What Makes For a Successful Protocol?
RFC 5218

Document Type RFC - Informational (July 2008; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IAB
Formats plain text pdf html bibtex
Stream IAB state (None)
Consensus Boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
Network Working Group                                          D. Thaler
Request for Comments: 5218                                      B. Aboba
Category: Informational                                              IAB
                                                               July 2008

                 What Makes for a Successful Protocol?

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.

Abstract

   The Internet community has specified a large number of protocols to
   date, and these protocols have achieved varying degrees of success.
   Based on case studies, this document attempts to ascertain factors
   that contribute to or hinder a protocol's success.  It is hoped that
   these observations can serve as guidance for future protocol work.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.1.  What is Success? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.2.  Success Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       1.2.1.  Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.3.  Effects of Wild Success  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     1.4.  Failure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   2.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     2.1.  Basic Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       2.1.1.  Positive Net Value (Meet a Real Need)  . . . . . . . .  7
       2.1.2.  Incremental Deployability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       2.1.3.  Open Code Availability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       2.1.4.  Freedom from Usage Restrictions  . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       2.1.5.  Open Specification Availability  . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       2.1.6.  Open Maintenance Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       2.1.7.  Good Technical Design  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     2.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       2.2.1.  Extensible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       2.2.2.  No Hard Scalability Bound  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       2.2.3.  Threats Sufficiently Mitigated . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   3.  Conclusions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   4.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   5.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Thaler & Aboba               Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 5218                    Protocol Success                   July 2008

   Appendix A.  Case Studies  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     A.1.  HTML/HTTP vs. Gopher and FTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
       A.1.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
       A.1.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       A.1.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
     A.2.  IPv4 vs. IPX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       A.2.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
       A.2.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
       A.2.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
     A.3.  SSH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
       A.3.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
       A.3.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
       A.3.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
     A.4.  Inter-Domain IP Multicast vs. Application Overlays . . . 20
       A.4.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
       A.4.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
       A.4.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
     A.5.  Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)  . . . . . . . . . . . 22
       A.5.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
       A.5.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
       A.5.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
     A.6.  Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
       A.6.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
       A.6.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
       A.6.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     A.7.  RADIUS vs. TACACS+ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
       A.7.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
       A.7.2.  Wild Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
       A.7.3.  Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
     A.8.  Network Address Translators (NATs) . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
       A.8.1.  Initial Success Factors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Show full document text