The enviornment correct through which IPv6 became once a devoted form

The enviornment correct through which IPv6 became once a devoted form

Finest November I went to an IETF assembly for the first time. The IETF is an
moving jam; it looks to be about 1/3 maintenance voice work, 1/3
extending existing stuff, and 1/3 blue sky insanity. I attended basically
because I needed to glimpse how members would react to TCP BBR, which became once being
offered there for the first time
. (Reply: basically positively, however
with suspicion. It kinda looked too dedicated to be devoted.)

Anyway, the IETF meetings web plenty and hundreds presentations about IPv6,
the thing that became once speculated to change IPv4, which is what the Cyber net runs
on. (Some would voice IPv4 is already being replaced; some would voice it has
already came about.) Alongside with those presentations about IPv6, there had been
hundreds of us that say it is nice, the supreme thing ever, and in tell that they’re
ravishing obvious it might perchance perchance perchance lastly retract on Any Day Now, and IPv4 is factual a big
pile of hacks that if truth be told needs to die so that the Cyber net will be clear
again.

I believed this might perchance occasionally perchance perchance be a nice chance to no doubt try to work out what became once
happening. Why is IPv6 this kind of classy mess when when put next with IPv4? Would now not
it is greater if it had factual been IPv4 with more take care of bits? But it is now not,
oh goodness, is it ever now not. So I started asking around. Here’s what I stumbled on.

Buses ruined all the pieces

Once upon a time, there became once the phone network, which venerable bodily
circuit switching. Finally, that intended appealing connectors around so that
your phone connection became once actually factual a extremely lengthy wire (“OSI layer 1″). A
“leased line” became once a extremely lengthy wire that you just leased from the phone
firm. You might perchance perchance perchance perchance attach bits in one discontinuance of the wire, and in tell that they’d arrive out the
diverse discontinuance, a mounted length of time later. You did now not want addresses because
there became once precisely one machine at every discontinuance.

At last the phone firm optimized that a little. Time-division
multiplexing (TDM) and “virtual circuit switching” became once born. The phone
firm might perchance perchance perchance transparently bewitch the bits at a slower bit price from a few
traces, community them on the side of multiplexers and demultiplexers, and let
them recede through the guts of the phone gadget the expend of fewer wires than
earlier than. Making that work became once a little of refined, however as a ways as we
modem customers had been concerned, you continue to place bits in one discontinuance and in tell that they
came out the diverse discontinuance. No addresses wanted.

The Cyber net (now not known as the Cyber net on the time) became once built on top of these
circuits. You had a bunch of wires that it is possible you’ll perchance perchance attach bits
into and grasp them arrive out the diverse aspect. If one computer had two or
three interfaces, then it might perchance perchance perchance, if given the right directions, ahead
bits from one line to one other, and it is possible you’ll perchance perchance discontinue one thing a ways more
efficient than a separate line between every pair of computers. And so IP
addresses (“layer 3”), subnets, and routing had been born. Even then, with
these point-to-point links, you did now not want MAC addresses, because once a
packet went into the wire, there became once handiest one jam it might perchance perchance perchance arrive out. You
venerable IP addresses to purchase the place it’ll unexcited recede after that.

Meanwhile, LANs obtained invented as a change. When you wanted to join
computers (or terminals and a mainframe) together at your local say, it became once
ravishing inconvenient to desire a few interfaces, one for every wire to every
satellite computer, arranged in a main particular person configuration. To build on
electronics, members wanted to grasp a “bus” network (on occasion called a
“broadcast domain,” a name that will most certainly be most important later) the place a few
stations might perchance perchance perchance factual be plugged correct into a single wire, and appreciate advice from any diverse
website plugged into the identical wire. These weren’t the identical members as the
ones constructing the Cyber net, in tell that they did now not expend IP addresses for this. They
all invented their grasp procedure (“layer 2”).

One among the early local bus networks became once arcnet, which is dear to my coronary heart (I
wrote the first Linux arcnet driver and arcnet poetry draw
encourage within the Nineties, lengthy after arcnet became once aged). Arcnet layer 2
addresses had been very simplistic: factual 8 bits, jam by jumpers or DIP switches
on the encourage of the network card. Because the network proprietor, it became once your job to
configure the addresses and earn obvious you did now not grasp any duplicates, or all
heck would ensue. This became once roughly a agonize, however arcnet networks had been on the total
ravishing shrimp, so it became once handiest form of a agonize.

