Internet Protocol

Internet Protocol / Featured Blogs


There are many network operator group meetings being held these days. Even in the backwater of the South Pacific where I live there is now AUSNOG, and NZNOG is just next door in New Zealand. We now have MENOG in the Middle East and AFNOG in Africa. The original NOG was the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG), and they have the T-Shirts to prove it! NANOG meets three times a year, and I attended NANOG 41 in October 2007. NANOG meetings cover a broad variety of topics, from operational tools, measurement, and peering practices through to a commentary on the state of the Internet industry. Here are my impressions of the meeting. more»

The "Internet of Things," the Internet and Internet Governance

As the second Internet Governance Forum approaches, it is an appropriate moment to take stock of how the Internet Governance dialogue has evolved since the conclusion of the WSIS Summit in 2005. One year after the first IGF in Athens, it is clear that government, industry and civil society stakeholders are still grappling over the direction and focus of the IGF... There is little doubt that some governments will choose to borrow concepts from the IGF when developing law and policy and will ultimately apply them to the Internet within their respective jurisdictions. Given the global nature of the Internet, this should be a fundamental concern. While this important dialogue about the Internet continues at the IGF in Brazil next month, another no less important debate is emerging with regard to RFID technology and the so-called "Internet of Things." The Internet of Things is a term coined to describe a future ubiquitous sensor network that collects commercial and personal data in public and private settings created, in part, through the rollout of RFID technology... more»

Congestion in the Backbone: Telecom and Internet Solutions

When a network is subject to a rapid increase in traffic perhaps combined with a rapid decrease in capacity (for example due to a fire or a natural disaster), there is a risk of congestion collapse. In a congestion collapse, the remaining capacity is so overloaded with access attempts that virtually no traffic gets through. In the case of telephony, everyone attempts to call their family and friends in a disaster area. The long standing telephony approach is to restrict new call attempts upstream of the congested area... This limits the amount of new traffic to that which the network can handle. Thus, if only 30% capacity is available, at least the network handles 30% of the calls, not 3% or zero... more»

Transition to IPv6 Address

Last month's column looked at the exhaustion of the IPv4 unallocated address pool and the state of preparedness in the Internet to grapple with this issue... There has been a considerable volume of discussion in various IPv6 and address policy forums across the world about how we should respond to this situation in terms of development of address distribution policies. Is it possible to devise address management policies that might both lessen some of the more harmful potential impacts of this forthcoming hiatus in IPv4 address supply, and also provide some impetus to industry to move in the originally intended direction to transition into an IPv6 network? more»

The End of the (IPv4) World is Nigher!

Funny how some topics seem sit on a quiet back burner for years, and then all of a sudden become matters of relatively intense attention. Over the past few weeks we've seen a number of pronouncements on the imminent exhaustion of the IP version 4 address pools. Not only have some of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and some national registry bodies made public statements on the topic, we've now seen ICANN also make its pronouncement on this topic... Why the sudden uptake of interest in this topic? I suspect that a small part of this may be my fault! more»

Discussion at the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva

While travelling home from Geneva, I was thinking quite a lot on the relationship between a ccTLD (registry) and a Country. This is because many countries are starting to talk louder and louder about the responsibilities Countries have on critical infrastructure, or (possibly more important) the management of the critical infrastructure. Will for example any (none?) of ccTLD operators (servers) sustain a denial of service attack of a scale similar to the attack on the root servers? What can ccTLD operators do to resist the malicious attacks? Should this be discussed? more»

Geographic Implications of DNS Infrastructure Distribution

The past several years have seen significant efforts to keep local Internet communications local in places far from the well-connected core of the Internet. Although considerable work remains to be done, Internet traffic now stays local in many places where it once would have traveled to other continents, lowering costs while improving performance and reliability. Data sent directly between users in those areas no longer leaves the region. Applications and services have become more localized as well, not only lowering costs but keeping those services available at times when the region's connectivity to the outside world has been disrupted... The recently published paper, "Geographic Implications of DNS Infrastructure Distribution" focuses on the distribution of DNS infrastructure. more»

Why I Voted for .XXX

The ICANN Board voted today 9-5, with Paul Twomey abstaining, to reject a proposal to open .xxx. This is my statement in connection with that vote. I found the resolution adopted by the Board (rejecting xxx) both weak and unprincipled... I am troubled by the path the Board has followed on this issue since I joined the Board in December of 2005. I would like to make two points. First, ICANN only creates problems for itself when it acts in an ad hoc fashion in response to political pressures. Second, ICANN should take itself seriously as a private governance institution with a limited mandate and should resist efforts by governments to veto what it does. more»

Are We Slowly Losing Control of the Internet?

I have long been intrigued by the question of how do we turn the internet into a lifeline grade infrastructure... My hope that this will occur soon or even within decades is diminishing. Most of us observe, almost daily, how even well established infrastructures tend to crumble when stressed, even slightly... I was at the O'Reilly Etel conference last week. The content was impressive and the people there were frequently the primary actors in the creation and deployment of VOIP. However, not once during the three days did I hear a serious discussion by a speaker or in the hallways about how this evolving system would be managed, monitored, diagnosed, or repaired. more»

Addressing the Future Internet

What economic and social factors are shaping our future needs and expectations for communications systems? This question was the theme of a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and Organisation for Economic Co Operation and Development (OECD) workshop, held on the 31st January of this year. The approach taken for this workshop was to assemble a group of technologists, economists, industry, regulatory and political actors and ask each of them to consider a small set of specific questions related to a future Internet. Thankfully, this exercise was not just another search for the next "Killer App", nor a design exercise for IP version 7. It was a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the sins of omission in today's Internet and ask why, and reflect on some of the unintended consequences of the Internet and ask if they were truly unavoidable consequences... more»