Internet Transparency
RFC 2775

Document Type RFC - Informational (February 2000; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                      B. Carpenter
Request for Comments: 2775                                          IBM
Category: Informational                                   February 2000

                         Internet Transparency

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document describes the current state of the Internet from the
   architectural viewpoint, concentrating on issues of end-to-end
   connectivity and transparency. It concludes with a summary of some
   major architectural alternatives facing the Internet network layer.

   This document was used as input to the IAB workshop on the future of
   the network layer held in July 1999. For this reason, it does not
   claim to be complete and definitive, and it refrains from making
   recommendations.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction.................................................2
   2. Aspects of end-to-end connectivity...........................3
   2.1 The end-to-end argument.....................................3
   2.2 End-to-end performance......................................4
   2.3 End-to-end address transparency.............................4
   3. Multiple causes of loss of transparency......................5
   3.1 The Intranet model..........................................6
   3.2 Dynamic address allocation..................................6
   3.2.1 SLIP and PPP..............................................6
   3.2.2 DHCP......................................................6
   3.3 Firewalls...................................................6
   3.3.1 Basic firewalls...........................................6
   3.3.2 SOCKS.....................................................7
   3.4 Private addresses...........................................7
   3.5 Network address translators.................................7
   3.6 Application level gateways, relays, proxies, and caches.....8
   3.7 Voluntary isolation and peer networks.......................8

Carpenter                    Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2775                 Internet Transparency             February 2000

   3.8 Split DNS...................................................9
   3.9 Various load-sharing tricks.................................9
   4. Summary of current status and impact.........................9
   5. Possible future directions..................................11
   5.1 Successful migration to IPv6...............................11
   5.2 Complete failure of IPv6...................................12
   5.2.1 Re-allocating the IPv4 address space.....................12
   5.2.2 Exhaustion...............................................13
   5.3 Partial deployment of IPv6.................................13
   6. Conclusion..................................................13
   7. Security Considerations.....................................13
   Acknowledgements...............................................14
   References.....................................................14
   Author's Address...............................................17
   Full Copyright Statement.......................................18

1. Introduction

      "There's a freedom about the Internet: As long as we accept the
       rules of sending packets around, we can send packets containing
       anything to anywhere." [Berners-Lee]

   The Internet is experiencing growing pains which are often referred
   to as "the end-to-end problem". This document attempts to analyse
   those growing pains by reviewing the current state of the network
   layer, especially its progressive loss of transparency. For the
   purposes of this document, "transparency" refers to the original
   Internet concept of a single universal logical addressing scheme, and
   the mechanisms by which packets may flow from source to destination
   essentially unaltered.

   The causes of this loss of transparency are partly artefacts of
   parsimonious allocation of the limited address space available to
   IPv4, and partly the result of broader issues resulting from the
   widespread use of TCP/IP technology by businesses and consumers. For
   example, network address translation is an artefact, but Intranets
   are not.

   Thus the way forward must recognise the fundamental changes in the
   usage of TCP/IP that are driving current Internet growth. In one
   scenario, a complete migration to IPv6 potentially allows the
   restoration of global address transparency, but without removing
   firewalls and proxies from the picture. At the other extreme, a total
   failure of IPv6 leads to complete fragmentation of the network layer,
   with global connectivity depending on endless patchwork.

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