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How Stanford and Beijing first connected

- October 17, 2010 - 2 Comments

We helped the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE) kick off their “China 2.0: Rise of a Digital Superpower” conference in Beijing today with a discussion over telepresence that reconnected two of the pioneering engineers who worked to bring connectivity to China – Dr. Les Cottrell of the Stanford Linear Accelator Center (SLAC) and Prof. Xu Rengshang of Beijing’s Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP).  

Back in 1991 teams from both academic institutions worked with ‘dogged perserverence’ over a 3 year period to establish a link to aid their research, working with AT&T using DECnet over a satellite connection from Point Reyes, north of San Francisco, over to Beijing Airport, and the using several subsequent hops to connect to IHEP itself.   Les told me a little bit about his fascinating journey in bringing the Internet to Beijing after the telepresence session in San Jose today (the actual conference is taking place in the Grand Millenium Hotel in Beijing for the next couple of days):

Dr. Les Cottrell of Stanford discusses bringing the first Internet connection to Beijing

Find out more about the conference itself here on SPRIE’s website.

There’s more information on the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center confluence site here as well:

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  1. With the capitalistic growth in China and other countries and the increasing regulation within the US, we will continue to see more outsourcing to China and other countries.

  2. Of interest to Cisco, we upgraded from the initial DECrouters to Cisco routers in February 1994. To do this we had to get export licenses for the Cisco routers from the Department of Commerce. We eventually got these at the end of 1993. At this time the IHEP/SLAC DECnet connection was opened up to the worldwide DECnet. The same routers were used when the link was later opened up to the entire Internet. So Cisco was in there at the birth.