A pair of years later, ethernet came along and solved that self-discipline once and for
all, by the expend of many more bits (forty eight, if truth be told) within the layer 2 take care of. That is
ample bits that it is possible you’ll perchance perchance attach a special (sharded-sequential) take care of to
every machine that has ever been manufactured, and now not grasp any overlaps.
And that’s precisely what they did! Thus the ethernet MAC take care of became once born.

Various LAN technologies came and went, along with considered one of my favourites, IPX
(Internetwork Packet Commerce, though it had nothing to discontinue with the “right”
Cyber net) and Netware, which worked nice as lengthy as the total purchasers and
servers had been on a single bus network. You by no draw had to configure any
addresses, ever. It became once horny, and respectable, and worked. The golden
age of networking, in most cases.

Finally, any individual had to rupture it: mountainous firm/college networks. They
wanted to grasp so many computers that sharing 10 Mbps of a single bus
network between all of them grew to change into a big bottleneck, in tell that they wanted a system to
grasp a few buses, and then interconnect – “internetwork,” must you’re going to –
those buses together. You might perchance perchance perchance perchance be perchance pondering, clearly! Use the Cyber net
Protocol for that, right? Ha ha, no. The Cyber net protocol, unexcited now not
known as that, wasn’t pale or trendy encourage then, and nobody took it
significantly. Netware-over-IPX (and the so a lot of diverse LAN protocols on the time)
had been serious alternate, so as serious firms discontinue, they invented their grasp
thing(s) to expand the already-trendy thing, ethernet. Devices on
ethernet already had addresses, MAC addresses, which had been about the handiest
thing the many LAN protocol members might perchance perchance perchance agree on, in tell that they made up our minds to make expend of
ethernet addresses as the keys for their routing mechanisms. (Truly they
known as it bridging and switching as an various of routing.)

The self-discipline with ethernet addresses is that they are assigned sequentially on the
manufacturing unit, in tell that they might be able to’t be hierarchical. That draw the “bridging table” is
now not as nice as a up-to-the-minute IP routing table, which is able to chat about the route for
a entire subnet at a time. In say to discontinue efficient bridging, you had to
consider which network bus every MAC take care of will be stumbled on on. And humans
did now not want to configure every of those by hand, so it wanted to figure
itself out automatically. When you had a elaborate internetwork of bridges,
this might perchance occasionally perchance perchance web a little of refined. As I perceive it, that is what ended in
the spanning tree
poem
, and I grasp I will factual leave it at that. Poetry is required
in networking.

Anyway, it basically worked, however it became once a little of a most important number, and you obtained broadcast floods
every so incessantly, and the routes weren’t always optimal, and it became once ravishing
a lot unimaginable to debug. (You certainly couldn’t write one thing admire
traceroute for bridging, because now not considered one of many instruments you grasp to earn it work
– resembling the capacity for an intermediate bridge to even grasp an take care of –
exist in straightforward ethernet.)

On the diverse hand, all these bridges had been hardware-optimized. The total
gadget became once invented by hardware members, in most cases, as a draw of fooling the
instrument, which had no notion a few couple of buses and bridging between them,
into working greater on nice networks. Hardware bridging draw the bridging
might perchance perchance perchance recede no doubt no doubt immediate – as immediate as the ethernet might perchance perchance perchance recede. Right this moment time
that doesn’t sound very special, however on the time, it became once a mountainous deal.
Ethernet became once 10 Mbps, since it is possible you’ll perchance perchance perchance saturate it by inserting a bunch
of computers on the network , now not because any one computer might perchance perchance perchance
saturate 10 Mbps. That became once crazy talk.

Anyway, the purpose is, bridging became once a most important number, and unimaginable to debug, however it
became once immediate.

