History of the Internet Part 7

By Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba

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The Internet Takes Off Continued…

.. where charges are made they are a fixed price based on the size of the access pipe. It is possible that the continuous transmission requirements of sound and video will require different charging because you are not getting statistical sharing during continuous broadcasting. In the case of multicasting, one packet is multiplied many times.

Things like this weren’t contemplated when the flat-rate charging algorithms were developed, so the service providers Internet history timelinemay have to reexamine their charging policies.

Concurrent with the exponential explosion in Internet use has come the recognition that there is a real community out there.

The community now needs to recognize that it exists, that it has a diversity of interests, and that it has responsibilities to those who are dependent on the continued health of the network.

The Internet Society was founded in January 1992.

With assistance from the Federal Networking Council, the Internet Society supports the IETF and IAB and educates the broad community by holding conferences and workshops, by proselytizing, and by making information available.

I had certain technical ambitions when this project started, but they were all oriented toward highly flexible, dynamic communication for military application, insensitive to differences in technology below the level of the routes.

I have been extremely pleased with the robustness of the system and its ability to adapt to new communications technology.

One of the main goals of the project was “IP on everything.” Whether it is fram relay, ATM, or ISDN, it should always be possible to bring an Internet Protocol up on top of it. We’ve always been able to get IP to run, so the Internet has satisfied my design criteria.

But I didn’t have a clue that we would end up with anything like the scale of what we have now, let alone the scale that it’s likely to reach by the end of the decade.

On Scaling

The somewhat embarrassing thing is that the network address space is under pressure now. The original design of 1973 and 1974 contemplated a total of 256 networks.

There was only one LAN at PARC, and all the other networks were regional or nationwide networks. We didn’t think there would be more that 256 research networks involved. When it became clear there would be a lot of local area networks, we invented the concept of Class A, B, and C addresses. In Class C there were several million network IDs.

But the problem that was not foreseen was that the routing protocols and Internet topology were not well suited for handling an extremely large number of network IDs. So people preferred to use Class B and subnetting instead.

We have a rather sparsely allocated address space in the current Internet design, with Class B allocated to excess and Class A and C allocated only lightly.

Internet history lessonThe lesson is that there is a complex interaction between routing protocols, topology, and scaling, and that determines what Internet routing structure will be necessary for the next ten to twenty years.

When I was chairman of the Internet Activities Board and went to the IETF and IAB to characterize the problem, it was clear that the solution had to be incrementally deployable.

You can deploy something in parallel, but then how do the new and old interwork? We are seeing proposals of varying kinds to deal with the problem.

Some kind of backward compatibility is highly desirable until you can’t assign 32-bit address space. Translating gateways have the defect that when you’re halfway through, half the community is transitioned and half isn’t, and all the traffic between the two has to go through the translating gateway and it’s hard to have enough resources to do this.

It’s still a little early to tell how well the alternatives will satisfy the..

 

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