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Random Notes

By: Scott Bradner

This column is a bunch of updates to topics mentioned in previous columns.

The Internet Society (ISOC) International Networking Conference (INET) and Technologically Emerging Country Workshop were held in Prague two weeks ago. The attendance was even greater than predicted. The workshop attracted 159 people from 71 different countries, and the conference itself attracted 1205 people from 107 different countries and territories. The international nature of the Internet was underscored by the fact that only 16% of the attendees were from the Unites States.

The workshop addressed all aspects of designing, building, managing and growing national data networks. I had a great time during the workshop since the attendees were enthusiastic and were there to learn from us instructors and from each other. (A much better experience than I've had in some of the tutorials I've done elsewhere. Some people seem to attend because they were told to.)

The ISOC board did start talking about developing some sort of guidelines in reaction to the public concerns about the behavior and practices of small numbers of Internet end users and service providers. The board has requested the assistance of the Internet community at large, the Society's Internet Architecture Board (IAB), which has addressed ethical guidelines in the past, and the Society's Advisory Council representing the 85 companies, foundations, and government agencies which constitute its organizational members.

The second of the old research and education regional networks has now moved out from its university base. Last July, Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), the people that used to run the ARPANET, formed BBN Technology Services Inc., (BBNTSI) as a separate company which then took over the New England Academic and Research Network (NEARnet) from its founders MIT, Boston University and Harvard University. BBN had been running NEARnet under contract since the networks' founding. NEARNET (just NEARNET, it is not an acronym anymore) is now a service offering from BBNTSI.

Last week, BBNTSI entered into negotiations to purchase BARRNet from Stanford University after a competition that involved more than a half dozen potential purchasers from a wide range of the current, future and speculative data networking community. BARRNET will also become a service offering of BBNTSI.

Note that, as I mentioned in a recent column, this evolution of the Internet is not yet coming from the regional telephone companies but instead from the companies that have seen data networking as their reason to exist, not just something else to do with (or to) their wires.

The final report of the Federal Internetworking Requirements Panel (FIRP) has been issued. It is available over the Internet via anonymous ftp from the host Retrieve the file firp-report.asc from the directory pub/firp.

The final report tones down some of the pro IETF language but still recommends that the current GOSIP requirement be modified to permit use of the TCP/IP protocol suite where it would best meet the requirements of a governmental agency. There is at least one potentially troublesome recommendation in this report. The authors suggest that the IETF and the relevant ISO group establish convergence workshops to attempt to create a single internetworking layer standard. This comes at somewhat of an inconvenient time since the IETF is just about to announce its selection of an IPng which includes the definition of such a standard. To re address this issue just after a direction is set would only cause confusion and delay the development of the protocols that are required to sustain the growth of the Internet.

From the words don't mean the same thing everywhere department: Found in a restaurant in Prague, a packet of sugar manufactured by a firm called Snotty.

Disclaimer: I am the chair of the NEARNET technical committee. If Harvard has opinions, I don't know what they are so I doubt that these are they.