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I. INTRODUCTION For the past two decades industry and government have experienced an increasing need to share software programs, transfer data, and exchange information among computers. As a result, computer-to-computer data com- munications networks and, therefore, communication formats and procedures, or protocols, have proliferated. The need to interconnect these networks is obvious, but the problems in establishing agreements among users on the protocols have heightened. The Department of Defense (DOD) has been conducting research and de- velopment on protocols and communication standards for more than fifteen years. In December 1978 the DOD promulgated versions of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) as standards within DOD. With the par- ticipation of major manufacturers and systems houses, the DOD has imp~e- mented successfully over twenty different applications of these standards in DOD operational data communications networks. The Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology (ICST) of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) is the government agency responsible for developing network protocols and interface standards to meet the needs of federal agencies. The Institute has been actively helping national and international voluntary standards organizations develop sets of protocol standards that can be incorporated into commercial products. Working with both industry and government agencies, the ICST has de- veloped protocol requirements based, in terms of functions and services, on the DOD's TOP. These requirements were submitted to the International Standards Organization (ISO) and resulted in the development of a trans- port protocol (TP-4) that has the announced support of twenty computer manufacturers. Although the ISO's TP-4 is based on the DOD's TOP, the two protocols are not compatible. Thus manufacturers who wish to serve DOD, while remaining able to capture a significant share of the worldwide market, have to field two product lines that are incompatible but perform the same function. The Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology would like to have a single set of protocol standards that serves both the DOD, other government agencies, and commercial vendors. It would be to the advantage of the DOD to use the same standards as the rest of the world. The dilemma, however, is understandable: The DOD

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has well satisfied its requirements by its own tried and proven protocols, the agency has invested heavily in systems operating successfully with TOP, and the Armed Forces is increasingly adopting the protocol. Thus, although DOD's policy is to use commercial standards whenever suitable, it is hesitant about converting to the ISO TP-4 protocols. In addition, the DOD is not certain whether the ISO TP-4 completely satisfies military requirements. In 1983 both DOD and the ICST agreed that an objective study of the situation was needed. Each requested assistance from the National Research Council. The National Research Council, through its Board on Telecommunications and Computer Applications (BOTCAP), appointed a special Committee on Computer-Computer Communication Protocols to study the issues and develop recommendations and guidelines for ways to resolve the differ- ences in a mutually beneficial manner. The six items composing the committee's scope of work are as follows: Review the technical aspects of the DOD transmission control and ICST transport protocols. Review the status of the implementation of these protocols. 5. 3. Review the industrial and government markets for these protocols. Analyze the technical and political implications of the DOD and ICST views on the protocols. Report on time and cost implications to the DOD, other federal entities, and manufacturers of the DOD and ICST positions. Recommend courses of action toward resolving the differences between the DOD and ICST on these protocol standards. The committee devoted considerable effort to reviewing the objectives and goals of the DOD and NBS that redate to data communications, the tech- nical aspects of the two protocols, the status of their implementation in operating networks, and the market conditions pertaining to their use. This process included hearing government and industry presentations and reviewing pertinent literature. The results of this part of the study are presented in Sections Il through VIT. Concurrent with this research and analysis, the committee developed ten possible options that offered plausible resolutions of the problem. These ranged from maintaining the status quo to an immediate switchover from one protocol to the other. From these ten initial options three were determined to hold the greatest potential for resolving the probe em. Section VIl] describes the three options, Section OX provides a cost comparison, and Section X provides an overall evaluation of the three options. Section XT presents the committee's basic and detailed recom- mendations for how best the DOD might approach the differences between its protocol and the ISO protocol. - 2