MIT was the birthplace of many inventions that we utilize on a regular basis, such as Zipcar, Gillette Co & the disposable razor, and condensed soup. What many people do not realize is that it was also where File Transfer Protocol (FTP) was born. In the early 1970s a newly immigrated student from India, Abhay Bhushan opened gateways for technology. FTP was ahead of its time when it was launched, the foundation of FTP was to securely transfer packets of information (each file is made up of a large amount of packets) from a sender to a receiver. The process involves packets being sent individually, the transferring of the next packet would only proceed if the reciever acknowledged the previous packet (see image 1.) These packets were originally transferred over the ARPANET Network Control Program (the predecessor of the Internet we know and use excessively today.) It was the first digital transferring method of its time. It’s only when we stop and think about it, that we realize how massive an impact this invention had. FTP paved the road for future protocols to follow (HTTP, POP, etc.)
While FTP was the top of the line for decades and did update its methods, it eventually fell behind in regards to speed, security and transfer size capacity. The FBI in previous years conducted research on the lack of cybersecurity with FTP. They warned various sectors, saying that it left them exposed to potential cyber threats. Some sectors did not heed the warnings. The Healthcare Sector witnessed an increase in cyber attacks. You can read more about this in our previous blog “There are Threats to FTP Servers, are You Mitigating Them?” With the internet’s continual growth, FTP could simply not keep up. Globally the number of FTP users is constantly declining. You will come across FTP if you develop a website, and in this case, it is a fundamental tool. Today we can say that FTP was a ground-breaking technology of its time and in particular cases, it is still considered a key element to the original backbone of the internet.
BITE-SIZED INFO – HOW FTP WORKS:
Step 1: A file is broken down into packets
Step 2: One at a time the packets are transferred by the sender to the receiver.
Step 3: The sender cannot send the next packet until the receiver sends an acknowledgement, which states that the packet was received. [See Image 1]
Step 4: Once the receiver starts collecting the packets, it places them in order and builds the file with all its elements. [See Image 2]
FileCatalyst Leads the Way with New Solutions
Founded in the year of Y2K (2000), FileCatalyst entered the scene with software-based solutions designed to accelerate and optimize file transfers across global networks. In 2006, FileCatalyst developed a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) based solution, which eliminated the difficulties with FTP. Being immune to packet loss and latency, FileCatalyst sends files much faster than methods such as FTP, HTTP or CIFS. We dive deeper into our solutions in our upcoming Ebook “A Millennial’s Guide to Fast File Transfers”, be sure to follow us on social media for our release dates.
Stay tuned to the sequel in this blog series: “The Future – Change Is Imminent”