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Versions: 00 01 02                                                      
SIPPING Working Group                                        A. Johnston
Internet-Draft                                                SIPStation
Expires: September 6, 2006                                  H. Sinnreich
                                                              pulver.com
                                                           March 5, 2006


                 SIP, P2P, and Internet Communications
                  draft-johnston-sipping-p2p-ipcom-02

Status of this Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on September 6, 2006.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).

Abstract

   This draft discusses issues related to the application of peer to
   peer (P2P) technologies to SIP in particular, and Internet
   communications in general.  After an analysis of the P2P and non-P2P
   capabilities of SIP, this draft proposes that a P2P protocol be
   standardized in the IETF as a protocol used between a Registrar/
   Proxy/Redirect server and a Location Service.  This allows the
   operator of a Registrar to decide how much registration state is be



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   stored locally and how much can be distributed using the P2P network
   to a distributed Location Server.  A number of DHT (Distributed Hash
   Table) P2P protocols that solve some similar functions are given as
   examples and could be used as input to this work.  Finally, existing
   SIP and P2P work is surveyed with respect to this proposal.


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  P2P Capabilities in SIP  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   3.  Making SIP a True P2P Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   4.  Operation of a Location Service Protocol . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   5.  Location Service Protocol as a P2P Protocol  . . . . . . . . .  8
   6.  NAT Traversal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   7.  P2P Implementation using Distributed Hash Tables . . . . . . .  9
   8.  SIP P2P Implementations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   9.  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   10. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   11. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   12. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 15




























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1.  Introduction

   P2P technologies have been widely used on the Internet in file
   sharing and other applications including VoIP, IM, and presence.
   Other Internet-Drafts have been written which explore some of the
   requirements [4] and example implementations [3] of P2P SIP.

   This draft attempts to analyze the current P2P capabilities in SIP,
   then discusses the non-P2P aspects of SIP.  The high level operation
   of the proposed Location Service Protocol is outline.  Some P2P
   research work using the Chord protocol is then surveyed.  Finally,
   existing SIP and P2P work is compared to this proposal.


2.  P2P Capabilities in SIP

   SIP [1] actually already has quite a lot of inherent P2P
   capabilities, although most deployments of SIP today barely take
   advantage of them.  For instance, all servers in SIP are optional,
   allowing User Agents (UAs) to directly communicate.  Even when a
   server such as a proxy server is utilized, after the initial
   exchange, subsequent messaging is routed on a peer to peer basis
   using the Contact URI.  Even presence can be published and retrieved
   in a peer to peer manner [2].  However, much development in SIP has
   been in the area of intermediaries.  While the standard specification
   discusses in detail the roles of registrars, proxy servers, and
   redirect servers, many actual deployments of SIP have instead used
   B2BUA intermediaries which completely break the P2P properties of SIP
   by design.

   Efforts in SIP to make Contact URIs routable outside dialogs seemed
   to be moving SIP in a P2P direction.  However, the current work in
   this area (i.e. standardizing GRUUs, Globally Routable User Agent
   URIs [12]) unfortunately mixes the definition of the GRUU and a
   particular acquisition mechanism.  The proposed mechanism actually
   permanently includes intermediaries in the signaling path.  As such,
   the currently defined GRUU mechanism is not applicable to P2P SIP.
   Hopefully alternative GRUU mechanisms compatible with P2P will be
   developed in the future as the full implications of the current
   approach are realized.

   As a result, SIP is not yet a true Internet protocol.  It is used
   today in closed networks, within walled gardens, and in mediated-
   middle networks.  Much of its complexity is a side effect of its
   deployment in these environments.  Some of us, however, have used SIP
   in P2P mode over the Internet for our personal communication for
   years.




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   For SIP to truly become an Internet protocol, it needs to escape
   these closed networks and spread in the public Internet.  The best
   way to make this happen is for SIP to take advantage of P2P
   technology and truly harness the P2P properties of SIP, rendering the
   closed networks and their intermediaries irrelevant.