Cyber net over buses

While all that became once taking place, those Cyber net members had been getting busy, and
had been clearly now not blind to the invention of frigid low-price LAN technologies. I
say it might perchance perchance perchance had been around this time that the ARPANET obtained no doubt
renamed to the Cyber net, however I’m now not obvious. To illustrate it became once, since the
tale is greater if I sound assured.

At some point soon, things stepped forward from connecting particular particular person Cyber net
computers over point-to-point lengthy distance links, to the must join
entire LANs together, over point-to-point links. Usually, you wanted a
lengthy-distance bridge.

You might perchance perchance perchance perchance also be pondering, hello, no mountainous deal, why now not factual get a lengthy distance
bridge and be performed with it? Sounds devoted, doesn’t work. I’d now not recede into the
particulars today, however in most cases the topic is congestion
management
. The deep darkish secret of ethernet bridging is that it assumes
all of your links are about the identical whisk, and/or entirely uncongested,
because they don’t grasp any system to dumb down. You factual blast data as immediate as you
can, and search data from it to arrive. But when your ethernet is 10 Mbps and your
point-to-point link is 0.128 Mbps, that’s entirely hopeless. One after the other,
the realization of realizing your routes by flooding the total links to glimpse which
one is ideal – here’s the precise draw bridging in most cases works – is massively
wasteful for dumb links. And sub-optimal routing, an annoyance on local
networks with low latency and high throughput, is substandard on dumb, costly
lengthy-distance links. It factual doesn’t scale.

Luckily, those Cyber net members (if it became once known as the Cyber net but) had been
working on that disclose jam of problems. If we would factual expend Cyber net stuff
to join ethernet buses together, we would be in nice shape.

And they also designed a “body layout” for Cyber net packets over ethernet
(and arcnet, for that topic, and each diverse roughly LAN).

And that’s when all the pieces started to head inappropriate.

The necessary self-discipline that wanted fixing became once that now, whilst you happen to place an Cyber net
packet onto a wire, it became once now not obvious which machine became once speculated to
“hear” it and perchance ahead it along. If a few Cyber net routers had been on
the identical ethernet section, it is possible you’ll perchance perchance now not grasp all of them picking it up and
making an try to ahead it; that draw lies packet storms and routing loops. No,
you had to purchase which router on the ethernet bus is speculated to
bewitch it up. We can’t factual expend the IP destination field for that, because
we’re already the expend of that for the final destination, now not the router
destination. As a change, we establish the specified router the expend of its MAC take care of
within the ethernet body.

So in most cases, to jam up your local IP routing table, it’s essential to be in a field to
voice one thing admire, “send packets to IP take care of 10.1.1.1 by skill of the router at
MAC take care of 11:22:33:44:55:66.” That is the precise thing you might perchance perchance
disclose. Here’s most important! Your destination is an IP take care of, however your
router is a MAC take care of. But must you’ve got ever configured a routing table, you
might perchance perchance perchance grasp noticed that no-one writes it admire that. As a change, since the
writers of your working gadget’s TCP/IP stack are stubborn, you write
one thing admire “send packets to IP take care of 10.1.1.1 by skill of the router at IP
take care of 192.168.1.1.”

In actuality, that if truth be told is factual complicating things. Now your working
gadget has to first peep up the ethernet take care of of 192.168.1.1, discover
it is 11:22:33:44:55:66, and at last generate a packet with destination
ethernet take care of 11:22:33:44:55:66 and destination IP take care of 10.1.1.1.
192.168.1.1 exhibits up nowhere within the packet; it is factual an abstraction on the
human level.

To discontinue that pointless intermediate step, you’ve got so that you just can add ARP (take care of
resolution protocol), a straightforward non-IP protocol whose job it is to noticeably change IP
addresses to ethernet addresses. It does this by broadcasting to all americans
on the local ethernet bus, asking all of them to reply to within the event that they grasp that
disclose IP take care of. You perchance have bridges, they all must ahead all
the ARP packets to all their interfaces, because they’re ethernet broadcast
packets, and that’s the explanation what broadcasting draw. On a mountainous, busy ethernet with
hundreds interconnected LANs, vulgar announces commence becoming considered one of your
supreme nightmares. It is in particular unfriendly on wifi. As time went on, members
started making bridges/switches with special hacks to retain a ways from forwarding ARP
as a ways as it is technically speculated to head, to try to scale encourage down on this
self-discipline. Some devices (in particular wifi web entry to parts) factual earn faux ARP
solutions to try to lend a hand. But doing any of that is a hack, albeit every so incessantly a
important hack.

