Review on “Architectural Principles of the Internet”

This is a review on the memorandum (known as Request for Comments)  entitled “Architectural Principles of the Internet” written by the International Engineering Task Force (IETF).  Basic facts, policies, and issues about the Internet was pointed out in the memorandum. 

The internet as we know it, was not created with a great plan. Instead, it evolved depending on the trends of technology. I agree with the statement in the paper that change really is the only thing that is permanent. (If I will relate this to the evolution of man) Although there are a lot of environmental changes happened and several new strains of viruses came out, human still survives. Likewise, technology changes through time depending on the current needs of the society but still the Internet survives and is continuing to provide service mankind.

Going back to the more technical side of the memorandum, it pointed out several things regarding the Internet architecture. Although it is said that the Internet has no architecture, it has a set of traditions. These traditions are aiming at a specific goal. That is to connect, using the Internet Protocol with the end-to-end intelligence rather than hidden in the network itself. It also points out that although there is one layer of protocol (that is the Internet protocol), several networks implements more than one. The need for having a multilayer protocol is due to inevitable facts that there will be new requirements needed in the network, thus needing another protocol for that. Additionally there is a need for transitioning from another version of IP to another, mainly for the purpose of data transmission.

Since there is no centralized body that owns or manages the Internet, it is therefore necessary to check whether we can still support the main objective (communication) of the Internet itself. Several basic principles should be implemented, despite of the changing technology and needs. One of the goals of the Internet is to support several types of network architectures. Therefore the internet must not depend on the individual specification of the hardwares. It is also reiterated that end-to-end functions should be catered by end-to-end protocols. This is because these functions are subject to failure of transmission and security. It is also mentioned by Saltzer that these functions should be completely implemented only on the end-to-end communicating processes, and is not possible through the communicating system.

The paper list down all the design rules of the Internet. Since there is no body that administrates the Internet, it is a good thing that there are several policies that are published in the form of memoranda. This is to  answer the previous issue that Clark also mentioned in his paper [2]. This memorandum presents several design issues that a user, or a network administrator should know to be able to work together as the Internet. It also points out  practicality and efficiency in terms of solving a network related problem. For instance,  if  there exist several solutions to problems, a user or a network administrator should use one of these solutions and not wait for a perfect one. It also mentions about security which, I think is a very much important aspect nowadays because (1) of the growing number of hosts in the internet and (2) the lack of security mechanisms that are available on the network itself (based from papers [2] [3] which do not give much emphasis on the issue of data security).



[1] Fred Baker, Noel Chiappa, Donald Eastlake, Frank Kastenholz, Neal McBurnett, Masataka Ohta, Jeff Schiller and Lansing Sloan, International Engineering Task Force (IETF), Request For Comments 1958, 1996

[2] D. Clark. 1988. The design philosophy of the DARPA internet protocols. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 18, 4 (August 1988), 106-114. DOI=10.1145/52325.52336

[3] Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Icahn. 2005. A protocol for packet network intercommunication.SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 35, 2 (April 2005), 71-82. DOI=10.1145/1064413.1064423


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