3.  Making SIP a True P2P Protocol

   As hinted in the previous section, there are a variety of non-
   technical reasons why the P2P capabilities in SIP have not been
   widely utilized.  In this section, some technical reasons why SIP is
   currently not truly P2P are discussed.  This leads to a proposal to
   correct this.

   Consider the typical routing of a SIP request over the SIP Trapezoid
   introduced in RFC 3261 [1] is reproduced in part in Figure 1 below.

                        atlanta.com  . . . biloxi.com
                    .      proxy              proxy     .
                  .                                       .
          Alice    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    Bob
     sip:alice@atlanta.com                            sip:bob@biloxi.com
            |                |                |                |
            |    REQUEST F1  |                |                |
            |--------------->|    REQUEST F2  |                |
            |                |--------------->|    REQUEST F3  |
            |                |                |--------------->|

   Figure 1. SIP Request Routing with the Trapezoid

   An analysis of why this typical interdomain request flow involves
   multiple proxies provides some useful insights into how SIP can
   operate in a more P2P manner.

   Alice wants to send a SIP request to Bob using Bob's Address of
   Record (AOR) sip:bob@biloxi.com.  The request is shown as first
   routing through the atlanta.com proxy server before being routed to
   the biloxi.com proxy server.  As such, atlanta.com is acting as a
   "outbound proxy" server.  The use of a default outbound proxy server
   could be required if the UA, for example, does not support the DNS
   queries necessary to locate the biloxi.com domain.  Another reason
   might be that the outbound proxy server is performing some NAT/
   firewall traversal or other services needed to allow Alice to
   communicate with the outside world.

   Today, all UAs support DNS queries including SRV, so the DNS argument
   is no longer valid - Alice is perfectly capable of locating the



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   biloxi.com server without assistance from the atlanta.com server.  In
   addition, since the publication of RFC 3261, we have other NAT
   traversal techniques such as STUN, TURN, and ICE.  As such, it is
   possible to remove the atlanta.com proxy server from this call flow,
   collapsing the trapezoid to a triangle.

   However, the biloxi.com proxy server is not so easy to eliminate.
   The NAT/firewall traversal services provided can likely be migrated
   to STUN and TURN as in the outbound proxy case.  However, the proxy
   server can only be bypassed if Alice can discover Bob's Contact URI
   (sip:bob@192.0.2.4 in this example) which routes directly to Bob's
   UA.  UAs publish this AOR/Contact URI binding using registration,
   which is then maintained in the network as soft state.

   Note that a domain can create AORs which utilized non-SIP methods to
   maintain this soft state.  For example, if Bob uses an AOR URI which
   has a host part which resolves using dynamic DNS, then registrar and
   proxy servers can be removed from the call flow.  This requires Bob's
   SIP devices to run a dynamic DNS client which sends a message to the
   dynamic DNS Server to update Bob's DNS A record each time Bob's IP
   address changes.  In this mode, Bob no longer sends REGISTERs - the
   dynamic DNS updates take the place of registrations.  (Note that in
   this context, dynamic DNS is not DNS Dynamic Updates [5],[6].  For
   information on dynamic DNS in this context, Google "dynamic DNS").

   This dynamic DNS approach works, and has been used by a number of us
   for many years to successfully run P2P SIP.  Note, however, that many
   SIP clients require a successful registration before permitting
   outgoing requests, even though this goes explicitly against RFC 3261
   which makes it clear that a successful registration has no impact on
   outgoing requests.  Note also that this approach is actually not P2P,
   as there is still a client/server dynamic DNS protocol being used.

   Assuming that dynamic DNS is not used, let us examine closely the
   reasons why the biloxi.com proxy must remain in this call flow.
   Bob's UA generates registration messages which contain all the
   information needed to perform P2P SIP routing directly to Bob's UA.
   This registration information is sent by Bob to the registrar for the
   biloxi.com domain.  The information is then stored in the Location
   Service for the biloxi.com domain.

