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The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was a key system in the early history of the Internet. It demonstrated the efficacy of packet switching, in which data flowing across a network is broken into pieces called packets that can then be transmitted along multiple routes and reassembled at the destination. It also provided a test bed for the development of the Internet. This entry describes ARPANET’s origins and history from the 1960s until it was decommissioned in 1990.

The Time Was Ripe for Packet Switching in the 1960s

While J. C. R. Licklider was the first director of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) from 1962 to ...

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