Death by legacy

Time passed. At last (and this no doubt took reasonably a whereas), members
ravishing a lot stopped the expend of non-IP protocols on ethernet at all. So in most cases
all networks grew to change correct into a bodily wire (layer 1), with a few stations on a
bus (layer 2), with a few buses connected over bridges (gotcha! unexcited
layer 2!), and those inter-buses connected over IP routers (layer 3).

After a whereas, members obtained bored with manually configuring IP addresses, arcnet
model, and wanted them to auto-configure, ethernet model, except it became once too
gradual to actually discontinue it ethernet model, because a) the devices had already
been manufactured with ethernet addresses, now not IP addresses, and b) IP
addresses had been handiest 32 bits, which is rarely ample to factual get them
eternally and not using a overlaps, and c) factual assigning IP addresses sequentially
as an various of the expend of subnets would bring us encourage to square one: it might perchance perchance perchance factual be
ethernet every other time, and we already grasp ethernet.

So that’s the place bootp
and DHCP came from. Those protocols, by the model, are special kinda admire ARP
is special (except they faux to now not be special, by technically being IP
packets). They want to be special, because an IP node must be in a field to
transmit them earlier than it has an IP take care of, which is clearly unimaginable, so
it factual fills the IP headers with in actuality nonsense (albeit nonsense
specified by an RFC), so the headers might perchance perchance perchance as effectively had been missed. (You
know these “IP” headers are nonsense since the DHCP server has to originate a raw
socket and grasp them in by hand; the kernel IP layer can’t discontinue it.) But
nobody would no doubt feel nice within the event that they had been inventing a entire fresh protocol that
wasn’t IP, in tell that they pretended it became once IP, and then they felt nice. Properly, as
nice as one can no doubt feel when one is inventing DHCP.

Anyway, I digress.
The salient component here is that unlike right IP services and products, bootp and DHCP must
know about ethernet addresses, because after all, it is their job to listen to
your ethernet take care of and connect you an IP take care of to head with it. They’re
in most cases the reverse of ARP, except we can’t voice that, because there might perchance be a
protocol known as RARP that is actually the reverse of ARP. Truly, RARP
worked reasonably heavenly and did the identical thing as bootp and DHCP whereas being
a ways more colorful, however we don’t discuss that.

The point of all here’s that ethernet and IP had been getting additional and
additional intertwined. They’re in this present day and age nearly inseparable. It is laborious to
imagine a network interface (except ppp0) with out a forty eight-bit MAC take care of, and it is laborious to say
that network interface working with out an IP take care of. You write your IP
routing table the expend of IP addresses, however clearly you know you are lying when
you name the router by IP take care of; you are factual now not abruptly pronouncing that you just
would love to route by skill of a MAC take care of. And as well you’ve got ARP, which will get bridged however
now not no doubt, and DHCP, which is an IP packet however is de facto an ethernet
protocol, etc.

Moreover, we unexcited grasp both bridging and routing, and in tell that they both web more
and more refined as the LANs and the Cyber net web more and more
refined, respectively. Bridging is unexcited, basically, hardware basically based totally mostly and
outlined by IEEE, the of us that management the ethernet requirements. Routing is
unexcited, basically, instrument basically based totally mostly and outlined by the IETF, the of us that
management the Cyber net requirements. Both groups unexcited try to faux the diverse
community doesn’t exist. Network operators in most cases purchase bridging vs routing
per how immediate they wish it to head and the draw a lot they abominate configuring DHCP
servers, which they honestly abominate an excellent deal, which draw they expend bridging as
a lot as that it is possible you’ll perchance perchance say and routing after they must.

