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Title:Geoff Huston -
Geoff Huston -
ISP Articles
BGP Table
CIDR Report
Recent Articles
Declaring IPv6 an Internet Standard
April 2016
At the recent IETF meeting the topic of making IPv6 an Internet Standard came up. What is perhaps a little surprising is that it is not an Internet Standard already. Equally surprisingly, it is probably not quite ready to be an Internet Standard. And I think that's a good thing! More...
IPv6 and the Internet of Things
April 2016
It has often been claimed that IPv6 and the Internet of Things are strongly aligned, to the extent that claims are made they mutually dependant. Each needs the other. However, the evidence we have so far with small self-managed device deployments does not provide a compelling justification of this case. The question here is: Does the Internet of Things require IPv6 as an essential precondition, or are we going to continue to deploy an ever expanding population of micro devices within today鈥檚 framework of ever increasing address sharing on IPv4? More...
Declaring IPv4 "Historic"
April 2016
Is it time to declare IPv4 as an "Historic" Protocol Specification and move on with IPv6? Or is this so premature that the proposal is just an April Fools Day prank played out a few days too late? More...
April 2016
For a supposedly simply query response protocol that maps names to IP addresses there a huge amount going on under the hood with the DNS. DNS OARC held a 2 day workshop in Buenos Aires prior to IETF 95. Here are my impressions of this meeting. More...
Rolling Roots
March 2016
In the world of public key cryptography, it is often observed that no private key can be a kept as an absolute secret forever. At some point keys need to be refreshed. And the root key of the DNS is no exception. Its time for this key to change. More...
DNS Zombies
March 2016
It seems that some things just never die, and this includes DNS queries. In a five month experiment encompassing the detailed analysis of some 44 billion DNS queries we find that one quarter of these DNS queries are zombies - queries that have no current user awaiting the response, and instead are echoes of previous queries. What is causing these zombies? Are we seeing deranged DNS resolvers that maniacally re-query the same questions and never accept the answer. Or is this something slightly more sinister and are we seeing evidence of widespread DNS stalking and shadowing? Let's find out. More...
February 2016
NANOG continues to be one of the major gatherings on network operators and admins, together with the folk who work to meet the various needs of this community. Here are my reactions to some of the presentations I heard at NANOG 66, held in San Diego in February. More...
On the Internet Everyone is Connected to Everyone Else - Right?
February 2016
Are we seeing evidence of a fragmented Internet where some places on the Internet cannot reach other places? Are these differences in the perspectives of various routing vantage points signs of underlying fractures of the fabric of connectivity in the Internet? More...
(Full Report)
BGP in 2015
January 2016
The Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP, has been holding the Internet together, for more than two decades and nothing seems to be falling off the edge so far. But the past does not necessarily determine the future. How well is BGP coping with the ever-growing Internet? More...
January 2016
One of the more difficult design exercises in packet switched network architectures is that of the design of packet fragmentation. In this article I鈥檇 like to examine IP packet fragmentation in detail and look at the design choices made by IP version 4, and then compare that with the design choices made by IP version 6. More...
Addressing 2015
January 2016
Time for another annual roundup from the world of IP addresses. What happened in 2015 and what is likely to happen in 2016? More...
What's in a Name?
December 2015
What鈥檚 the difference between .local and .here? Or between .onion and .apple? All four of these labels are capable of being represented in the Internet鈥檚 Domain Name System as a generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), but only two of these are in fact delegated names while the other two cannot be delegated. It seems that Internet no longer has a single coherent name space, but has developed a number of silent and unsignalled fracture lines, and instead of being administered by a single administrative body there are a number of folk who appear to want to have a hand on the tiller! How have we managed to get ourselves into this somewhat uncomfortable position? More...
RIPE 71 Meeting Report
November 2015
The RIPE 71 meeting took place in Bucharest, Romania in November. Here are my impressions from a number of the sessions I attended that I thought were of interest. It was a relatively packed meeting held over 5 days so this is by no means all that was presented through the week. More...
