[e2e] flat (was Re: Port numbers in the network layer?

Detlef Bosau detlef.bosau at web.de
Sun Apr 28 08:42:17 PDT 2013

Am 26.04.2013 23:01, schrieb christian.tschudin at unibas.ch:
> On Fri, 26 Apr 2013, Detlef Bosau wrote:
>> ... port numbers on the transport layer have worked fine for about 35 
>> years now. (Is this correct?) So there must be extremely compelling 
>> reasons to restart this discussion.
> the past not being the reason, the reason must lie in the future,
> which is: no ports at all, and names instead of port numbers.

Hang on. Neither the past nor the future is the "reason".

A reason for doing something may be:
- a problem, I want to solve,
- a goal, I want to achieve.

Although I think, that I'm quite well educated in math, to me, CS in 
general and in particular networking, networking is an engineering 
science, not pure science. So we don't create more or less useful 
phantasies, which some person may hopefully find useful.

So, when we think about an architectural change (particularly a heavy 
weight change like moving port numbers to a different layer and hence 
changing encapsulations) we should give valid reasons for this.

> If at Bob's time ports were chosen to be encoded in ASCIZ instead
> of a 16 bit integer, many nice conflations would have been possible,
> architectural IP oddities cleaned up, connectionless web servers
> at IP level could have emerged and the bang path would still be
> with us.
> Some fun addr+"port" examples for such a one-layer IP network:
> at me look at me I'm on e2e
>!i_feel_lucky?but I forgot the 
> question

O.k., I have to admit that I just listened to VJ's talk "A new way on to 
look at networking".

I presume VJ would lough at our discussion. While VJ tells us, we should 
"address" contents by name, we are nit picking about port numbers ;-)
(Even more important: E.g. Van's comments on security, which has simply 
a different view on this issue than John who wants to armor individual 
> Port-less is not really new and links back to Bob: it's an instance
> of a role based architecture, makes the world look flat again,
> like SDN.

Yes. However, I think we mix up perspectives here. While John misses the 
forest for the trees, VJ's outlook in the future and other things are, 
in a sense, a forest as a tree replacement ;-)

As said before: CS is engineering. And we should keep the balance 
between nit picking on the one hand and hovering above the clouds on the 
other ;-)


Detlef Bosau
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