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Chaosnet was the name for both an internetworking protocol family, and an early LAN technology, both invented at the MIT AI Laboratory; the latter was the LAN on which the protocol first ran.

The LAN was a CSMA-CD system modeled on the Xerox PARC 3 megabit/second Ethernet, running over cable TV cable. The protocol was later made to run over standard 10 megabit/second Ethernet, which largely supplanted the Chaosnet hardware. (On Ethernet, the Address Resolution Protocol is required to provide mappings from 16-bit Chaos addresses to the 48-bit addresses used by Ethernet.)

The protocol provided a reliable byte stream service, but also had a datagram mode.


Chaosnet was initially called CAIOSnet.


Hardware, and simulations

External links

  • AI memo 628 - Includes chapters on ITS, TOPS-20, Lisp Machine, and Unix implementations.
  • SYSDOC;CHAORD > - Initial design
  • MOON;AMBER > - Another Moon document
  • Chaosnet - Detailed descriptions of both the hardware system, and the protociol(s)
  • CHAOS; - hardware interface designs, etc.