IPv6 Performance
November 2015
Every so often I hear the claim that some service or other does not support IPv6 not because of some technical issue, or some cost or business issue, but simply because the service operator is of the view that IPv6 offers an inferior level service as compared to IPv4, and by offering the service over IPv6 they would be exposing their clients to an inferior level of performance of the service. But is this really the case? Is IPv6 an inferior cousin of IPv4 in terms of service performance? In this article I'd like to report the results of a large scale measurement of IPv4 and IPv6 performance looking at the relativities of IPv6 and IPv4 performance. More...
Transport Protocols
October 2015
One of the early refinements in the Internet protocol model was the splitting of the original Internet protocol from a single monolithic protocol specification into the Internet Protocol (IP) and a pair of transport protocols. The Internet Protocol layer is intended to be used by the internal switches within the network to forward the packet to its intended destination, while the Transport Protocol layer is intended to be used by the source and destination systems. In this article I鈥檇 like to look at what we鈥檝e been doing since then with these transport protocols. More...
NANOG 65 Report
October 2015
NANOG 65 was once again your typical NANOG meeting: a set of operators, vendors, researchers and others for 3 days, this time in Montreal in October. Here鈥檚 my impressions of the meeting. More...
DNS OARC Fall 2015 Workshop
October 2015
The DNS Operations, Analysis and Research Centre holds a 2 day workshop twice a year. These are my impressions of the Fall 2015 workshop, held at the start of October in Montreal. More...
Some Thoughts on the Open Internet
October 2015
I鈥檓 sure we鈥檝e all heard about 鈥渢he Open Internet.鈥 The expression builds upon a rich pedigree of term 鈥渙pen鈥 in various contexts. We seem to have this connotation that 鈥渙pen鈥 is some positive attribute, and when we use the expression of the 鈥淥pen Internet鈥 it seems that we are lauding it in some way. But in what way? So let鈥檚 ask the question: What does the 鈥淥pen Internet鈥 mean? More...
Measuring the Root Zone KSK Keyroll
September 2015
A little over five years ago the root zone of the DNS was signed with DNSSEC for the first time. At the time the Root Zone operators promised to execute a change of key in five years time. It's now that time and we are contemplating a roll of the root key of the DNS. The problem is that we believe that there are number of resolvers who are not going to follow the implicit signalling of a new key value. So for some users, for some domain names things will go dark when this key is rolled. Is there any way to predict in advance how big a problem this will be? More...
The Changing Mobile World
September 2015
Today鈥檚 Internet is undoubtedly the mobile Internet. Sales of all other forms of personal computers are in decline and the market focus is now squarely on tablets, 鈥渟mart鈥 phones and wearable peripherals. You might think that such significant volumes and major revenue streams would underpin a highly competitive and diverse industry base, but you鈥檇 be wrong. In 2014 84% of all of the new mobile smart devices were using Google鈥檚 Android platform, and a further 12% were using Apple鈥檚 iOS system. This consolidation of the platform supply into just two channels is a major change. Further changes are happening. In a world as seemlingly prodigious as the mobile Internet it鈥檚 scarcity that is driving much of these changes, but in this particular case it鈥檚 not the scarcity of IPv4 addresses. It鈥檚 access to useable radio spectrum.More...
The Global Village Idiot
August 2015
I recall from some years back, when we were debating in Australia some national Internet censorship proposal de jour, that if the Internet represented a new Global Village then Australia was trying very hard to position itself as the Global Village Idiot. And the current situation with Australia鈥檚 new Data Retention laws may well support a case for reviving that sentiment.
A Second Look at APNIC and IPv4 Address Exhaustion
August 2015
It has been said often enough that its easy to make predictions; the tough part is getting them right! And in trying to predict the manner that APNIC will exhaust its remaining supply of IPv4 addresses I鈥檓 pretty sure that I did not get it right in the most recent article on this topic. So I鈥檒l try and correct that in a more detailed look at the situation.
Address Transfers in APNIC
August 2015
In 2010 the Asia Pacific Regional Address Policy community adopted a policy that permitted address holders in the region to transfer address registration records, enabling an aftermarket in IPv4 addresses to operate with the support of the APNIC registry function. While APNIC was still able to allocate addresses to meet demands there was very little in the way of activity in this market, but once APNIC was down to its last /8 of addresses in April 2011 the level of transfer activity has picked up. In this article I鈥檇 like to take a more detailed look at APNIC鈥檚 transfer log and see what it can tell us about the level of activity in the address market in the Asia Pacific region.
