cr> IP: the freeway is jamming up [ with an editorial comment by djf]


(Note from moderator: I have Farber's permission to post his comments,
and have excerpted the article that follows.  Email me for another
article that explains the problem in more detail.--Andy)

From:          Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>

Editorial comment:

One of the marks of success is growing pains. It hits companies and
societies. The net succeeded. With that success came the loads and the
normal delay in engineering the growth of the infrastructure. The idea
that it is the result of the privatization of the net in and of itself
is wrong. The NSF provided negligible network management in the
technical sense of the word and little in other senses. As soon as
CSNet allowed "commercial" traffic on the die was cast.

I grew up in the telecom business. We had mechanisms for measuring the
grade of service offered to the customer and standards which had to be
met else our tarrifs suffered. The Internet has none of this. There is
NO EFFECTIVE way of telling where congestion is and why, there is no
effective way in the short run to force the deployment of additional
facilities in backbone routes. There is precious little way of
recovering the costs of doing that for many of the intermediate
carriers. Saying that somehow government and the private sector should
somehow coordinate is a worthwhile statement but darn hard to do
anything with in the presence of substantial profit and business
building  motives unless that translates to let the FCC do it (GASP!!)

What can be done. First what is the real problem? Can we find out
where the bottlenecks are (we do know how to do net measurement --
don't need research for thatone ] and try to convince the responsible
carriers to remove them (after all the user's organizations do pay $s
to carriers (but maybe to different ones). The best long term bet is
to create a mechanism to allow the distribution of money to create
incentives for the proper engineering of the network.

Just for the record, the latency of the net is one small part of more
serious future problems which will not be so easy to fix.

And finally I would recommend that the scientific community stop
sounding like someone took away their toys. They have a valid
complaint as, I hope, paying commercial customers. Time to recognize
that. Much better PR.

Dave Farber

Scientists Complain of Internet Traffic
They say it is slowing research

Jeff Pelline, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Internet is in a ``disastrous state'' and is impeding some high-
level research for scientists at big national laboratories, a group of
researchers has charged in a memo.

                . . .

``The postdocs and students, located at our experiments, have found
access very difficult over the Internet during this last year so that
their effectiveness has been much decreased,'' the memo said. ``The
connection is always very slow, and often becomes completely catatonic
for minutes at a time.

                . . .

``We are in substantial agreement that there is need for a
coordinating operation to improve the cooperation among all the
private and public networks that are important to the research
community,'' the group said.

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