KISS mode was developed by Mike Chepponis, K3MC, and Phil Karn, KA9Q in 1987, and incoporated in the updated EPROMs of almost every commercial Terminal Node Controller (TNC), since that time.
If you think of the computer and TNC as the non-RF parts of a data-communication system, originally almost all of the system’s intelligence was built into the TNC, not the computer.
As a result, it was possible for completely dumb terminals to be used with TNCs to provide packet communications.
This was done because the personal computers available when TNCs were first developed (early 1980s) weren’t very powerful. With time, computers became substantially more powerful.
Taking the opposite approach, the Baycom and Poor Man’s Packet modems move all of the intelligence out of the TNC and into the computer. KISS mode plows a middle ground, moving a portion of the intelligence from the TNC to the computer, but leaving some intelligence in the TNC as well.
A KISS-mode TNC can’t be used in conjunction with just any terminal program. That’s because certain TNC functions must be carried out in the computer, not the TNC. However, a significant amount of software has been created that supports KISS mode, including APRS, TCP/IP, and a range of other programs.
The KISS TNC: A simple Host-to-TNC communications protocol
Mike Chepponis, K3MC and Phil Karn, KA9Q
Presented at the ARRL 6th Computer Networking Conference, Redondo Beach CA, 1987.
Translated to HTML by KA9Q, January 1997.