Postel Center

Internet History mailing list

This list hosts questions regarding Internet History. It was created in July 2001 at the request of Bob Braden, a veteran of the early Internet. Periodically, URLs and FAQs posted to this list will be archived here.

The Postel Center is pleased to provide this service to the Internet community. Postel Center provides a home for the list (, an automated management interface, and an archive with multiple indices. We also tune the list to avoid overload from automated sources and to handle user requests.

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Local resources:

IEN Archives

Text (134 of the 212 total IENs so far)

PDFs (missing 9, 33, 125, 126)

NOTE: currently only one IEN is missing in both text and PDF; if anyone has a copy, please let us know:

  • IEN 33 Internet Meeting Notes - 1&2 May 1978.
  • We'd also like to scan a copy of 125 and 126.

Provided by Bill Manning (with many thanks)

Other resources (products/services not endorsed per se):

And we are happy to answer questions, e.g.:

> Hi. My name is Kaylie. I am 11 years old. I have homework and it relates to the history of the Internet. I am trying to find out what the very first IP address that was ever created. I have learned a bunch of stuff about it and ISI comes up a lot, so I am writing you. Can you help me find out what the very first IP address was in history? Thank you very much! Kaylie [Dec 16, 2006]

The Internet started in Sept. 1981 when a new set of protocols - rules for who talks when and how - began being used, called "TCP/IP". They were used on a network that had already been running since 1969, using an older protocol called "NCP". Current network addresses look like "", which is ISI's webserver ( The first network addresses all started with "10.", i.e., "", and described everyone on the first ARPAnet (the precursor to the Internet). Those addresses aren't in use any more; they're reserved for 'tests' (RFC1918 describes this). The problem with picking a 'first' is that everyone who ran on the old NCP ARPAnet had an address that was converted to a 10.x.x.x address when TCP/IP was adopted in Sept. 1981. So technically everyone who had an NCP address in August 1981 had an equivalent IP address in Sept. 1981. The list you probably want is in RFC832, and lists a large number of 'first network addresses' that were used by Dec. 1982. Note that ISI is listed there, and at that time we used the old 10.x.x.x address, not the current 128.9.x.x set. PS - you can find the "RFCs" above using a search engine. RFCs, and their precursors called IENs are a great source for such history, but they can be a bit hard to read. -- Joe Touch