One of the common myths of the networking world is there were no “real” networks before the early days of packet-based networks. As myths go, this is not even a very good myth; the world had very large-scale voice and data networks long before distributed routing, before packet-based switching, and before any of the packet protocols such as IP. I participated in replacing a large scale voice and data network, including hundreds of inverse multiplexers that tied a personnel system together in the middle of the 1980’s. I also installed hundreds of terminal emulation cards in Zenith Z100 and Z150 systems in the same time frame to allow these computers to connect to mainframes and newer minicomputers on the campus.
AI in networks is a hotly contested subject—so we asked Bob Friday, CTO of Mist Systems, to explain the value and future of AI in networks. Bob joins Tom Ammon and Russ White for this episode.
Have you ever looked at your wide area network and wondered … what would the traffic flows look like if this link or that router failed? Traffic modeling of this kind is widely available in commercial tools, which means it’s been hard to play with these kinds of tools, learn how they work, and understand how they can be effective. There is, however, an open source alternative—pyNTM. While this tool won’t replace a commercial tool, it can give you “enough to go on” for many network operators, and give you the experience and understanding needed to justify springing for a commercial product.
Token Ring, in its original form, was—on paper—a very capable physical transport. For instance, because of the token passing capabilities, it could make use of more than 90% of the available bandwidth. In contrast, Ethernet systems, particularly early Ethernet systems using a true “single wire” broadcast domain, cannot achieve nearly that kind of utilization—hence “every device on its own switch port.” The Fiber Distributed Data Interface, or FDDI, is like Token Ring in many ways. For instance, FDDI uses a token to determine when a station connected to the ring can transmit, enabling efficient use of bandwidth.
And yet, Ethernet is the common carrier of almost all wired networks today, and even wireless standards mimic Ethernet’s characteristics. What happened to FDDI?
QUIC is a relatively new data transport protocol developed by Google, and currently in line to become the default transport for the upcoming HTTP standard. Because of this, it behooves every network engineer to understand a little about this protocol, how it operates, and what impact it will have on the network. We did record a History of Networking episode on QUIC, if you want some background.
In a recent Communications of the ACM article, a group of researchers (Kakhi et al.) used a modified implementation of QUIC to measure its performance under different network conditions, directly comparing it to TCPs performance under the same conditions. Since the current implementations of QUIC use the same congestion control as TCP—Cubic—the only differences in performance should be code tuning in estimating the round-trip timer (RTT) for congestion control, QUIC’s ability to form a session in a single RTT, and QUIC’s ability to carry multiple streams in a single connection. The researchers asked two questions in this paper: how does QUIC interact with TCP flows on the same network, and does UIC perform better than TCP in all situations, or only some?
When you think of new Ethernet standards, you probably think about faster and optical. There is, however, an entire world of buildings out there with older copper cabling, particularly in the industrial realm, that could see dramatic improvements in productivity if their control and monitoring systems could be moved to IP. In these cases, what is needed is an Ethernet standard that runs over a single copper pair, and yet offers enough speed to support industrial use cases. Peter Jones joins Jeremy Filliben and Russ White to discuss single pair Ethernet.
Intent based networking is on the upslope of the hype cycle right now. In this episode of the Hedge, Alex Clemm and Jeff Tantsura join Alvaro Retana and Russ White for a discussion of Intent-Based Networking – Concepts and Definitions, a draft working its way through the Internet Research Task Force.
The IETF works on many things beyond IP and routing—the Media Operations (MOPS) working group is gathering input on media-related operational issues and practices, including “proposed technologies related to the deployment, engineering, and operation of media streaming and manipulation protocols and procedures in the global Internet (inter-domain) and within-domain networking.” Leslie Daigle and Eric Vyncke, the co-chairs of the MOPS working group, join Alvaro Retana and Russ White to discuss the work they are doing.
There was a time when Software Defined Networking was going to take over the entire networking world—just like ATM, FDDI, and … so many others before. Whatever happened to SDN, anyway? What is its enduring legacy in the world of network engineering? Terry Slattery, Tom Ammon, and Russ White gather at the hedge to have a conversation about whatever happened to SDN?
MultiPath TCP (MPTCP) is an effort towards enabling the simultaneous use of several IP-addresses/interfaces by a modification of TCP that presents a regular TCP interface to applications, while in fact spreading data across several subflows. Benefits of this include better resource utilization, better throughput and smoother reaction to failures.