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ON THE NET

RFC1925: Rule 4

The world of information technology is filled, often to overflowing, with those who “know better.” For instance, I was recently reading an introduction to networking in a very popular orchestration system that began with the declaration that: ‘routing was hard, and therefore this system avoided routing’. The document then went on to describe a system of moving packets around using multiple levels of Network Address Translation (NAT) and centrally configured policy-based routing (or filter-based forwarding) that was clearly simpler than the distributed protocols used to run large-scale networks. I thought, for a moment, of writing the author and pointing out the system in question had merely reinvented routing in a rather inefficient and probably broken way, but I relented.

RFC1925, Rule 2

According to RFC1925, the second fundamental truth of networking is: No matter how hard you push and no matter what the priority, you can’t increase the speed of light. However early in the world of network engineering this problem was first observed (see, for instance, Tanenbaum’s “station wagon example” in Computer Networks), human impatience is forever trying to overcome the limitations of the physical world, and push more data down the pipe than mother nature intended (or Shannon’s theory allows).

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