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DNS Complexity Lessons

Recently, Bert Hubert wrote of a growing problem in the networking world: the complexity of DNS. We have two systems we all use in the Internet, DNS and BGP. Both of these systems appear to be able to handle anything we can throw at them and "keep on ticking." But how far can we drive the complexity of these systems before they ultimately fail? Bert posted a chart on the APNIC blog to illustrate the problem. more

Connectivity as a Vital Consumer Service

Having Comcast et al provide Internet connectivity is like having your barber do surgery because he knows how to use a knife. I was reminded of this when my Comcast connection failed. This is part of the larger topic of consumerization. In the past, we were happy to have products that worked at all. I grew up in the world of consumer products and got my start in software building online services meant for use by non-experts. more

Just One Bit

I'm never surprised by the ability of an IETF Working Group to obsess over what to any outside observer would appear to be a completely trivial matter. Even so, I was impressed to see a large-scale discussion emerge over a single bit in a transport protocol being standardized by the IETF. Is this an example of a severe overload of obsessive-compulsive behaviour? Or does this single bit represent a major point of design principle... more

IETF and Crypto Zealots

I've been prompted to write this brief opinion piece in response to a recent article posted on CircleID by Tony Rutkowski, where he characterises the IETF as a collection of "crypto zealots." He offers the view that the IETF is behaving irresponsibly in attempting to place as much of the Internet's protocols behind session level encryption as it possibly can. ... Has the IETF got it wrong? Is there a core of crypto zealots in the IETF that are pushing an extreme agenda about encryption? more

From Net Neutrality to Seizing Opportunity

Network neutrality is important in the context of assuring the opportunity to innovate in how we communicate and connect. We can't define it in terms of specific outcomes but rather in terms of what we enable. The Internet is just one example of what we can do when given the opportunity to use software to fashion our own solutions... I thought about this more when I found myself in my hospital room (after knee surgery) unable to open and close the shades by myself. But yet I could control the lights in my house! more

U.S. Complaint to WTO on China VPNs Is Itself Troubling

On 23 February, the U.S. Administration had the chutzpah to file a formal communication to the World Trade Organization (WTO) complaining about "measures adopted and under development by China relating to its cybersecurity law." However, it is the U.S. complaint that is most troubling. Here is why. The gist of the U.S. complaint is that China's newly promulgated directive on the use of VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypted circuits from foreign nations runs afoul of... more

The Magical Ampersand: Hope Is Not an Integration Plan

In a software-defined and virtualised world, who will integrate the complex dynamic systems, and take responsibility for the result? It is unclear if telcos have the skills, but someone else likely does... The included image caught my eye whilst I was reviewing presentations from last October's Metro Ethernet Forum gathering in Florida on behalf of a consulting client. At first glance, it's just a marketing pseudo-Venn diagram peppered with telco tech buzzword bingo. But... more

Automation for Physical Devices: the Holy Grail of Service Provisioning

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are finally starting to pick up momentum. In the process, it is becoming clear that they are not the silver bullet originally advertised to be. While great for some use cases, emerging technologies like SDN and NFV have been primarily designed for virtual greenfield environments. Yet large service providers continue to run tons of physical network devices that are still managed manually. more

Software-Defined Networking: What's New, and What's New for Tech Policy?

The Silicon Flatirons Conference on Regulating Computing and Code is taking place in Boulder. The annual conference addresses a range of issues at the intersection of technology and policy and provides an excellent look ahead to the tech policy issues on the horizon, particularly in telecommunications. I was looking forward to yesterday's panel on "The Triumph of Software and Software-Defined Networks", which had some good discussion on the ongoing problem surrounding security and privacy of the Internet of Things (IoT)... more

Nationalizing the Imaginary 5G Network?

