Looking Over the Fence at Networks

A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research

Committee on Research Horizons in Networking

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research Looking Over the Fence at Networks A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research Committee on Research Horizons in Networking Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by core funds of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. Core support for the CSTB is provided by its public and private sponsors: the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Library of Medicine, National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, and Time-Warner Cable. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07613-7 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20814 800–624–6242 202–334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I.Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm. A.Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH HORIZONS IN NETWORKING DAVID A.PATTERSON, University of California at Berkeley, Chair DAVID D.CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ANNA KARLIN, University of Washington JIM KUROSE, University of Massachusetts at Amherst EDWARD D.LAZOWSKA, University of Washington DAVID LIDDLE, U.S. Venture Partners DEREK McAULEY, Marconi VERN PAXSON, AT&T Center for Internet Research at ICSI STEFAN SAVAGE, University of California at San Diego ELLEN W.ZEGURA, Georgia Institute of Technology Staff JON EISENBERG, Senior Program Officer MARJORY S.BLUMENTHAL, Executive Director JANET BRISCOE, Administrative Officer MARGARET HUYNH, Senior Project Assistant DAVID PADGHAM, Research Assistant

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD DAVID D.CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair DAVID BORTH, Motorola Labs JAMES CHIDDIX, AOL Time Warner JOHN M.CIOFFI, Stanford University ELAINE COHEN, University of Utah W.BRUCE CROFT, University of Massachusetts at Amherst SUSAN L.GRAHAM, University of California at Berkeley JUDITH HEMPEL, University of California at San Francisco JEFFREY M.JAFFE, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies ANNA KARLIN, University of Washington MICHAEL KATZ, University of California at Berkeley BUTLER W.LAMPSON, Microsoft Corporation EDWARD D.LAZOWSKA, University of Washington DAVID LIDDLE, U.S. Venture Partners TOM M.MITCHELL, WhizBang! Labs Inc. DONALD NORMAN, UNext.com DAVID A.PATTERSON, University of California at Berkeley HENRY (HANK) PERRITT, Chicago-Kent College of Law BURTON SMITH, Cray Inc. TERRY SMITH, University of California at Santa Barbara LEE SPROULL, New York University MARJORY S.BLUMENTHAL, Executive Director HERBERT S.LIN, Senior Scientist ALAN S.INOUYE, Senior Program Officer JON EISENBERG, Senior Program Officer LYNETTE I.MILLETT, Program Officer CYNTHIA PATTERSON, Program Officer JANET BRISCOE, Administrative Officer MARGARET HUYNH, Senior Project Assistant SUZANNE OSSA, Senior Project Assistant DAVID DRAKE, Project Assistant DAVID PADGHAM, Research Assistant BRANDYE WILLIAMS, Office Assistant