   RFC 3261 formally defines a Location Service as:

            A location service is used by a SIP redirect or
            proxy server to obtain information about a callee's possible
            location(s).  It contains a list of bindings of address-of-
            record keys to zero or more contact addresses.  The bindings
            can be created and removed in many ways; this specification



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            defines a REGISTER method that updates the bindings.

   This information is then generally only available to proxy servers in
   the biloxi.com domain.  Also, note that the protocol between a
   registrar and a Location Service or a proxy and a Location Service
   has never been standardized in the IETF.  It is the one protocol in
   the SIP Trapezoid which is not standardized, and it is this lack of
   standardization that traps the registration data in the biloxi.com
   domain and precludes true P2P SIP.

   In giving SIP tutorials, I am often asked why this protocol has not
   been standardized.  There are a number of reasons given in the past:

   1.  There has been no push to standardize this protocol, and the SIP
   Trapezoid model does not require it to be standardized.

   2.  The IETF typically does not standardize decomposition protocols
   such as these, although there are notable exceptions such as MEGACO.

   3.  In addition to the AOR/Contact URI binding, the Location Service
   is often used to store service logic.  Since the IETF does not
   standardize services, a standard protocol to access a Location
   Service would be difficult to define without also standardizing (and
   hence limiting) the services.

   However, I believe that given the desire to make SIP more P2P, these
   reasons no longer apply.  Specifically:

   1.  Standardizing a Location Service Protocol would allow the
   biloxi.com proxy server to be bypassed, allowing true interdomain P2P
   communication between Alice and Bob, a goal shared by many of us in
   the SIP community for a variety of scalability, privacy, and security
   reasons.

   2.  While this protocol could be used to decompose a SIP Server farm
   (and this is a very useful thing) within a domain, its use in an
   interdomain P2P network makes it an Internet protocol and hence of
   interest to the IETF.

   3.  In the pure P2P model, services are exclusively provided by
   endpoints, not intermediary servers, reducing the requirements of his
   protocol to purely AOR/Contact URI binding.  The analysis in [4]
   confirms this view and suggests that even standard telephony services
   can be provided by peers without resorting to centralized servers.

   As such, the IETF should standardize this protocol to enable true P2P
   SIP.




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   As an aside, the IETF has developed TRIP (Telephony Routing over IP)
   [7] which is an inter-Location Service protocol used to discover PSTN
   gateway routes.  It is possible that TRIP could be extended beyond
   telephony routing to allow Location Servers to exchange AOR/Contact
   URI bindings.  However, it is fundamentally a routing protocol rather
   than a URI discovery mechanism and as such not suitable for this
   application.


4.  Operation of a Location Service Protocol

   The new Location Service Protocol (LSP) (Editor's Note: we definitely
   need a better name so as to be clear that this protocol has nothing
   to do with GEOPRIV) would be used between a Registrar, Proxy, or
   Redirect Server and a Location Service.  Other Internet Communication
   Protocols could also utilize this protocol.  For example, in a H.323
   network, the protocol could be used between a RAS Server and its
   database.

   The basic functions are publication of AOR/Contact URI binding, and
   the querying of AOR/Contact URI binding.  Publication would be
   performed by suitably authorized registrars for a domain, while
   querying could be performed by proxy servers, redirect servers, or
   even UAs in other domains.

   In a conventional SIP network, only the SIP servers would need to
   support this new protocol - UAs would not need to support a new
   protocol to take advantage.  SIP Servers performing lookups using the
   Location Service Protocol would redirect the results of the query.

   A Registrar of a domain can decide if it wants to operate a local
   Location Service.  If so, the protocol can be utilized to store and
   retrieve the information in the local Location Service.  Request
   routing within the domain could consult this local Location Service
   for routing.  DNS SRV records would be populated to point to the
   Proxy Servers which would query the local Location Service using the
   protocol.  In short, normal SIP operation.

