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The periode 1989 - 1994:
Distributed Interactive Simulations

Early 1994, it was decided that the FEL would be the coordinator of the Distributed Interactive Simulation demonstrations during the ITEC-exhibition to be held in April of that year. Also, the technical support would be provided by the Laboratory. For the Equipment management and IT-services department (Apparatuur, IT-Voorzieningen en Instrumenten or AITV&I) this meant that all knowledge about networks and many dialects of Unix had to be provided. Because of uncertainties about required bandwidth and the required number of international connections, we decided to base our connectoivity on ISDN. Despite the first PTT-Telecom estimates, this was a larger technical problem than expected. PTT-Telecom had only a very limited experience with data connections. In the end, only the NLR took part in the demonstrations with a simulator in Amsterdam coupled via ISDN.

Based on these experiences, and later on also in various DIS-projects, AITV decided to buy ISDN-equipment and lease a set of ISDN-lines. This in order to have relative easy "high speed"-connectivity with different locations as DERA Chertsey, England and Orlando, USA (November 1994).

During the ITEC'1995 we used ISDN to connect with the DSInet at the US Army base in Ramstein, Germany. From that place on, we used DSInet to reach Orlando, Florida. Other connections were to DERA Farnborough (later QinetiQ), TTSL, NLR Amsterdam, TNO-TM and the RAI, Amsterdam (Networking Event).

The history continues...

This ends (at this moment) the history of computer developments at TNO-FEL and its predecessors "From Punch tape, Punch card to Virtual Network". The security issues around computer systems have become much more complex since our initial work end of the seventies. Parallel processing with the CYBER Peripheral Processors in 1975 evoluated to distributed applications spread across the globe and network-wide "computation". One observation is that the same complexity of timing-problems occur nowadays as well. Communication problems with 110 baud modems evoluated into hard lessons learned when trying to put ISDN- or ATM-equipment into operation in our networks.

Despite the enormous increased processing speed (Law of Moore) since this historic tale started, history repeats itself (at another level in a changed technological context). The forthcoming history will put forward many new challenges and will bring many new ICT-developments, also at TNO-FEL. In the future, others might extend this historic tale with the current developments.

Eric Luiijf
February 1998



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