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The answer to this depends upon how you define "computer network". If you are referring to the internet, you can see the history at:

http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net-history.shtml

If you are referring to local area networks (LANs), I'd like to make a case for ARCnet, which was introduced commercially by Datapoint in 1977, though we used it internally before that. ARCnet used a token-ring architecture, supported data rates of 2.5 Mbps in its initial form, and connected up to 255 computers. One advantage of ARCnet was that it permitted various types of transmission media -- twisted-pair wire, coaxial cable, and fiber optic cable -- to be mixed on the same network. If I recall correctly, we had something like 6,000 ARC networks installed in customer sites when the first Ethernet was sold to a customer. ARC, by the way, stands for "Attached Resource Computer".

You can read more about ARCnet at:

http://www.old-computers.com/history/detail.asp?n=23&t=3

but the diagram is wrong. It shows computers connecting directly to other computers, rather than all of them being connected to hubs as ARC requires.

ARCnet is still alive, though no longer used in its original capacity as a data processing and office automation tool. See:

http://www.arcnet.com/abtarc.htm

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โˆ™ 2011-10-18 21:07:30
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