Papers about Research Questions for the Internet
This page maintains pointers to papers that describe some of the
open research questions regarding the evolution of the Internet
infrastructure. Related web pages include
Papers on the Evolvability of the Internet Infrastructure
References on Layering and the Internet Architecture.
Topics so far:
Evolution and Deployment,
Web Caching and CDNs,
IP over Optical,
John C. Klensin,
Role of the Domain Name System,
draft-klensin-dns-role-01.txt, 2001, internet-draft, work in
"The original function and purpose of the DNS is reviewed, and
contrasted with some of the functions into which it is being forced
today and some of the newer demands being placed upon it or suggested
for it... This document [is] ... a strong suggestion that
the time has come to begin thinking more broadly about the problems
we are encountering and possible approaches to solving them."
Notes from the State-Of-The-Technology: DNSSEC,
draft-lewis-state-of-dnssec-02.txt, April 2001, internet-draft, work in
"The current collective wisdom is that DNSSEC is 1) important, 2) a
buzzword, 3) hard, 4) immature. To capture the true state of the
technology and identify where work is needed, an informal gathering of
groups known to be involved in DNSSEC was held in conjunction with the
- Zita Wenzel and James Seng,
Requirements of Internationalized Domain Names,
draft-ietf-idn-requirements-08.txt, 2001, internet-draft, work
in progress. Expired?
"This document describes the requirement for encoding international
characters into DNS names and records... This document assumes that the
most effective solution involves putting
non-ASCII names inside some parts of the overall DNS system."
Christophe Diot et al.,
Deployment Issues for the IP Multicast Service and Architecture,
IEEE Network, January 2000.
"We examine the issues that have limited the commercial deployment of
IP-multicast from the viewpoint of carriers.
We analyze where the model fails, what
it does not offer, and we discuss requirements for successful
deployment of multicast services."
The End of the End-to-End Argument,
"I would argue that we need more than ever to understand [the end-to-end
argument] and to apply it as we evolve the network...
Future potential is hard to visualize, but our inability to make out the
details should not justify locking the doors
against new ways to use the network."
Sally Floyd: Questions.
"If anyone has (partial) answers to any of these questions, I would be
of a QoS Solution for Mobile IP.
draft-ietf-mobileip-qos-requirements-02.txt, internet draft, work in
"This document describes requirements for an IP QoS
mechanism for its satisfactory operation with Mobile IP."
Subnet Mobility Problem Statement,
internet draft, work in progress.
"This draft represents a problem statement to enable investigation of
how a local subnet mobility routing protocol can be employed to
enable mobility and fast network recovery."
Sally Floyd and Vern Paxson,
Difficulties in Simulating the Internet
February, 2001. To appear in IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking.
"Modeling and simulating the Internet
is not an easy task.
The goal of this paper is to discuss some of the issues and
in modeling Internet traffic, topologies, and protocols."
Christophe Diot et al,
Communication: A Survey of Protocols, Functions and Mechanisms,
"For each topic... we describe the state of the art and we
present the areas of current active reserach."
Ian Brown, Jon Crowcroft, Mark Handley, and Brad Cain,
Internet Multicast Tomorrow,
The Internet Protocol Journal (IPJ), December 2002.
"We have looked at some of the newer ideas in the research and
development community in the area of multicast."
Network Management Research Group.
"The Network Management Research Group (NMRG) provides a forum for
researchers to explore new technologies for the management of
S. Shenker, D. Clark, D. Estrin, S. Herzog,
Pricing in Computer Networks: Reshaping the Research Agenda,
Communications Policy. Vol. 20(1), 1996.
"The more academic
literature has largely focused
on devising optimal pricing policies; achieving optimal welfare
marginal congestion costs for usage. In this paper we critique this
optimality paradigm ...
we contend that the research agenda on pricing in
computer networks should shift away from the optimality paradigm and
focus more on structural and architectural issues."
web page on
Pricing Internet Resources.
(Last modified in 1998...)
- G. Huston,
Next Steps for the IP QoS Architecture,
RFC 2990, November 2000.
"This document highlights the outstanding architectural issues
relating to the deployment and use of QoS mechanisms within internet
A. Chakrabarti and B. Manimaran,
Internet Infrastructure Security: A Taxonomy,
IEEE Network, November/December 2002.
