[e2e] 0% NAT - checkmating the disconnectors
David P. Reed
dpreed at reed.com
Tue Mar 14 05:55:00 PST 2006
Saikat Guha wrote:
> I know this is an antagonistic thing to say, but while you can guarantee
> some "freedom" (of speech) at the transport layer, e2e suggests there is
> little value in doing so.
I don't care about antagonism - I care about careful thinking: Don't
twist my words. I was not suggesting (and would never suggest)
"guaranteeing" anything at the transport layer - freedom of speech or
anything else. I was suggesting that the transport layer of the
Internet was an inappropriate layer to attempt to enforce
application-level policies. Note I said the Internet. Hence my point
that the structural definition of the Internet is that it is the
collective agreement of many nets to carry each others' traffic.
I cited the court cases, not to prove any point about the Internet, but
to illustrate that there are subtleties in the issues we are discussing
that relate to "rights" which are never absolute, and which are always
competing with each other in context. Hushaphone focuses on the rights
of owners. Carterfone focuses on social good (antitrust) and the right
of the public to be protected from bad actions by monopolies (in its
case a government-controlled and granted monopoly, rather than one
earned by economic competition). Our legal system in the US has many
aspects that are weighed by the courts - since the antitrust argument
was not invoked in Hushaphone, the Hushaphone company lost its bid to
offer add-on products (under that portion of the law).
Separate from the law is a set of issues related to desirable policies
(perhaps implemented by revisions of the law, either by statute or
common law precedent - but as we computer scientists understand, the law
is an implementation of policy - the same policy can be achieved by many
The end-to-end arguments are predominantly arguments about architecture,
and the Internet was designed around an architecture of cooperation and
moving special functions to the edges as a means to implement the policy
goals of a single world-wide unified network and of capability for
incorporating unanticipated innovation (both below the neck of the
hourglass in AS's and above it in applications).
The "rights" of network owners begin and end at the right to connect to
the Internet (and to be accespted by the Internet as an AS). As I
said, the network owner is not entitled by any rule I know of to be
allowed to transport Internet traffic - so the remedy for not meeting
the specs of the Internet should be disconnection (total and complete),
also known as "routing around damage".
If there were an actual law that guaranteed a network owner the right to
carry traffic and to earn the related profits, that would conflict with
the Internet's architectural assumptions. In the original Internet
design, we ignored such networks - attempting to include them was a
waste of time and technical effort.
Perhaps we should revisit that design choice. But in doing so, it
would be wise to avoid assuming that such a state of affairs is so
important that it must distort the Internet architecture and its primary
goal of providing universal network-of-networks functionality.
The very reason pipsqueaks like Verizon are calling for franchise laws
that exclude competitors is to disrupt the impact the Internet threatens
to their business merely by providing competition. That's because the
Internet works well, not because it works poorly.
More information about the end2end-interest