In actuality, bridging has gotten so entirely out of management that americans
made up our minds to extract the layer 2 bridging decisions out entirely to a increased
level (with configuration exchanged between bridges the expend of a protocol layered
over IP, clearly!) so it might perchance perchance perchance be centrally managed. That is understood as
instrument-outlined networking (SDN). It helps plenty, when when put next with letting your
switches and bridges factual discontinue no topic they wish, however it is also basically
silly, since you know what’s instrument outlined networking? IP. It is
actually and has always been the instrument-outlined network you expend for
interconnecting networks that grasp gotten too mountainous. However the topic is, IPv4
became once within the starting up too laborious to hardware whisk up, and anyway, it did now not web
hardware accelerated, and configuring DHCP no doubt is a big agonize, so network
operators factual learned straightforward solutions to bridge bigger and bigger things. And in this present day and age
mountainous data facilities are in most cases factual SDNed, and it is possible you’ll perchance perchance as effectively now not be
the expend of IP within the concepts heart at all, because nobody’s routing the packets.
It is all factual one mountainous virtual bus network.

It is, in brief, a most important number.

Now forget I talked about all that…

Immense tale, right? Dazzling. Now faux none of that came about, and we’re
encourage within the early Nineties, when most of that had if truth be told already came about,
however members on the IETF had been anyway pretending that it hadn’t came about and
that the “upcoming” agonize might perchance perchance perchance all be performed with out. Here’s the devoted fragment!

There is one thing I forgot to price in that enormous lengthy tale above:
someplace in that entire chain of events, we entirely stopped the expend of bus
networks
. Ethernet is now not no doubt a bus anymore. It factual
pretends to be a bus. Usually, we couldn’t web ethernet’s renowned
CSMA/CD
to retain working as speeds increased, so we went encourage to the devoted outdated primary particular person
topology. We creep bundles of cables from the switch, so that we can creep one
cable from every website the total draw encourage to the guts point. Walls and
ceilings and floor are stuffed with mountainous, thick, costly bundles of
ethernet, because we couldn’t work out straightforward solutions to earn buses work effectively… at
layer 1. It is kinda silly no doubt whilst you happen to suspect about it. When you glance
unhappy things silly.

In actuality, in a bonus match of insanity, even wifi – the closing bus network,
right, the place actually all americans is sharing the identical originate-air “bus” – we
nearly universally expend wifi in a mode, known as “infrastructure mode,” which
simulates a big primary particular person topology. You perchance have two wifi stations
connected to the identical web entry to point, they don’t appreciate advice from every diverse abruptly,
even after they might be able to hear every diverse factual heavenly.
They send a packet to the web entry to point, however addressed to the MAC take care of of
the diverse node. The web entry to point then bounces it encourage out to the
destination node.

HOLD THE HORSES LET ME JUST REVIEW THAT FOR YOU. There is a little of retract
there. When node X needs to send to Cyber net node Z, by skill of IP router Y, by skill of
wifi web entry to point A, what does the packet peep admire? Dazzling to procedure a
image, here’s what we want to happen:

X -> [wifi] -> A -> [wifi] -> Y -> [internet] -> Z

Z is the IP destination, so clearly the IP destination field must be Z.
Y is the router, which we learned above that we specify by the expend of its
ethernet MAC take care of within the ethernet destination field. But in wifi, X
can’t factual send out a packet to Y, for diverse reasons (along with that they
don’t know every diverse’s WPA2 encryption keys). We grasp got to send to A. The place discontinue
we attach A’s take care of, it is possible you’ll perchance perchance search data from?

No self-discipline! 802.11 has a thing known as 3-take care of mode. They add a third
ethernet MAC take care of to every particular person, in tell that they might be able to discuss the right
ethernet destination, and the intermediate ethernet destination. On top of
that, there are bit fields known as “to-AP” and “from-AP,” which let you know if
the packet goes from a website to an AP, or from an AP to a website,
respectively. But no doubt they might be able to both be devoted on the identical time, because
that’s how you earn wifi repeaters (APs send packets to APs).

Speaking of wifi repeaters! If A is a repeater, it has to send encourage to the
detrimental website, B, along the model, which looks to be like admire this:

X -> [wifi] -> A -> [wifi-repeater] -> B -> [wifi] -> Y -> [internet] -> Z

X->A uses three-take care of mode, however A->B has a self-discipline: the ethernet source
take care of is X, and the ethernet destination take care of is Y, however the packet on
the air is now not any doubt being sent from A to B; X and Y must now not involved at all.
Suffice it to disclose that there might perchance be a thing known as 4-take care of mode, and it works
ravishing a lot resembling you watched.

