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CERN Networking Group

Last Edit: 10/01/17

The CERN Networking Group was created in 1983, and the aim of the group was to build an internal and external network infrastucture for CERN. CERN is a European scientific research organisation, and it's official title is: The European Organization for Nuclear Research. CERN was founded on the 29th of September, 1954. CERN's head quarters are located at: Meyrin, Canton de Genève, Switzerland. The CERN Networking Group was a relatively small group and was comprised of the following members - organised into an internal and external group:

  1. Ben Segal
  2. Brian Carpenter
  3. François Flückiger
  4. Giorgio Heiman
  5. Jean-Michel Jouanigot
  6. Les Robertson
  7. Olivier Martin.

It was decided by the external network group - headed by François Flückiger - that they should implement the IP networking model for their external network; instead of the ISO networking model. Most European governments supported the ISO networking standard, and therefore, there was a certain amount of resistance to CERN implementing TCP/IP; TCP/IP's development was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. François Flückiger has stated there was fierce opposition to CERN's adoption of TCP/IP.

From 1984-1989, CERN began to open external connections to it's network, and François Flückiger convened and attended early meetings of the Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Network (CCIRN). Vint Cerf was present at these meetings, and Cerf persuaded Flückiger to help create a European organisation to manage the allocation of IP addresses for European IP networks. The result was the creation of RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) and RIPE NCC: RIPE NCC is the organisation that assigns IP and AS number blocks for Europe.

From 1988-1992, François Flückiger has stated that the CERN external network was the leading European Internet hub: he estimated that it was providing between 70%-80% of Europe's Internet capacity. It is probably of no coincidence that the World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee while he was working at CERN; due to the capacity of CERN's network to support such a service. The CERN networking group was responsible for managing CERN's World Wide Web team when Tim Berners-Lee left CERN.

Due to the importance of the CERN network and it's networking group, it was a founder member of the Internet Society (ISOC) in 1992. François Flückiger was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame (2013 inductees): due to his contribution in promoting and developing IP networking in Europe.