To put it bluntly, the proposal cited in Axios story on "Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network" doesn't make sense on a number of levels. The real danger comes if this indeed represents the NSC's failure to understand Internet style connectivity. The proposal may just be the work of an NSC staffer who accepted all the 5G hype as if it were real. I credit the Axios article for having some skepticism... more

Wow, a U.S. Ministry of 5G

This seemed to be the reaction this morning worldwide to the leaked alleged PowerPoint slides detailing the White House strategic options for a U.S. national 5G infrastructure. The gist of the slides has apparently been confirmed to Reuters by unnamed "Trump security team members." The options apparently range between creating a U.S. Ministry of 5G resembling the old world of government Post, Telegraph and Telecommunication (PTT) agencies of bygone years, and sawing off the U.S. ICT infrastructures and services from the rest of the world. more

A Look Back at the World of IP Addressing in 2017: What Changed and What to Expect

There is no doubt that the Internet continues to grow. While the sales volumes of the more traditional forms of personal computers has peaked at some 430 million units per year and sales of handheld smart devices has also peaked at some 1.9 billion units per year, the world of the Internet of Things continues to spiral upward. The installed base of these "things" is now at an astonishing 8.4 billion at the end of 2017. more

Extraterritoriality

Black's Law Dictionary defines it as "the extraterritorial operation of laws; that is, their operation upon persons, rights or jural relations, existing beyond the limits of the enacting state, but still amenable to its laws. The term is used to indicate jurisdiction exercised by a nation in other countries, by treaty..." Extraterritoriality is also the most significant emerging development today in the law shaping virtual network architectures and services that includes OTT and NFV-SDN. more

The Over-Optimization Meltdown

In simple terms, Meltdown and Spectre are simple vulnerabilities to understand. Imagine a gang of thieves waiting for a stage coach carrying a month's worth of payroll. There are two roads the coach could take, and a fork, or a branch, where the driver decides which one to take. The driver could take either one. What is the solution? Station robbers along both sides of the branch, and wait to see which one the driver chooses. more

What is the Future for Mobile Network Operators?

The telecommunication industry is continuing to resist structural changes, but the reality is that if they don't transform, technology will do it for them. We have seen the fixed telecom operators slowly being pushed back into the infrastructure utility market. Mobile networks are moving in that same direction - that is, the largest part of their network will be a utility, with currently two, three or four mobile infrastructure providers per country... the industry is facing serious problems. more

News Briefs

Google Ends Domain-Fronting Feature Used by Censorship Tools

Enterprise Networks Are Being Impacted by Unwanted and Unidentified Cryptomining Activity

Iran Among Countries Affected by a Cyberattack That Left U.S. Flag on Screens

IPv6, 5G and Mesh Networks Heightening Law Enforcement Challenges, Says Australian Government

Vodafone Plans to Create the First 4G Network on the Moon, Appoints Nokia as Technology Partner

Industrial Plant Attack Generates Renewed Concerns Over Critical Infrastructure Hacking Threats

Russia Appears to Have Begun Providing an Internet Connection to North Korea

The Impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria on the Internet

Over 190 Internet Engineers, Pioneers, Technologists File Comments with FCC on Net Neutrality

Complete Internet Shutdown Reported in Syria

Mozilla, National Science Foundation Offer $2M Prize for a Decentralized Web

Cisco Introduces Intent-Based Network That Can Learn, Adapt and Mitigate Threats

5G Frequency Fees Are Waived in Singapore to Help Drive Market Tests

Trump Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order, Experts Weigh in on the New Draft

French Presidential Candidate Confirms Massive Hack, Emails Dumped Online Two Days Before Election

Seattle Restores ISP Privacy Rules. Could be First of Many Cities to Defeat FCC's Privacy Roll Back

Germany Investigating Legal Grounds to Destroy Servers Used to Carry Out Cyberattacks

Internet Heavy Weights Staying Out of Net Neutrality Battle

Fierce Political Battle Expected as FCC Chair Elaborated on Plan to Reverse 'Net Neutrality' Rules

Cuba Getting Faster YouTube Access in Next 24 Hours, Thanks to Deal Signed in December

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