   In addition, or instead of a local Location Service, the Registrar
   may opt to publish registration data in a public Location Service.
   The protocol could then be used by users in other domains to query
   the public Location Service, discover the Contact URI of a particular
   user, and route SIP requests directly, bypassing the domain's Proxy
   Servers.

   The reasons why a domain might decide to only publish registration
   information to the public Location Service are obvious - the domain
   no longer needs to store this state and maintain SIP Proxy or



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   Redirect Servers for incoming requests.

   The reasons why a domain might decide to publish this information
   both locally and publicly are similar.  If the information is
   published locally then the domain still has to run SIP Proxy and
   Redirect Servers - however, the more users that utilize the public
   Location Service, the lighter the load on the SIP Servers, reducing
   cost and complexity for the domain.

   In this hybrid mode, users have the choice of either performing a DNS
   query and routing though a SIP Server or using the Location Service
   Protocol

   The most interesting scenario from a P2P perspective is when the
   Registrar decides to keep no registration state.  In this case, the
   Registrar would simply statelessly translate a REGISTER request into
   the corresponding Location Service Protocol message and publish this
   information into the public Location Service P2P network.

   Note that if a UA acts as its own Registrar, it can utilize the
   Location Service Protocol to publish its information directly into
   the public Location Service.  This mode is the "pure" P2P operation.
   In this way, the Location Service Protocol does not replace DNS or
   provide conflicting information, as only the registrar authoritative
   for the domain would publish information.  Once a request is sent,
   normal SIP identity and security mechanisms can be used to verify
   that the correct destination has been reached.


5.  Location Service Protocol as a P2P Protocol

   This proposed Location Service Protocol would not necessarily need to
   be a P2P protocol.  None of the arguments in the previous sections
   requires the protocol to be P2P.

   In the case where the protocol is used within a single domain, the
   protocol need not be P2P. However, the more interesting case where
   the protocol is used to establish a distributed public Location
   Service, or a confederation or clearing house Location Service, the
   scaling requirements point to a P2P protocol.  The need for nodes to
   join and leave, and for distributed storage and retrieval points to a
   P2P protocol.

   The protocol should allow a joining peer to learn the scaling size of
   the P2P network and provide a mechanism to insert itself into the
   overlay network.





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6.  NAT Traversal

   In some P2P Internet communications networks, the discovery,
   rendezvous, and NAT traversal functions are combined into a single
   network and service.  In fact, joining some networks require you to
   agree to provide all of these functions, despite the disparate
   resource requirements.

   Logically, the Location Service Protocol proposed in this draft
   should be separate from any NAT traversal functions.  A node agreeing
   to participate in a distributed Location Service network should not
   have to agree to participate in offering NAT traversal.  Also, the
   underlying P2P protocols, optimized for discovery and rendezvous,
   should not be complicated and burdened with NAT traversal issues.
   Instead, these protocols should assume that peers manage their own
   NAT traversal.

   The discovery of NAT traversal relay services is a useful P2P
   functionality in itself, however, and is an orthogonal topic.  Once a
   node behind a NAT acquires a relay, it may then participate in the
   distributed Location Service P2P network.

   Note: The NAT traversal required is not identical to TURN [17] as it
   is defined today.  The "lock down" property of TURN that limits it to
   relaying between a pair of hosts is a useful security property in a
   peer-wise media session.  However, this property will block the
   arbitrary inter-node communication needed for normal P2P
   communication.  As such, a relay acquired for the purposes of
   allowing a node behind a NAT to participate in a P2P network, for
   example, will be similar, but not exactly the same as a TURN server.


7.  P2P Implementation using Distributed Hash Tables

   Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs) are an active research area in the P2P
   community that is highly scalable and offers efficient, low latency
   search and retrieval of data over an overlay network.  These
   algorithms use a hash function to map a search key to a set of node
   numbers.  Data related to that particular search key are then stored
   and retrieved from this set of nodes.

   The search key in the distributed Location Service Protocol would be
   an Address of Record URI.  This URI is effectively a name, and would
   require resolution to a particular device (URL) or Contact performed
   in real time.

