation
  • Stanford
    Research Institute
  • Stanford
    University
  • System
    Development Corporation
  • University
    of California at Los Angeles
  • University
    of California of Santa Barbara
  • University
    of Illinois at Urbana
  • University
    of UTAH

Robert Kahn and Vinton
Cerf
later built on NCP to develop the standard TCP/IP
networking protocol still used on the Internet today.

RFC’s. Requests For Comments describing NCP are listed below:

  • RFC 33; Crocker, S.; Carr, S.; Cerf, V.; New HOST-HOST Protocol; 12 Feb 1973.
  • RFC 36; Crocker, S.; Protocol Notes; 16 Mar 1970
    .
  • RFC
    78
    ; Harslem, E.; Heafner, J.;
    White, J.; NCP Status Report: UCSB/RAND;
    Nov 1970.