History of the Internet Part 8
By Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba
Courtesy of: Webmaster Course .Com
On Scaling Continued…
.. requirements. We are also dealing not only with the scaling problem, but also with the need not to foreclose important new features, such as concepts of flows, the ability to handle multi-casting, and concepts of accounting.
I think that as a community we sense varying degrees of pressure for a workable set of solutions. The people who will be most instrumental in this transition will be the vendors of routing equipment and host software, and the offerers of Internet services.
It’s the people who offer Internet services who have the greatest stake in assuring that Internet operation continues without loss of connectivity, since the value of their service is a function of how many places you can communicate with.
The deploy-ability of alternative solutions will determine which is the most attractive. So the transition process is very important.
On Use by Other Networks
The Domain Name System (DNS) has been a key to the scaling of the Internet, allowing it to include non Internet email systems and solving the problem of name-to-address mapping in a smooth scalable way.
Paul Mockapetris deserves enormous credit for the elegant design of the DNS by creating the first network cards, on which we are still very dependent. Its primary goal was to solve the problems with the host.txt files and to get rid of centralized management. Support for Mail eXchange (MX) was added after the fact, in a second phase.
Once you get a sufficient degree of connectivity, it becomes more advantageous to link to this highly connected thing and tunnel it rather than to build a system in parallel. So BITNET, FidoNet, AppleTalk, SNA, Novell IPX, and DECNet tunneling are a consequence of the enormous connectivity of the Internet.
The Internet has become a test bed for development of other protocols. Since there was no lower level OSI infrastructure available, Marshall Rose proposed that the Internet could be used to try out X.400 and X.500. In RFC 1006, he proposed that we emulate TPO on top of TCP, and so there was a conscious decision to help higher level OSI protocols to be deployed in live environments before the lower level protocols were available.
It seems likely that the Internet will continue to be the environment of choice for the deployment of new protocols and for the linking of diverse systems in the academic, government, and business sectors for the remainder of this decade and well into the next.
© 1993 Vinton Cerf – All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for noncommercial purposes.
*** End History of the Internet ***