The Internet: A Wonderful Accident - PDF Document

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  1. The Internet: A Wonderful Accident Reflections on the History and Future of the Internet (from a technical perspective) Kees Neggers MORE-IP 4 June 2019

  2. The Internet: A Wonderful Accident • Designed as a network for researchers in the 60’s and 70’s • Now an essential infrastructure for the “network society” • It was never designed for that role…. • A better internet is urgently needed

  3. Development of communication networks • Telephone network • Designed for voice, circuit switched, connection oriented, focus on path, required very reliable components, central control • Cable TV networks • Broadcasting over coax cable, designed as a one to many infrastructure • Internet • Designed for data communication, packet switched, connection less, focus on end points, no central management • 2019: 50 year ARPANET, 30 year WWW, 25 year AMS-IX

  4. Development of Packet switching • 1969 ARPANET first demo of an open-access packet network • Initial version of ARPANET was developed on the ideas of Donald Davies • connection oriented, IMP subnet, NCP in hosts • 1972 CYCLADES by Louis Pouzin at IRIA was the first to be designed as an internetwork based on an end-to end architecture • connection less, datagrams, layered structure, Transport Service (TS) in hosts • 1972 Start of International Packet Networking Group, INWG • 1974 TCP article in IEEE TC by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection”

  5. Development of the Internet • Consensus building was difficult but succeeded in Dec. 1975: INWG 96 • DARPA decided to continue along the lines of the 1974 IEEE publication • INWG work continued in ISO, TC97 SC’s 6 and 16 as well as the CCITT • 1980 “final” TCP/IP specification • 1983 ARPANET was based on TCP/IP • 1986 start of NSFnet • 1986 first congestion collapse occurred, patching began

  6. So what went wrong? • ARPANET was setup for a closed group of researchers, in particular to give them terminal access to remote computers • TCP/IP was a much more powerful protocol than NCP and worked fine over the connection oriented network services of the IMPs • ARPANET gradually had grown bigger and IMPs were faced out • TCP/IP had become both the Internetwork layer and the network layer

  7. ARPANET had lost the internetwork layer! • But so what? • ARPANET as well as the resulting NSFnet were in fact prototypes for a limited group of research organisations for a limited set of tasks • The Internet would soon be replaced by networks based on the international standards developed in ISO and CCITT, the TCP/IP based networks would only be needed for an interim period • Even the US believed this

  8. However • The international standardisation efforts produced too little too late • TCP/IP code became freely available, started to be used in networks everywhere • These networks emerged into the global Internet we have today • Which is now used for many things it was never designed for

  9. Some major flaws for its current use • Wrong naming and addressing model • Wrong congestion control • No security mechanisms • Complex patches were and are constantly needed • Engineers have done a remarkable job to get the Internet going

  10. The Internet is clearly not future proof • Difficult to support mobility, multi-homing and quality of service • Difficult to support real-time and low latency applications • IPv6 and NATs complicate the situation even further • And so does the move of voice and streaming video towards IP

  11. Why were ISO and CCITT not able to fix this? • It was clear that TCP/IP had severe limitations and the technical knowhow how to build better networks already existed • Conflicting interests among the major players • Slow progress resulting in overly complex solutions • Very poor initial interworking between different implementations • PTT networks failed. Early 90’s we ran out of X.25 speed, end 90’s out of ATM • Users were left in the cold and started using what was freely available, first locally and finally worldwide, TCP/IP had won the war

  12. Why is the IETF not able to fix this? • Insisting on backwards compatibility, fear for a clean slate solution • Nevertheless they created IPv6 which is not backwards compatible, it is a different network with still most of the fundamental flaws of IPv4 • Backwards compatibility will never remove fundamental flaws • ‘A hardened piece of junk propagates all through the system’, Barton • Vested interest in current network by active participants

  13. What role played The Netherlands • In 1982 EUnet started with its central node at CWI in Amsterdam • 25 April 1986 .nl assigned to CWI • In 1986 SURF provided seed money to start RARE, now called GEANT, that offered a home to kickstart Ebone and the RIPE NCC • 17 November 1988 CWI gets connected status to the Internet • The Dutch Government took a pragmatic position • Dutch PTT was open for experimentation, also for international connections • NIKHEF and SURFnet started exchange points in Amsterdam which evolved into the AMS-IX • 2STiC: Security, Stability and Transparency in inter-network Communication

  14. 2STiC: Security, Stability and Transparency in inter-network Communication. • A new joint research programme to increase the security, stability and transparency of internet communications, see: • By developing and evaluating new types of internet that will complement and co-exist with the current Internet to support 21stcentury applications • Experimenting with and contributing to emerging internet architectures, such as SCION, NDN and RINA • Operating a national programmable network based on P4 switches • Long-term objective is to establish a centre of expertise in the field of trusted and resilient internets • Current participants: SIDN Labs, the University of Twente, the University of Amsterdam, SURFnet, NLnet Labs and TUDelft

  15. Conclusion • TCP/IP brought us a wonderful Internet • Current Internet is no longer fit for purpose • A new architecture is needed sooner rather than later ➢We know how to build better internets ➢The technology to do so exists ➢Societal awareness for a better internet is growing fast • So the momentum is there, let’s do something about it