Reflections on Internet Transparency
RFC 4924

Document Type RFC - Informational (July 2007; No errata)
Last updated 2015-10-14
Stream IAB
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Network Working Group                                      B. Aboba, Ed.
Request for Comment: 4924                                      E. Davies
Category: Informational                      Internet Architecture Board
                                                               July 2007

                  Reflections on 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 IETF Trust (2007).

Abstract

   This document provides a review of previous IAB statements on
   Internet transparency, as well a discussion of new transparency
   issues.  Far from having lessened in relevance, technical
   implications of intentionally or inadvertently impeding network
   transparency play a critical role in the Internet's ability to
   support innovation and global communication.  This document provides
   some specific illustrations of those potential impacts.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
   2. Additional Transparency Issues ..................................4
      2.1. Application Restriction ....................................4
      2.2. Quality of Service (QoS) ...................................6
      2.3. Application Layer Gateways (ALGs) ..........................7
      2.4. IPv6 Address Restrictions ..................................8
           2.4.1. Allocation of IPv6 Addresses by Providers ...........8
           2.4.2. IKEv2 ...............................................8
      2.5. DNS Issues .................................................9
           2.5.1. Unique Root .........................................9
           2.5.2. Namespace Mangling ..................................9
      2.6. Load Balancing and Redirection ............................10
   3. Security Considerations ........................................11
   4. References .....................................................11
      4.1. Informative References ....................................11
   Acknowledgments ...................................................13
   Appendix A - IAB Members at the Time of Approval ..................14

Aboba & Davies               Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 4924          Reflections on Internet Transparency         July 2007

1.  Introduction

   In the past, the IAB has published a number of documents relating to
   Internet transparency and the end-to-end principle, and other IETF
   documents have also touched on these issues as well.  These documents
   articulate the general principles on which the Internet architecture
   is based, as well as the core values that the Internet community
   seeks to protect going forward.  This document reaffirms those
   principles, describes the concept of "oblivious transport" as
   developed in the DARPA NewArch project [NewArch], and addresses a
   number of new transparency issues.

   A network that does not filter or transform the data that it carries
   may be said to be "transparent" or "oblivious" to the content of
   packets.  Networks that provide oblivious transport enable the
   deployment of new services without requiring changes to the core.  It
   is this flexibility that is perhaps both the Internet's most
   essential characteristic as well as one of the most important
   contributors to its success.

   "Architectural Principles of the Internet" [RFC1958], Section 2
   describes the core tenets of the Internet architecture:

      However, in very general terms, the community believes that the
      goal is connectivity, the tool is the Internet Protocol, and the
      intelligence is end to end rather than hidden in the network.

      The current exponential growth of the network seems to show that
      connectivity is its own reward, and is more valuable than any
      individual application such as mail or the World-Wide Web.  This
      connectivity requires technical cooperation between service
      providers, and flourishes in the increasingly liberal and
      competitive commercial telecommunications environment.

   "The Rise of the Middle and the Future of End-to-End:  Reflections on
   the Evolution of the Internet Architecture" [RFC3724], Section 4.1.1
   describes some of the desirable consequences of this approach:

      One desirable consequence of the end-to-end principle is
      protection of innovation.  Requiring modification in the network
      in order to deploy new services is still typically more difficult
      than modifying end nodes.  The counterargument - that many end
      nodes are now essentially closed boxes which are not updatable and
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