(In 802.11s mesh networks, there might perchance be a 6-take care of mode, and that’s the explanation about the place
I gave up making an try to web.)

Avery, I became once promised IPv6, and you’ve now not even talked about IPv6

Oh, oops. This put up went a little off the rails, did now not it?

Here’s the purpose of the total thing. The IETF members, after they had been
hooked in to IPv6, noticed this mess getting made – and perchance predicted some
of the additional mess that can perchance perchance happen, though I doubt they would perchance perchance perchance grasp
predicted SDN and wifi repeater modes – and in tell that they talked about, hello wait a minute,
discontinuance right there. We don’t want any of this crap! What if as an various the
world worked admire this?

  • No more bodily bus networks (already performed!)
  • No more layer 2 internetworks (that is what layer 3 is for)
  • No more announces (layer 2 is in most cases point-to-point, so the place would you
    send the broadcast to? change it with multicast as an various)
  • No more MAC addresses (on some degree-to-point network, it is evident who the
    sender and receiver are, and it is possible you’ll perchance perchance discontinue multicast the expend of IP addresses)
  • No more ARP and DHCP (no MAC addresses, no so mapping IP addresses to MAC
    addresses)
  • No more complexity in IP headers (so it is possible you’ll perchance perchance hardware whisk up IP
    routing)
  • No more IP take care of shortages (so we can return to routing mountainous subnets
    again)
  • No more handbook IP take care of configuration except on the core (and there are
    so many IP addresses that we can recursively hand out subnets down the
    tree from there)

Factor in that we lived in this kind of world: wifi repeaters would factual be IPv6
routers. So would wifi web entry to parts. So would ethernet switches. So
would SDN. ARP storms might perchance perchance perchance be long previous. “IGMP snooping bridges” might perchance perchance perchance be
long previous. Bridging loops might perchance perchance perchance be long previous. Every routing self-discipline might perchance perchance perchance be
traceroute-in a field. And greater of all, we would tumble 12 bytes (source/dest ethernet
addresses) from every ethernet packet, and 18 bytes (source/dest/AP
addresses) from every wifi packet. Sure, IPv6 provides an additional 24 bytes of
take care of (vs IPv4), however you are shedding 12 bytes of ethernet, so the added
overhead is handiest 12 bytes – ravishing an identical to the expend of two 64-bit IP addresses
however having to retain the ethernet header. The premise that we would perchance someday tumble
ethernet addresses helped to justify the oversized IPv6 addresses.

It would had been horny. With the exception of for one self-discipline: it by no draw came about.

Requiem for a dream

One particular person at work attach it greatest: “layers are handiest ever added, by no draw eradicated.”

All this wonderfulness relied on the capacity to commence over and throw away
the legacy cruft we had built up. And that’s, sadly, ravishing a lot
unimaginable. Despite the proven truth that IPv6 hits ninety nine% penetration, that doesn’t indicate we will be
rid of IPv4. And if we’re now not rid of IPv4, we would now not be rid of ethernet
addresses, or wifi addresses. And if we now must retain the IEEE 802.3 and
802.11 framing requirements, we’re by no draw going to construct those bytes. So we can
always want the “IPv6 neighbour discovery” protocol, which is factual a
more refined ARP. Despite the proven truth that we now not grasp bus networks, we will
always want some roughly simulator for announces, because that’s how ARP
works. We will must retain running a local DHCP server at home so that our
aged IPv4 light bulbs retain working. We will retain desiring NAT so that our
aged IPv4 light bulbs can retain reaching the Cyber net.

