[e2e] Time for a new Internet Protocol

dirk.trossen@bt.com dirk.trossen at bt.com
Wed May 16 02:25:31 PDT 2007

[RESENT - this time without signature - my apologies, still had to find
the off-by-default setting]


I wonder if such almost revolutionary tone is both helpful and effective
in reaching the goal (or anything for that matter) you're promoting. 

Not only do I believe (more hope) that the intention back then, when
constructing IP, TCP, UDP, ..., was not 'to beat Mother Bell's control
ambitions' but to truly enable end user innovation (driven by the true
belief that this would benefit everybody), I would also argue that times
do have changed since then. Change of fundamentals in the Internet is
today more of an educational process than ever. It might be driven by
technology, certainly not only though, but it certainly includes more
than ever proper education beyond the pure technology community and the
consideration for the concerns of everybody involved. It isn't a
technology exercise anymore within a governmentally funded research
community that, over the course of some twenty years, will then turn
into a fundamental piece of societial life. It IS part of the societal
life. So advocating changes needs to take into account the different
concerns, also the ones of the 'routerheads' and the 'control freaks',
if you will, in order to be successful. 

So it is not the goal that I'm questioning (you know how much I
subscribe to end user driven innovation), it is your, to me, ineffective
and confrontational method that I fear will turn out to be wasteful
rather than fruitful. What the technology community CAN provide is the
ammunition for this educational process, the proof that end user
innovation is indeed enabled, for the good of everybody involved (and
point our alternatives for the ones that seemingly will need to change).

BTW, as you know I recently have joined a company you might characterize
as being on the 'controlling end' of the spectrum, coming from an end
user type of company. But believe me that I would have not joined if I
didn't believe such education is possible. It isn't all black and white
(us - whoever that is - against them).


> -----Original Message-----
> From: end2end-interest-bounces at postel.org 
> [mailto:end2end-interest-bounces at postel.org] On Behalf Of 
> David P. Reed
> Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 3:57 PM
> To: end2end-interest list
> Subject: [e2e] Time for a new Internet Protocol
> A motivation for TCP and then IP, TCP/IP, UDP/IP, RTP/IP, 
> etc. was that network vendors had too much control over what 
> could happen inside their networks.
> Thus, IP was the first "overlay network" designed from 
> scratch to bring heterogeneous networks into a common, 
> world-wide "network of networks" 
> (term invented by Licklider and Taylor in their prescient 
> paper, The Computer as a Communications Device).  By creating 
> universal connectivity, with such properties as allowing 
> multitudinous connections simultaneously between a node and 
> its peers, an extensible user-layer naming system called DNS, 
> and an ability to invent new end-to-end protocols, gradually 
> a new ecology of computer mediated communications evolved, 
> including the WWW (dependent on the ability to make 100 "calls" 
> within a few milliseconds to a variety of hosts), email 
> (dependent on the ability to deploy end-system server 
> applications without having to ask the "operator" for 
> permission for a special 800 number that facilitates public 
> addressability).
> Through a series of tragic events (including the dominance of
> routerheads* in the network community) the Internet is 
> gradually being taken back into the control of providers who 
> view their goal as limiting what end users can do, based on 
> the theory that any application not invented by the pipe and 
> switch owners is a waste of resources.  They argue that 
> "optimality" of the network is required, and that any new 
> application implemented at the edges threatens the security 
> and performance they pretend to provide to users.
> Therefore, it is time to do what is possible: construct a new 
> overlay network that exploits the IP network just as the IP 
> network exploited its predecessors the ARPANET and ATT's 
> longhaul dedicated links and new technologies such as LANs.
> I call for others to join me in constructing the next 
> Internet, not as an extension of the current Internet, 
> because that Internet is corrupted by people who do not value 
> innovation, connectivity, and the ability to absorb new ideas 
> from the user community.
> The current IP layer Internet can then be left to be 
> "optimized" by those who think that 100G connections should 
> drive the end user functionality.  We can exploit the 
> Internet of today as an "autonomous system" just as we built 
> a layer on top of Ethernet and a layer on top of the ARPANET 
> to interconnect those.
> To save argument, I am not arguing that the IP layer could 
> not evolve.   
> I am arguing that the current research community and industry 
> community that support the IP layer *will not* allow it to evolve.
> But that need not matter.   If necessary, we can do this 
> inefficiently, 
> creating a new class of routers that sit at the edge of the 
> IP network 
> and sit in end user sites.   We can encrypt the traffic, so 
> that the IP 
> monopoly (analogous to the ATT monopoly) cannot tell what our 
> layer is doing, and we can use protocols that are more 
> aggressively defensive since the IP layer has indeed gotten 
> very aggressive in blocking traffic and attempting to prevent 
> user-to-user connectivity.
> Aggressive defense is costly - you need to send more packets when the 
> layer below you is trying to block your packets.   But DARPA 
> would be a 
> useful funder, because the technology we develop will support 
> DARPA's efforts to develop networking technologies that work 
> in a net-centric world, where US forces partner with 
> temporary partners who may provide connectivity today, but 
> should not be trusted too much.
> One model is TOR, another is Joost.   Both of these services overlay 
> rich functions on top of the Internet, while integrating 
> servers and clients into a full Internet on top of today's Internets.
> * routerheads are the modern equivalent of the old "bellheads".   The 
> problem with bellheads was that they believed that the right 
> way to build a communications system was to put all functions 
> into the network layer, and have that layer controlled by a 
> single monopoly, in order to "optimize" the system.  Such an 
> approach reminds one of the argument for 
> the corporate state a la Mussolini: the trains run on time.   Today's 
> routerheads believe that the Internet is created by the 
> fibers and pipes, rather than being an end-to-end set of 
> agreements that can layer 
> on top of any underlying mechanism.   Typically they work for 
> backbone 
> ISPs or Router manufacturers as engineers, or in academic 
> circles they focus on running hotrod competitions for the 
> fastest file transfer between two points on the earth 
> (carefully lining up fiber and switches between specially 
> tuned endpoints), or worse, running NS2 simulations that 
> demonstrate that it is possible to stand on one's head while 
> singing the National Anthem to get another publication in 
> some Springer-Verlag journal.

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