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[ NNSquad ] Re: Wired: "Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?"
This is an important point -- you don't know what's significant as it's happening. History is about interpreting the past not just a verbatim transcript. This is a central theme of my talk at http://rmf.vc/?n=IAC (Introduction to Ambient Connectivity) in which I look at the history of the Internet from three very different perspectives. While it's interesting that train gauges go back to the spacing of chariot wheels it doesn't mean that it's the optimal gauge. I too am fascinated by the design decisions along the path to what we call "The Internet" today. Many of them were driven by engineering considerations given the resources constraints of the 1970's. For example that's why we have a 32 bit address. Other good ideas like the stable addresses in XNS were put aside because of implementation issues of the time. Some, like the MAC address turned out to be overly limited now that we have a better understanding of GUIDs. We should ask how we let the Internet get captured by those who want to put more features it the network when packet radio and Ethernets didn't have such capabilities. We also need to understand why SS7 whose designed was based on the presumption of scarcity (and thus the need to preallocate resources) lost out to IP. Learning from history means digesting experience. For me the most important property of the Internet has been the ability to focus on our applications rather than the path. Networking as a service is just the opposite -- it forces us to think about the path as the gating factor. This is the most important lesson of history and the one that seems to get the least recognition. Given all we've learned from history and a chance to reinvent connectivity how would we do it today? Reduced to its essence we need to exchange bits between two points. The rest is indeed an exercise for the users. At the moment that discussion seems idealistic because it seems that it's all about negotiating past carriers from the past. But that isn't the case at all. We have lots of networking outside the carrier realm and we can also aggregate purchasing for dark fiber or simply effective bargaining for shared capacity. This is very important because I argue that such approaches allow for arbitraging existing telecom pricing and can offer sufficient counterweight to challenge in the model. In fact isn't that what gave Google the ability to challenge Verizon? At least for landlines. Oddly wireless is more locked down though I'm disappointed that Google hasn't taken to doing FON one better by offering open access points and creating an alternative to cellular? All-the-more reason to learn from history and not repeat it. -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Lauren Weinstein Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 14:10 To: email@example.com Subject: [ NNSquad ] Wired: "Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?" Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic? http://bit.ly/bFsVRZ (Wired) I remember some of these discussions, and one thing is pretty clear. None of us -- as far as I know anyway -- really anticipated that effective competition for Internet access services would continue to be so limited and manipulated by the dominant carriers in the manner that has now transpired in the U.S. The point being, history is extremely important in understanding how we got to where we are. It is of far less value in creating forward-looking technology-related policies. So to the extent that there's interest in the opinions of we old-timers to deal with issues *today*, our views related to these issues in the context of the Internet *today* are far more relevant than what they were in the context of the Internet of years ago. --Lauren-- NNSquad Moderator