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research Preface This report is the result of a new approach by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council to developing research agendas in key areas of information technology. Typically, only the members of a particular research community participate in defining an agenda for their future research activities. CSTB convened a small workshop in which more than half of the attendees were researchers in other fields. The premise behind this approach was that working together with a smaller number of network research insiders, these outsiders—people whose primary research interests were not in networking but who represented instead additional subdisciplines of computer science, as well as other disciplines such as Earth science, economics, and information studies—would function much like a visiting committee, providing a fresh perspective on research topics and directions and helping to stimulate development of a strategic view of future research directions. CSTB picked networking as the subject of this board-initiated project—the first in a planned series of workshops—since it is a field that has enjoyed both success and great attention due to its most visible creation, the Internet. As this report illustrates, it is also a compelling field in which to explore alternative research visions because that very success has constrained some avenues of research. The presence of outsiders was critical to the dialogue at the January 2001 workshop. To kick off the discussion, both insiders and outsiders were asked to identify near-term and long-term research topics, as well as topics that should probably be deemphasized, at least for a while (Box P.1). In the discussions that followed, outsiders posed provocative questions that challenged conventional wisdom and suggested different research approaches drawn from their own research communities. They also brought the perspectives of experienced network users to the discussion and repeatedly expressed frustrations about the inadequacies of the Internet from their user perspective. Workshop participants noted but did not elaborate on a number of topics that are of current interest in the network community. In some cases, topics were explicitly taken off the table. A shared sense among outsiders and insiders that topics other than network performance were at least as important and receiving less attention in the research community meant that workshop participants paid little attention to the issue of how to build higher-speed networks. Limitations of time and expertise precluded an in-depth examination of the implications of wireless and optical technologies, but participants did observe that such examination would be an important activity for the research community. In other cases, subjects arose in discussions but were not ultimately identified as areas meriting greater attention by networking researchers (e.g., last-mile access links). Other topics provoked mixed reactions; for example, some felt that multicast continues to be important while others felt that it should be abandoned as a research topic. The workshop proved educational for everyone involved. The outsiders learned about some surprising characteristics of networking culture. For example, the research community is protective of the Internet; reviewers often reject papers that make proposals perceived as potentially deleterious to the Internet. Also, even when confidentiality is not at issue, network researchers are reluctant to identify by brand name specific products or services with features they find undesirable. The insiders, in turn, were surprised to hear that the outsiders were not very interested in seeing great efforts expended on more research to improve raw network performance (distinct from work on better characterizing network performance, which was of interest to some participants). There were other surprises: For example, outsiders were surprised by how mistakes made by a few people in the configuration of routing tables could bring a significant portion of the Internet to its knees.

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research BOX P.1 Questions Posed in Advance to Workshop Participants What are three pressing problems in networking (that is, short-term problems that ideally would have been research problems 5 to 7 years ago)? What are two fundamental research problems in networking (that is, things that would be important to put into practice in 5 to 7 years)? What is one topic in networking that you would rather not read about again (that is, a topic that could be deferred to allow work on other problems)? This report does not provide answers to these specific questions—the questions were posed as a way of stimulating discussions at the workshop. The report that follows was written by the Committee on Research Horizons in Networking, composed of six networking researchers and four researchers from other areas in computer science, based on the 2 days of discussions among a larger group of workshop participants that was dominated by outsiders. The committee met immediately following the workshop and conducted a series of discussions by e-mail to formulate a fresh look at networking research, drawing on the workshop experience. The report is organized around the three major themes, closely connected to the process of networking research, that emerged at the workshop—measuring, modeling, and creating and deploying disruptive prototypes. It is not a report that seeks to lay out a detailed research agenda per se. The issues raised in this report, which reflect in large part the concerns of the outsiders, would certainly require further consideration by the network research community to be translated into an actual research agenda that would help meet the needs of network users. For example, while outsiders bring a valuable fresh perspective, they can also miss obstacles that insiders see. The intent of this report is to stimulate such an examination. David A.Patterson, Chair Committee on Research Horizons in Networking

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Craig Partridge, BBN Technologies, Larry Peterson, Princeton University, Scott Shenker, AT&T Center for Internet Research at ICSI, and James P.G.Sterbenz, BBN Technologies. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Jerome H.Saltzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appointed by the NRC’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor’s View of Networking Research Contents 1   INTRODUCTION   1 2   MEASURING: UNDERSTANDING THE INTERNET ARTIFACT   3     The Challenges of Scale   4     Measurement Infrastructure   5     Nontechnical Factors   5 3   MODELING: NEW THEORY FOR NETWORKING   7     Performance   7     Theory: Beyond Performance   7     Applying Theoretical Techniques to Networking   8 4   MAKING DISRUPTIVE PROTOTYPES: ANOTHER APPROACH TO STIMULATING RESEARCH   9     Challenges in Deploying Disruptive Technology   9     External Drivers   12 5   CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS   13     APPENDIXES         A BIOGRAPHIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS   17     B LIST OF WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS   21

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