And that’s now not the worst of it. The worst of it is we unexcited want the
endless abomination that is layer 2 bridging, thanks to every other mistake
the IPv6 crew forgot to fix. Sadly, whereas they had been
blue-skying IPv6 encourage within the Nineties, they disregarded to resolve the “cellular IP”
self-discipline. As I perceive it, the realization became once to web IPv6 deployed first – it
must unexcited handiest bewitch a few years – and then work on it after IPv4 and MAC
addresses had been eradicated, at which length it needs to be a lot simpler to
resolve, and meanwhile, nobody no doubt has a “cellular IP” machine but anyway. I
indicate, what would that even indicate, admire carrying your notebook computer around and
plugging correct into a sequence of 1 ethernet port after one other whereas you ftp a
file? Sounds listless.

The killer app: cellular IP

Finally, with a couple more an extended time of historic previous within the encourage of us, now all of us know a
few expend circumstances for carrying around a computer – your phone – and letting it
lunge into one ethernet port wireless web entry to point
after one other. We discontinue it the total time. And with LTE, it even basically works!
With wifi, it works every so incessantly. Finest, right?

No longer no doubt, thanks to the Cyber net’s secret shame: all that stuff handiest
works thanks to layer 2 bridging. Cyber net routing can’t handle mobility –
at all. When you recede around on an IP network, your IP take care of changes, and
that breaks any connections you’ve got originate.

Corporate wifi networks faux it for you, bridging their entire LAN together
at layer 2, so that the good central DHCP server always fingers you the identical
IP deal and not using a topic which company wifi web entry to point you be a part of, and then
will get your packets to you, with at most a few seconds of confusion whereas the
bridge reconfigures. Those newfangled home wifi systems with a few
extenders/repeaters discontinue the identical trick. But must you turn from one wifi network to
one other as you rush down the road – admire if there might perchance be a “Public Wifi”
provider in a sequence of stores – effectively, too unfriendly. Every of those provides you a
fresh IP take care of, and each time your IP take care of changes, you execute all of your
connections.

LTE tries even more challenging. You retain your IP take care of (on the total an IPv6 take care of in
the case of cellular networks), even must you high-tail miles and miles and hop
between so a lot of cell towers. How? Properly… they in most cases factual tunnel all
your website visitors encourage to a central website, the place it all will get bridged together
(albeit with hundreds firewalling) into one ravishing-enormous virtual layer 2
LAN. And your connections retain going. At the expense of a ton of
complexity, and a in actuality embarrassing quantity of additional latency, which they
would in actuality admire to fix, however it is nearly unimaginable.

Making cellular IP no doubt work1

So ok, this has been a lengthy tale, however I managed to extract it from those
IETF members within the extinguish. When we obtained up to now – the topic of cellular
IP – I might perchance perchance now not lend a hand however search data from. What went inappropriate? Why can’t we earn it work?

The reply, it turns out, is surprisingly straightforward. The primary form flaw became once
in how the renowned “4-tuple” (source ip, source port, destination ip,
destination port) became once outlined. We expend the 4-tuple to establish a given TCP
or UDP session; if a packet has those four fields the identical, then it belongs
to a given session, and we can disclose it to no topic socket is handling that
session. However the 4-tuple crosses two layers: internetwork (layer 3) and
transport (layer 4). If, as an various, we had identified classes the expend of
handiest layer 4 data, then cellular IP would grasp worked completely.

Let’s discontinue a instant instance. X port 1111 is speaking to Y port 80, so it sends
a packet with 4-tuple (X,1111,Y,80). The response comes encourage with
(Y,80,X,1111), and the kernel delivers it to the socket that generated the
usual packet. When X sends more packets tagged (X,1111,Y,80), then Y
delivers all of them to the identical server socket, etc.

Then, if X hops IP addresses, it will get a brand fresh name, voice Q. Now it might perchance perchance perchance commence
sending packets with (Q,1111,Y,80). Y has no notion what which draw, and
throws it away. Meanwhile, if Y sends packets tagged (Y,80,X,1111), they
web misplaced, because there is now not this kind of thing as a longer an X to receive them.

Factor in now that we tagged sockets regardless of their IP take care of.
For that to work, we would want a lot bigger port numbers (that are currently 16
bits). Let’s earn them, voice, 128 or 256 bits, some roughly uncommon hash.