   As an example set of functions provided by the P2P protocol is:




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   o Lookup of a key.  Returns a set of addresses of peer nodes that
   store information about the key.

   o Retrieval of the data from a key node or nodes.

   o Publishing data to key node or nodes.

   Chord [9] is an example of a distributed hash lookup primitive.
   There is an active open source research project
   (http://www.pdos.lcs.mit.edu/chord/) which provides the first of
   these functions using Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs).  With the
   addition of the other two functions, complete P2P systems can be
   constructed.

   As another example, the CFS (Cooperative File System) [10] is a read-
   only file system built on top of Chord that utilizes P2P techniques
   to request the retrieval of data.  CFS utilizes load balancing
   techniques to break stored data into chunks and randomly distribute
   them across a number of nodes.  Chord is used to maintain routing
   tables identifying which node stores which blocks.  The second and
   third functions are provided by DHash which stores the data reliably
   in a number of nodes.  CFS layers on top a file system that puts the
   retrieved blocks together as a complete data file.  In another
   example, DDNS [13] is a Chord-based approach for providing DNS
   lookups.

   Besides DHTs, there are other classes of P2P algorithms including CAN
   (Content Addressable Network) [14], Pastry [15], and Tapestry [16],
   The problem statement for each of these algorithms bears a striking
   similarity to the P2P discovery and rendezvous capability that would
   be useful in a SIP P2P network.

   This body of work should be taken as an input to any IETF Location
   Service Protocol standardization effort.


8.  SIP P2P Implementations

   Some preliminary work [3], [8] has been published on the use of SIP
   and Chord.  However, these SIP approaches propose utilizing SIP as a
   transport, with all P2P messages tunneled over SIP.  These
   implementations are good demonstrations of the use of DHT algorithms
   and the use of P2P and SIP, but are not a good starting point for the
   design of the Location Service Protocol.

   Specifically, the approach of tunneling P2P messages over a SIP
   REGISTER request has the following issues:




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   - It is SIP specific.  A distributed Location Service Protocol would
   be of use to more protocols than just SIP, and requiring non-SIP
   protocols to implement the REGISTER method is not likely to be
   acceptable.

   - It is not a logical extension of the REGISTER method.  REGISTER is
   only used in SIP between a UA and a Registrar Server.  Redirection of
   REGISTER requests is uncommon, and likely to be interpreted as an
   attempt at registration hijacking.  To interoperate with non-P2P SIP
   networks, this would require a Registrar Server to initiate REGISTER
   requests on behalf of a UA - undesirable for a number of
   architectural and security reasons.

   - SIP transport has a high overhead and transactional state cost.
   For large P2P networks, this is likely to translate into long search
   delays and overloading of the query network.


9.  Conclusion

   This draft has discussed the P2P capabilities of SIP and identified
   P2P limitations in current SIP usage.  An analysis of SIP message
   routing over the SIP Trapezoid was used to motivate the proposal to
   standardize a protocol to implement a distributed Location Service.
   The NAT traversal requirements of this protocol were briefly
   discussed.  Finally, the draft included a brief discussion of the
   applicability of some SIP P2P approaches and this proposal.


10.  Acknowledgements

   I'd like to thank the members of the SIP community for their
   conversations about P2P SIP including Henry Sinnreich, Henning
   Schulzrinne, Robert Sparks, Cullen Jennings, Jon Peterson, Adam
   Roach, Adrian Georgescu, David Bryan, and Philip Matthews.  In
   addition, thanks to the Chord developers especially Emil Sit for
   their feedback.


11.  Security Considerations

   SIP utilization of P2P discovery and rendezvous techniques will
   introduce a number of new security, identity, and privacy
   considerations that will need to be solved.  As a starting point,
   general P2P security papers such as [18] should be studied, then
   considerations specific to the Internet communications application
   should be applied.




