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The route that the packet took would be unimportant. Basically, the packet would be tossed like a hot potato from node to node, until it ended up in the proper place.

If big pieces of the network had been blown away, that simply wouldn’t matter.

No matter how thoroughly a network was armored or protected, its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to bombs.

RAND mulled over this grim puzzle in deep military secrecy, and arrived at a daring solution.

In the first place, they would design a network with no central authority.

Its users scarcely noticed, for ARPANET’s functions not only continued but steadily improved.

The use of TCP/IP standards for computer networking is now global.

ARPANET’s users had warped the computer-sharing network into a dedicated, high-speed, federally subsidized electronic postal service.

The main traffic was not long-distance computing, but news and personal messages.

This was a very handy service, for computer time was precious in the early ‘70.

In 1971 there were fifteen nodes in ARPANET; by 1972, thirty-seven nodes. By the second year of operation, however, an odd fact became clear.

A mere twenty years had passed since the invention of the ARPANET, but few people remembered it now.

For it had become a happy victim of its own overwhelming success.

This excited and intrigued many, because it did sound like a theory for an indestructible network.

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