Iljitsch Van Beijnum of Wired writes: "Although watching TV shows from the 1970s suggests otherwise, the era wasn’t completely devoid of all things resembling modern communication systems. Sure, the 50 Kbps modems that the ARPANET ran on were the size of refrigerators, and the widely used Bell 103 modems only transferred 300 bits per second. But long distance digital communication was common enough, relative to the number of computers deployed. Terminals could also be hooked up to mainframe and minicomputers over relatively short distances with simple serial lines or with more complex multidrop systems.
This was all well known; what was new in the ’70s was the local area network (LAN). But how to connect all these machines?"