[e2e] Time for a new Internet Protocol

Bob Briscoe rbriscoe at jungle.bt.co.uk
Mon May 21 16:10:27 PDT 2007


Going back to your opening posting in this thread...

At 15:57 15/05/2007, David P. Reed wrote:
>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.

So, how do we make an Internet that can evolve to meet all sorts of future 
social and economic desires, except it mustn't evolve away from David 
Reed's original desires for it, and it mustn't evolve towards the desires 
of those who invest in it? Tough design brief :)

My sarcasm is only intended to prevent you wasting a lot of years of your 
life on this project, without questioning whether the problem is with your 
aspirations, not with the Internet...

Perhaps it would help _not_ to think of suppression of innovation as a 
failure. Innovation isn't an end in itself. People don't want innovation to 
the exclusion of all else. People want a balance between innovative new 
stuff and uninterrupted, cheap, robust, hassle-free enjoyment of previous 

Surely the real requirement is for a distributed computing internetwork 
that can be temporarily or locally closed to milk the fruits of an 
innovation without having to be permanently and ubiquitously closed. That 
is, locally open or locally closed by policy control. That's a heroic 
research challenge in its own right - and not impossible - here's some case 
studies that have (sometimes unconsciously) achieved this:

A desire to embed _only_ openness into the architecture to the exclusion of 
thinking how to do closedness is the problem, not the solution. So, I for 
one won't be joining you in this venture, even though my initial reflex 
action would be (and always was) openness. I'd ask you to reconsider too.

If you disagree with this 'Tussle in Cyberspace' argument, I think you 
ought to say why, as I've not heard a good argument against it.

>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.

You don't need to start out deciding that, whatever the solution, it won't 
be an evolution from where we are. That doesn't need to be decided until 
you know what the solution might look like.

>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.

If this is what you want you don't need a new Internet. You already have 
the power to encrypt and the power to be aggressively defensive with the 
current Internet (as your TOR and Joost examples demonstrate).

You want to use the infrastructure those nasty routerheads have invested 
in, presumably to benefit from the network effect their investments (and 
your previous inventiveness) helped to create. And if they try to stop you, 
are they not justified? What is the difference then between your traffic 
and an attack - from /their/ point of view?

Or are you claiming a higher moral right to abuse the policies they impose 
on their networks because you have honourable intentions, in /your/ 
opinion? Universal connectivity isn't a human right that trumps their 
policies. It's just something you (& I) care about a lot. Isn't this 
getting close to an analogy with animal rights activists conspiring to kill 

Reversing this, what if someone launches a DoS attack against an unforeseen 
vulnerability in your new Internet? Would your architecture never allow it 
to be blocked, because that would damage universal connectivity?

I think you need to take a step back and reconsider the aspersions you're 
casting on routerheads. They understand the value of universal connectivity 
too. But they also understand the higher value of some connectivities than 
others. Given the tools they have at their disposal right now, the best 
they can do is block some stuff to keep other stuff going. It's as much the 
fault of you and me that they have no other option, as it is their fault 
for blocking stuff.

You are blaming operators for acting in their own self-interest. Shouldn't 
you blame the designers of the architecture for not expecting operators to 
act in their own interests? Again, what is your argument against 
'Tussle  in Cyberspace'?


More information about the end2end-interest mailing list