Stanford University Network

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The Stanford University network was one of the four original ARPANET nodes. The original node was managed by Stanford Research Institute. As the TCP/IP protocols evolved, a TCP/IP network was built on the main campus, which initially connected the Stanford University computer science department, medical center, and department of electrical engineering. This network was called the "Stanford University Network" or SUN. Today, the campus network is referred to as SUNet.

The original network was built using a DEC PDP 11/05. The routers were upgraded to a Stanford design using circuit boards used by the Stanford SUN 3M workstations. The CPU board was designed by Andy Bechtolsheim, a master's degree student at the time. It used a Motorola 68000 processor, included 256 Kb of ECC RAM and interfaced to other circuit boards using Multibus. The CPU board was matched with Ethernet boards made by 3Com, and Multibus serial boards in a Multibus enclosure. These routers were called "Blue Boxes" for the color of their case. The routers were built by a group of students, faculty and staff, including Len Bosack who was in charge of the computer science department's computers, and Sandy Lerner who was the Director of Computer Facilities for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. All told there were about two dozen Blue Boxes scattered across campus. This original router design was to become the initial Cisco Systems router.

The original software was NOS, Network Operating System, written by William Yeager, a staff research engineer at Stanford's medical school. It was adapted to run on the Motorola 68000 processor. Distinguishing features of NOS were that it was written in C and that it was multi-tasking capable; this allowed additional network interfaces and additional features to be easily added as new tasks. NOS was the basis of Cisco's IOS operating system. In 1987 Stanford licensed the router software and two computer boards to Cisco.

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