[e2e] Internet "architecture"

Jon Crowcroft jon.crowcroft at cl.cam.ac.uk
Fri Apr 12 07:23:23 PDT 2013

the folks who called it catenet included bob braden who was working at UCL
when i was there - of course, we were concatenating networks that ran other
protocols (Cambridge Ring, X.25 (transport layer relays) and so on...so
perhaps I'm conflating two things - the interconnection of multiple
disprate protocol systems, and the IP interconenction of multiple IP
networks with disparete layer 2 and below....

it is the case (as some other folks privately pointed out to me) that IENs
(including IEN 1 written at UCL) are Internet Experiment Notes, and go back
to mid 1970s, so i'm wrong to say "internet"

however, my point about parsimony is really over compressed - IP trades off
simplicity in the data plane, for complexity in the control plane - its not
a pure trade off (it can be seen partly as a win-win, as signaling
protocols for VC networks can be nearly as complex (or in X.25 and B-ISDN's
Q.2931's cases, more complex) as routing protocols....nevertheless, getting
routing right and all associated components is seriously non-trivial -
other systems (the aforesaid cambridge ring protocol stack) represent a
different trade off that is also quite elegant.

the post-hoc rationalisation phrase is way too glib....certainly not
intended to be rude to people that created this cool stuff we all use - in
fact i was conflating three things

1. a bunch of work fairly recently on optimal protocols and narrow waist of
the hour glass...
2. the ordering of constrints on the design of the internet protocols (as
per dave clarks 88 paper)
3. the apparent simplicity of IP - my missing point was that the complexity
pops out somewhere, and that place is in the control plane....as we've
since disovered...

of course, there were people that ran dynamic distributed routing for VC
networks (X.25 for example - we had switches in the JANET network that did
this) so they were even more complex in both data and control plane (what
with crankback etc etc:)

so yes, a bit glib really...sorry

normal service will be resumed as soon as I get my IPTV QoS back :)


On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 3:07 PM, Fred Baker (fred) <fred at cisco.com> wrote:

> I'd suggest running the assertion by Vint. I made a similar assertion in a
> document not too long ago, which I ran by him for comment, and he told me I
> was flatly wrong. Yes, the circuit switch folks were using the term
> "catenet" to refer to networks that interoperated through translation, such
> as frame relay/ATM interoperation, he asserted, but at least some (he?) was
> using the term "Internet" as early as the mid 1970's.
> On Apr 11, 2013, at 8:59 PM, Dave Crocker <dhc2 at dcrocker.net> wrote:
> > This is a risky query.  There have been previous threads about such
> things as the "start" of the Internet.  Instead, I want to ask about the
> "architecture" of the Internet.
> >
> > Here's a comment that I sent earlier today, to a non-technical person
> who is aware of the overall Internet timeline, but I believe does not
> understand what is distinctive about Internet 'architecture'.  I'm curious
> about reactions on this list, and any possible improvements -- including
> complete replacement -- but more importantly I'm interested in filling in
> the details:
> >
> >     The original use of the term Internet was to describe a distinctive
> technical design for a distributed, scalable data exchange fabric.  Its
> design characteristics differ dramatically from those of its predecessor,
> the Arpanet, and from other related efforts.
> >
> > That's what I sent.  To prime the pump for the detail:
> >
> >     By saying 'fabric' I meant to distinguish the mechanism for moving
> raw data from the applications that used it.  What I'd class as distinctive
> were the TCP/IP separation, the remarkably modest functionality of IP, even
> to the point of moving it's control plane to the next level up with ICMP,
> and continuing with modest expectations the layer below (which made it
> possible to operate over any medium including birds.)  This is usually
> characterized as moving robustness to the edges.
> >
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > d/
> >
> > --
> > Dave Crocker
> > Brandenburg InternetWorking
> > bbiw.net
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