[ Paper Review #3 ] Expanding the Net

A Paper Review for “Architectural Principles of the Internet (RFC 1958) “

The paper presents the general architectural principles of the internet including guiding questions and tenets that were observed and have worked in the past and could be useful in present and future evaluations and innovations in the internet. Guidelines when integrating algorithms, patented mechanisms, and security features were also presented.

It has effectively acknowledged different changes that happened through the years especially the possibility of the internet being used worldwide (i.e. the internet requiring support for localization).  With this, readers could see how the internet has evolved from being something deeply motivated solely for military purposes to something that the whole world can now use for interconnectivity. Even with this huge leap, the paper was still successful in presenting that the present state of the internet is still aligned with the original work’s ultimate goal of connectivity with the internet protocol as the tool and with responsibility residing end to end (fate-sharing). It was also a good point to mention that there is still absence of a central administration that could turn off the internet at any time which was one of the things that the creators have also avoided in designing the system as it is also one of the reasons why interconnected networks were motivated in the first place.

The paper also fairly states what the expectations and ideal scenarios in the network are and compare them with practical reality. For example, ideally there should only be one protocol governing the internet but practically there are various reasons as to why multiple protocols need to coexists (i.e. gradual migration to a different IP version and multiple need-specific protocols).

Given all these, the paper was very successful in providing readers an insight as to how the internet incrementally evolved (i.e. small steps rather than complete overhauls). It gives the readers an idea of the changes that happened through the years and an indirect assessment of whether these are still aligned with the original goals and principles.

It is also worth noting that given the guidelines presented, there is a sense that the internet really have further developed and the lower level priorities, as described in “The Design Philosophy of the DARPA Internet Protocols” by David D. Clark, that are yet tot be achieved in the past is already in the process of being achieved in the present. These include the consideration and importance given to cost, performance, accountability and even security which became necessary with the evolution of a larger user base.

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