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How to Stop Spam

I got a letter the other day from AOL postmaster Carl Hutzler, about how the Internet community could get rid of spam, if it really wanted to. With his permission, here are some excerpts. "Spam is a completely solvable problem. And it does not take finding every Richter, Jaynes, Bridger, etc to do it (although it certainly is part of the solution). In fact it does not take email identity technologies either (although these are certainly needed and part of the solution)." more

Why I Am Participating in the ORSN Project

As a long time supporter of the universal namespace operated by IANA, it may come as a surprise that I have joined the Open Root Server Network project (ORSN). I'll try to explain what's going on and what it all means. ...If one of my kids, or anybody anywhere, sits down in front of a web browser and keys in a URL, it ought to just work. They ought to see the same web page that anybody else would see, no matter what country they're in or what their ISP wants or what their local church or government wants. This universality of naming is one of the foundations on which the Internet was built, and it is how the Internet fosters economic growth and social freedoms. It's what makes the Internet different from old Compuserve, old AOL, old MSN, old Minitel, and everything else that has come -- and gone -- before... more

DPI is Not a Four-Letter Word!

As founder and CTO of Ellacoya Networks, a pioneer in Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), and now having spent the last year at Arbor Networks, a pioneer in network-based security, I have witnessed first hand the evolution of DPI. It has evolved from a niche traffic management technology to an integrated service delivery platform. Once relegated to the dark corners of the central office, DPI has become the network element that enables subscriber opt-in for new services, transparency of traffic usage and quotas, fairness during peak busy hours and protection from denial of service attacks, all the while protecting and maintaining the privacy of broadband users. Yet, DPI still gets a bad rap... more

IPv6: Extinction, Evolution or Revolution?

For some years now the general uptake of IPv6 has appeared to be "just around the corner". Yet the Internet industry has so far failed to pick up and run with this message, and it continues to be strongly reluctant to make any substantial widespread commitment to deploy IPv6. Some carriers are now making some initial moves in terms of migrating their internet infrastructure over to a dual protocol network, but for many others it's a case of still watching and waiting for what they think is the optimum time to make a move. So when should we be deploying IPv6 services? At what point will the business case for IPv6 have a positive bottom line? It's a tough question to answer, and while advice of "sometime, probably sooner than later" is certainly not wrong, it's also entirely unhelpful as well! more

Jakarta Declaration Calls on Governments to Recognize Legitimacy of Encryption

Today in Indonesia, media leaders gathered at UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event issued the "Jakarta Declaration" calling on governments of the world to recognize the importance of a free and independent media in creating "peaceful, just and inclusive societies". The declaration calls on governments to take steps to support the freedom of the press, and, in the midst of the many actions was this statement: Recognise the legitimacy of the use of encryption and anonymisation technologies more

Let American Telcos and Cablecos Merge - But Declare Infrastructure a Utility

While there is much discussion in the United States about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and of AT&T and DirectTV, issues such as this are generally discussed from a very narrow perspective and, we maintain, from the wrong underlying telecoms regime operating in that country - one that has stifled competition in the telecoms for nearly two decades. The same wrong parameters apply to the endless debates on net neutrality an issue that is, by the way, largely of significance to the US market alone. more

Where Is Cyberspace?

In my first CircleID post, I compared the cyberspace to a farmland, which has to be cultivated and developed. I ended by asking: Where is cyberspace? I have asked this same question from many people, many of whom are internet experts. They all said the cyberspace is in the computers, networks, or servers, or the Internet itself. I agree with these cyberspace ideas. In addition, my opinion is a bit different. more

Removing Need at RIPE

I recently attended RIPE 66 where Tore Anderson presented his suggested policy change 2013-03, "No Need -- Post-Depletion Reality Adjustment and Cleanup." In his presentation, Tore suggested that this policy proposal was primarily aimed at removing the requirement to complete the form(s) used to document need. There was a significant amount of discussion around bureaucracy, convenience, and "liking" (or not) the process of demonstrating need. Laziness has never been a compelling argument for me and this is no exception. more

Title II Will Have Little Effect on Telecom Developments in The USA

We now know what direction the FCC will take in reorganising the American telecoms market. For many years I have mentioned the rather bizarre situation in that country wherein broadband is not seen as a telecoms service but rather as an internet service, which is itself classified as providing content. Thanks to extensive lobbying from among the telcos (who also refer to themselves as ISPs) in the early days of the internet, back in the 1990s, the FCC accepted their unbelievable proposals. As a result, over the last 20 years or so the USA's telecom market has changed from being one of the most competitive among developed economies to what it is now: a market with hardly any fixed telecoms competition at all. more

The Internet: Missing the Light

Today's Internet is wonderful for solving hard problems such as connecting to Amazon to buy goods or for using Netflix. Amazon and Netflix, among others, demonstrate what is possible if you put in enough effort. Yet if we are to understand the Internet we need to look beyond those applications to the simplest application such as sending one bit of information from a light switch to a light fixture. more

IPv6 and LTE, the Not So Long Term Evolution?

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T saw wireless networks about to drown under a deluge of data. To see YouTube content uploaded form an iPhone or Slingbox rerouting a favourite television program to your smart phone gives mobile network operators the shivers. Skype over 3G in the meantime gives sleepless nights, not because of surging megabyte floods but due to nightmares of considerable voice and roaming revenues washing away. Not easy to plan and engineer "managed transitions" under those circumstances. more

A Question of DNS Protocols

One of the most prominent denial of service attacks in recent months was one that occurred in March 2013 between Cloudflare and Spamhaus... How did the attackers generate such massive volumes of attack traffic? The answer lies in the Domain Name System (DNS). The attackers asked about domain names, and the DNS system answered. Something we all do all of the time of the Internet. So how can a conventional activity of translating a domain name into an IP address be turned into a massive attack? more

Anycast, Unicast, or Both?

A long time ago in an Internet far away, nobody paid for DNS services. Not directly at least. We either ran our own servers, or got DNS service as part of our IP transit contract, or traded services with others. In ~1990 I was the operator of one of the largest name servers in existence (UUCP-GW-1.PA.DEC.COM) and I exchanged free DNS secondary service with UUNET. Two thousand zones seemed like a lot of zones back then -- little did we dream that there would some day be a billion or so DNS zones world wide. more

Paid Peering: Issues and Misunderstandings

Recently I was asked for my opinion on Google paying France Telecom (FT) to deliver traffic into FT's network, i.e. Google paying to peer with FT. I wasn't aware Google pays FT. I don't even know if it's true. But I do know this is a topic fraught with misunderstandings. Also, if there is a "problem" here, the problem is one of competition (or lack thereof) in portions of the French broadband access market. It is not a problem that can be or should be fixed by "network neutrality" regulations or legislation. more

Carriers Are Trying to Take Back Control of the Home Network

With all the focus on neutrality in the provider networks we must not lose sight of what is happening in our own homes. As with some of the efforts to make the networks work better (as measured in the providers' paternalistic) view, their attempt to retake the home is about serving us better by reducing the operators' costs. "Better" is of course in terms of the operator's own measures. It's not quite the same as in 1995 when providers opposed home networks and want to charge us for each machine... more

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