Interface Message Processor

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What Does Interface Message Processor Mean?

The interface message processor (IMP) was the first packet-router. It was part of the ARPANET, the the precusor to today’s Internet. IMPs monitored network status and gathered statistics. They were also the heart of the ARPANET from its launch until it was decomissioned in 1989. They also represent the first generation of the gateways that are now known as routers.

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Techopedia Explains Interface Message Processor

The interfact message processor proviced an interface to the ARPANET that was independent and could be used by any system. This laid the groundwork for the modern Internet and the network architecture that makes it possible.

A contract for the development of IMP was awarded to consulting company Bolt Baranek and Newman in 1968. What they developed essentially consisted of long-distance leased telephone circuits between pairs of IMPs. Host computers were connected to the IMP at the host site and network users were connected to their local host. A set of procols specified the conventions for communication between hosts connected to different IMPs.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.