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(1) (Body-to-Body Network) A theoretical mesh network that uses people to transmit data within a limited geographic area. Using devices such as a BBN-enabled smartphone, a signal is sent from the sender to the nearest BBN user, which is transmitted to the next-nearest BBN user and so on until it reaches the destination user. See also personal area network.

(2) (BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA, A consulting firm that participated in the development of some of the most extensive networks in the world, including ARPANET, which evolved into the Internet. It was founded in 1948 as a consulting service in acoustics by Dr. Richard Bolt and Dr. Leo Beranek. Two years later, Robert Newman became a partner, and the company was known as Bolt, Beranek and Newman for many years.

In 1997, BBN was acquired by GTE and certain assets were merged into its network services organization, which was renamed GTE Internetworking and then BBN Planet. In 2000, GTE merged with Bell Atlantic and became Verizon, while BBN went its separate way, renamed Genuity. In 2004, BBN was reestablished as an independent company when its former, core R&D management, along with two venture capital firms, purchased it from Verizon. It was acquired once again in 2009 when Raytheon bought the company to shore up its defense technology and cybersecurity sectors. BBN has sometimes been referred to as "Cambridge's third university," after MIT and Harvard. See Level 3.

Level 3

(Level 3 Communications, Broomfield, CO, A telecommunications carrier and one of the world's largest Internet backbone companies founded in 1985 as Kiewit Diversified Group (KDG). KDG was a wholly owned subsidiary of Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc., a prominent construction company that was founded in 1884. In 1998, KDG changed its name to Level 3 and spun itself off as a public company. The name of the company comes from the IP protocol, which is a "layer 3" networking protocol (see layer 3).

Level 3 built a nationwide fiber network based on IP with links to Europe and Asia. It provides fiber access directly to office buildings as well as end-to-end voice and data services. With nearly USD $3 billion in capital from Peter Kiewit Sons' and expertise from many people who previously worked for MFS (created under Kiewit and later sold to WorldCom), Level 3 packed a huge wallop as a startup. Private line and colocation services were first offered in 1998. With all the meltdown of telecom companies after the turn of the century, Level 3 remained a player.

In 2002, Level 3 acquired Corporate Software and Software Spectrum, two software resellers, making it the nation's leader in software distribution. By the third quarter of 2002, software accounted for three quarters of Level 3's revenues. Although perplexing analysts, the company expects that all corporate software will be downloaded in the future. In 2003, Level 3 purchased Genuity, a company with historical connections to the builders of the original Internet (see BBN).

In 2006, five more companies were acquired in the telecom, data transport and optical network areas, including ICG Communications, Looking Glass Networks and Broadwing Corporation.

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