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12.  Informative References

   [1]   Rosenberg, J., Schulzrinne, H., Camarillo, G., Johnston, A.,
         Peterson, J., Sparks, R., Handley, M., and E. Schooler, "SIP:
         Session Initiation Protocol", RFC 3261, June 2002.

   [2]   Roach, A., "Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-Specific Event
         Notification", RFC 3265, June 2002.

   [3]   Bryan, D. and C. Jennings, "A P2P Approach to SIP Registration
         and Resource Location", draft-bryan-sipping-p2p-01 (work in
         progress), July 2005.

   [4]   Matthews, P., "Industrial-Strength P2P SIP",
         draft-matthews-sipping-p2p-industrial-strength-00 (work in
         progress), February 2005.

   [5]   Vixie, P., Thomson, S., Rekhter, Y., and J. Bound, "Dynamic
         Updates in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE)", RFC 2136,
         April 1997.

   [6]   Wellington, B., "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Dynamic
         Update", RFC 3007, November 2000.

   [7]   Rosenberg, J., Salama, H., and M. Squire, "Telephony Routing
         over IP (TRIP)", RFC 3219, January 2002.

   [8]   Singh, K. and H. Schulzrinne, "Peer-to-peer Internet Telephony
         using SIP", Columbia University Technical Report CUCS-044-04,
         New York, NY October 2004.

   [9]   Stoica, I., Morris, R., Karger, D., Kaashoek, M., and H.
         Balakrishnan, "Chord: A Scalable Peer-to-peer Lookup Service
         for Internet Applications", ACM SIGCOMM 2001, San Diego,
         CA August 2001, pp. 149-160.

   [10]  Dabek, F., Kaashoek, M., Karger, D., Morris, R., and I. Stoica,
         "Wide-area Cooperative Storage with CFS", Proceedings of the
         18th SOSP 2001.

   [11]  Dabek, F., Kaashoek, M., Li, J., Morris, R., Robertson, J., and
         E. Sit, "Designing a DHT for Low Latency and High Throughput",
         NSDI 2004 March 2004.

   [12]  Rosenberg, J., "Obtaining and Using Globally Routable User
         Agent (UA) URIs (GRUU) in the  Session Initiation Protocol
         (SIP)", draft-ietf-sip-gruu-06 (work in progress),
         October 2005.



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   [13]  Cox, R., Muthitacharoen, A., and R. Morris, "Serving DNS using
         a Peer-to-Peer Lookup Service", First International Workshop on
         Peer-to-Peer Systems  (Cambridge, MA, Mar. 2002).

   [14]  Ratmasamy, S., Francis, P., Handley, M., Karp, R., and S.
         Shenker, "A scalable content-addressable network", Proc. ACM
         SIGCOMM, San Diego, CA August 2001, pp. 161-172.

   [15]  Rowstron, A. and P. Druschel, "Pastry: Scalable, distributed
         object location and routing for large-scale peer-to-peer
         systems", Proceedings of the 18th IFIP/ACM International
         Conference on Distributed Systems Platforms (Middleware
         2001) (Nov. 2001), pp. 329-350.

   [16]  Zhao, B., Kubiatowicz, J., and A. Joseph, "Tapestry: An
         infrastructure for fault-tolerant wide-area location and
         routing",  Tech. Rep. UCB/CSD-01-1141, Computer Science
         Division, U. C. Berkeley April 2001.

   [17]  Rosenberg, J., "Traversal Using Relay NAT (TURN)",
         draft-rosenberg-midcom-turn-08 (work in progress),
         September 2005.

   [18]  Sit, E. and J. Robertson, "Security Considerations for Peer-to-
         Peer Distributed Hash Tables", First International Workshop on
         Peer-to-Peer Systems (IPTPS 02) March 2002; Cambridge, MA.

























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Authors' Addresses

   Alan Johnston
   SIPStation
   St. Louis, MO  63124

   Email: alan@sipstation.com


   Henry Sinnreich
   pulver.com
   115 Broadhollow Rd
   Suite 225
   Melville, NY  11747

   Email: henry@pulver.com



































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