Canonical Simplification of Networking and the Internet

V. Guruprasad

Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, February 2005


Introduced are two novel schemes for inter-networking, and an opportunity they present to diagonalize the Internet architecture, i.e. orthogonalize its components at multiple levels, so as to make it simpler as well as inherently more general, dynamic and scalable. The first is client-side virtualization of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, representing a functional inverse of network address translation (NAT) that instantly enables unlimited effective extension of Layer 3 address space as independent realms, analogous to per-process virtual addressing in Unix, thus also eliminating the current need for global coordination of the Layer 3 space. The second is a namespace providing IP-like routing semantics instead of mere translation to lower layer addresses, sufficing for inter-realm addressing and routing independently of Layer 3. It is further shown to be a natural coordinate system by construction, thus obviating the express numbering of nodes as in IP, and canonical with respect to networking, in the sense of requiring the least configurational information of any networking, i.e. addressing and routing, scheme. These properties make it ideal as an inter-domain network and protocol, and for confining IP to individual domains or realms using VAS. Simplicity results for network operators by the elimination of all need to coordinate IP addresses, including for application servers, requiring only locally unique labelling of nodes and link-local configuration. Generality includes full multi-realm access to unmodified IP hosts and applications – via local VAS mapping of foreign destinations addressed by name. Flexibility lies in the capability for multiple application-specific secondary namespaces and for bottom-up evolution of newer inter-networks even over existing infrastructure by linking separate deployments, as coordinated numbering is eliminated. The dynamic nature includes the instant effectiveness of name bindings and deletions. Scalability is assured by the elimination of hard limits and generally by the localization of both configuration and traffic. Route discovery and automatic subscriptions to namespace changes are envisaged for performance and efficiency, and filesystem-like ownership and access control as a simpler security model. The basic ideas are implemented in a prototype.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science