ARPANET Protocol Handbook


The ARPANET, the world's first packet-based wide-area network, and the direct ancestor of today's Internet, used a protocol family with significant structural differences to the TCP/IP family now used.

In the ARPANET, the protocol ensemble below the application layer(s) is called the Network Control Program. The lowest layer of that is the network layer (the Host-to-IMP Protocol). (Note that unlike almost all networks after the ARPANET, including the current Internet, the ARPANET's lowest layer, the Host-to-IMP Protocol, provides reliable data carriage and congestion control; unlike in the TCP/IP family, the host has nothing to do with those functions.)

The entire group is described/specified in a volume entitled the 'ARPANET Protocol Handbook'; it contains reprints of a number of documents, which together fully give the protocols of the ARPANET. A scan of the ARPANET Protocol Handbook is available online via the NTRL (enter the title there, and two versions show up; from 1976 and 1978). A machine-readable copy of the Table of Contents is made available here to give people some idea of what the pieces are; individual iems are hyper-linked if they are available onelie.

Table of Contents

Section 1 - Introduction

Section 2 - IMP-Host Protocol

Section 3 - Network Control Protocols

Section 4 - Initial Connection Protocols

Section 5 - TELNET Protocols

Section 6 - File Transfer Protocol and Standards

Section 7 - Mail Protocol and Standards

Section 8 - Remote Job Entry Protocols

Section 9 - Network Graphics Protocols

Section 10 - Miscellaneous Protocols

Section 11 - Number Assignments

Section 12 - Bibliography

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Last updated: 4/July/2020