The 56Kbps backbone between the NSF centers leads to the creation of a number of regional feeder networks – JVNCNET, NYSERNET, SURANET, SDSCNET and BARRNET – among others. With the backbone, these regionals start to build a hub and spoke infrastructure. This growth in the number of interconnected networks drives a major expansion in the community including the DOE, DOD and NASA.
Between the beginning of 1986 and the end of 1987 the number of networks grows from 2,000 to nearly 30,000.
TCP/IP is available on workstations and PCs such as the newly introduced Compaq portable computer. Ethernet is becoming accepted for wiring inside buildings and across campuses. Each of these developments drives the introduction of terms such as bridging and routing and the need for readily available information on TCP/IP in workshops and manuals. Companies such as Proteon, Synoptics, Banyan, Cabletron, Wellfleet, and Cisco emerge with products to feed this explosion.
At the same time, other parts of the U.S. Government and many of the traditional computer vendors mount an attempt to validate their products being built to the OSI theoretical specifications, in the form of the Corporation for Open Systems.