Now X sends out packets to Y with designate (uuid,80). Veil, the packets
themselves unexcited web the (X,Y) addressing data, down at layer 3
– that’s how they net routed to the right machine within the first jam.
However the kernel doesn’t expend the layer 3 data to purchase which
socket to disclose to; it factual uses the uuid. The destination port (80 in
this case) is handiest wanted to provoke a brand fresh session, to establish what
provider you might perchance perchance join to, and must unexcited be now not renowned or missed after that.

For the return route, Y’s kernel caches the proven truth that packets for (uuid)
recede to IP take care of X, which is the take care of it most now not too lengthy ago got (uuid)
packets from.

Now imagine that X changes addresses to Q. It unexcited sends out packets
tagged with (uuid,80), to IP take care of Y, however now those packets arrive
from take care of Q. On machine
Y, it receives the packet and matches it to the socket linked with
(uuid), notes that the packets for that socket are now coming from take care of
Q, and updates its cache. Its return packets can now be sent, tagged as
(uuid), encourage to Q as an various of X. The entire lot works! (Modulo some care
to forestall connection hijacking by impostors.2)

There is handiest one retract: that’s now not how UDP and TCP work, and it is too gradual
to update them. Updating UDP and TCP might perchance perchance perchance be admire updating IPv4 to IPv6; a
mission that sounded straightforward, encourage within the Nineties, however an extended time later, is less
than half of done (and the first half of became once the easy fragment; the lengthy tail
is a lot more challenging).

The sure news is we might perchance perchance perchance be in a field to hack around it with but one other
layering violation. If we throw away TCP – it is getting rather outdated anyway –
and as an various expend QUIC over UDP, then we can factual discontinuance the expend of the UDP 4-tuple
as a connection identifier at all. As a change, if the UDP port number is
the “special mobility layer” port, we unwrap the announce, which is able to be
one other packet with a devoted uuid designate, match it to the right session, and
disclose those packets to the right socket.

There is even more devoted news: the experimental QUIC protocol already, at
least in thought, has the right packet construction to work admire this. It turns
out you’ll need uncommon session identifiers (keys) anyways must it’s essential to make expend of stateless
packet encryption and authentication, which QUIC does. So, perchance with now not
a lot work, QUIC might perchance perchance perchance enhance transparent roaming. What a world that can perchance perchance
be!

At that time, all we would must discontinue is web rid of all last UDP and TCP
from the Cyber net, and then we will surely now not want layer 2
bridging anymore, for right this time, and then we would web rid of
announces and MAC addresses and SDN and DHCP and all that stuff.

And then the Cyber net might perchance perchance perchance be clear again.

1 Edit 2017-08-16: It turns out that nothing in this
fragment requires IPv6. It would work heavenly with IPv4 and NAT, even roaming
across a few NATs.

2 Edit 2017-08-15: Some members asked what “some care to
prevent connection hijacking” might perchance perchance perchance peep admire. There are diverse ways to discontinue
it, however basically the simplest might perchance perchance perchance be to discontinue one thing admire the SYN-ACK-SYNACK
replace TCP does at connection startup. If Y factual trusts the first packet
from the fresh host Q, then it is too straightforward for any attacker to bewitch over the
X->Y connection by merely sending a packet to Y from wherever on the
Cyber net. (Despite the proven truth that it is a little laborious to bet which 256-bit uuid to grasp
in.) But when Y sends encourage a cookie that Q must receive and direction of and send
encourage to Y, that ensures that Q is on the very least a particular person-in-the-heart and now not factual
an outside attacker (which is all TCP would tell anyway). When you are
the expend of an encrypted protocol (admire QUIC3), the handshake might perchance perchance even be protected
by your session key.

3 Edit 2017-10-24: Besides QUIC, there are plenty of diverse
candidates for this kind of protocol, along with MinimaLT. I did now not price
MinimaLT within the starting up since it wasn’t fragment of my usual dialog with
the IETF members, however I make now not indicate to indicate that QUIC is the handiest that it is possible you’ll perchance perchance say
option as a roaming-capable TCP change. In actuality, MinimaLT is the first
protocol I heard of that elegantly solved the roaming self-discipline. Future
alternate concepts that can web adopted, along with by QUIC, is regularly modeled
after MinimaLT’s solution.

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