"There is a compelling need to develop architectures, algorithms,
and protocols to realize a dependable Internet infrastructure...
The first and foremost step is to develop a compresive understanding
of the security threats and existing solutions."
- Thomas Hardjono et al.,
Secure IP Multicast: Problem areas, Framework, and Building Blocks,
draft-irtf-smug-framework-01.txt, September 2000, internet-draft, work
in progress. Expired?
"This document provides a foundation for the research work done as the
Multicast Group (SMuG)of the IRTF."
- B. Braden et al.,
Recommendations on Queue Management and Congestion Avoidance
in the Internet,
RFC 2309, April 1998.
"This memo presents two recommendations to the Internet community...
It ... urges a concerted effort of research, measurement, and
ultimate deployment of router mechanisms to protect the Internet
from flows that are not sufficiently responsive to congestion
- Control of traffic from flash crowds and Denial of Service attacks.
M. Allman et al.,
Ongoing TCP Research Related to Satellites,
RFC 2760, February 2000.
"The goal of this document is to educate researchers as to the
current work and progress being done in TCP research related to
satellite networks... The research community is encouraged to examine
mitigations in an effort to determine which are safe for use in
shared networks such as the Internet."
- New transport protocols and congestion control mechanisms:
Reliable Multicast Research Group.
"The RMRG purpose is collectively to solve some hard problems about
reliable multicast transport protocols."
- New congestion control mechanisms for unicast traffic.
B. Carpenter et al.,
Middleboxes: Taxonomy and Issues,
RFC 3234, Informational, February 2002.
"The principle goal of this document is to describe and analyse the
current impact of middleboxes on the architecture of the Internet and
its applications... Goals that might follow on from this work are ...
to identify additional work that should be done in the IETF and IRTF."
Networking Issues of Grid Infrastructures,
Grid High Performance Networking Research Group,
"Two specific goals of the GHPN-RG are identifying:
(1) grid application
requirements and implementations that are not supported or understood
by the networking community and:
(2) advanced networking features that
are not being utilized by grid applications."
Looking Over the Fence at Networks: A Neighbor's View of
Networking Research (2001).
CSTB Annual Convening on Research Horizons, January 2001.
Box 4.1: "The items that follow ... were identified as interesting
questions worthy of further consideration and perhaps useful directions
for future networking research." The items include questions of
modularity by protocol layering, topological regions, or administrative
domains; successors to the end-to-end model; fault isolation;
content-based addressing; management, signalling, and control;
making topological information available to higher layers;
alternatives to cooperative congestion control; addressing economic
incentives as well as technical constraints; middleware; and
using overlays to deploy disruptive technologies.
Internet Research: Comments on Formulating the Problem
"The goal of this note is to further the discussion of implicit and
explicit assumptions in network research."
David D. Clark and Marjory S. Blumenthal,
Rethinking the design of the Internet: The end to end arguments vs.
the brave new world, August 2000.
"This paper looks at the Internet and the changing set of requirements
for the Internet that are emerging as it becomes more commercial, more
oriented towards the consumer, and used for a wider set of purposes...
We argue that the open, general nature of the Net, which derived from
the end to end arguments, is a valuable characteristic that encourages
innovation, and this flexibility should be preserved."
This paper contains sections on "Design issues in adding mechanism to
the core of the network" and on "Labels on information". While this
paper does not specifically outline open research questions, it
lays out the future context and new forces affecting the development
of the Internet.
The organizational issues facing the evolution of the Internet
are not traditional, technical research questions, but need to be
mentioned on a list
of open issues nevertheless.
- Funding models for collaborative services such as the DNS.
This web page is partly a response to a recent
call for white papers
that seems to imply that research targeted at the evolution of the
Internet infrastructure is necessarily near-term and limited, and that
what is needed are "non-evolutionary", "bold", "radically new visions"
that "revolutionize future networks".
My own opinion would be that there is extraordinary power in the
rough and discontinuous evolution of the current infrastructure.
With an evolutionary approach, changes can happen not only
top-down from above, as decreed by funding sources, but can also
happen bottom-up, by enabling changes that are complementary to
the current forces, and that help to harness and focus the energies of a
vast, distributed, decentralized community and infrastructure.
Thanks to Harald Alvestrand, Jon Crowcroft, and Ratul Mahajan for additions to this list.
Proposed additions to this page can be sent to
Last modified: June 2003