IPv4 Address Exhaustion in APNIC
August 2015
It has been over 4 years since APNIC, the Regional Internet Registry for the Asia Pacific Region handed out its last 鈥済eneral use鈥 allocation of IPv4 addresses. Since April 2011 APNIC has been restricted to handing out addresses from a 鈥渓ast chance鈥 address pool, and has limited the amount of addresses allocated to each applicant to a maximum of 1,024 addresses, or the equivalent of a /22. In this article I鈥檇 like to review where APNIC is up to with its remaining pools of IPv4 addresses.
Revisiting Apple and IPv6
July 2015
A few weeks ago I wrote about Apple's IPv6 announcements at the Apple
Developers Conference. While I thought that in IPv6 terms Apple gets it,
the story was not complete and there were a number of aspects of Apple's
systems that were not quite there with IPv6. So I gave them a 7/10 for
their IPv6 efforts. Time to reassess that score in the light of a few
recent posts from Apple.
Changes to the Way We Measure IPv6
July 2015
For some years at APNIC Labs we have been conducting measurement
experiments concerning the extent of use of IPv6 using a technique of
embedding the measurements within the advertisement using Adobe Flash. The
use of Adobe Flash as a scripting tool for the measurement system behind
the online advertisement delivery system has always been somewhat of a
compromise, in that we鈥檝e been aware that not all systems support Flash,
but at the time HTML5 was still in its early days. In the middle of June we
added a second advertising stream using HTML5 as the scripting language for
the Ad to augment the existing Flash stream, and in this article we鈥檒l look
at the changes this has meant to the data concerning the level of
deployment of IPv6 as a result.
More Leaky Routes
June 2015
Most of the time, mostly everywhere, most of the Internet appears to
work just fine. Indeed, it seems to work just fine enough to the point that
that when it goes wrong in a significant way then it seems to be fodder for
headlines in the industry press. But there are some valuable lessons to be learned
from these route leaks about approaches to routing security.
An Update on IPv6
June 2015
In the coming weeks another Regional Internet Registry will reach into
its inventory of available IPv4 addresses to hand out and it will find that
there is nothing left. This is by no means a surprise, and the depletion of
IPv4 addresses in the Internet could be seen as one of the longest slow
motion train wrecks in history. As of mid June
2015 ARIN has 2.2 million addresses left in its available pool, and at the
current allocation rate it will take around 30 days to run though this
remaining pool.
Apple and IPv6
June 2015
It鈥檚 Apple鈥檚 Developers Conference time again, and in amongst the
various announcements was week, in the 鈥淧latforms Status of the Union鈥
presentation, was the mention of some recent IPv6 developments. As far as
supporting IPv6 is concerned Apple still appear to get it! But do they
really get all of it? More...
Multipath TCP
June 2015
The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a core protocol of the
Internet networking protocol suite. This protocol transforms the
underlying unreliable datagram delivery service provided by the IP
protocol into a reliable data stream protocol. This protocol was
undoubtedly the single greatest transformative moment in the evolution of
computer networks. The TCP protocol is now some 40 years old, but
that doesn鈥檛 mean that it has been frozen over all these years. More...
June 2015
Some notes from the NANOG 64 meeting. More...
Tech Note: Measuring DNS Behaviour
May 2015
The DNS is a very simple protocol. The protocol is a simple
query / response interaction where the client passes a DNS
transaction to a server with the query part of the transaction
completed. The server fills in the answer part and possibly
adds further information in the additional information part,
and returns the transaction back to the client.
All very simple. What could possibly go wrong? More...
Diving into the DNS
May 2015
The turning of the DNS from a distributed database query
tool into a malicious weapon in the cyber warfare arena has
had profound impacts on the thinking about the DNS. I
remember hearing the rallying cry some years back: "Lets all
work together to find all these open resolvers and shut them
down!" These days I don't hear that any more. It seems that,
like SPAM in email, we've quietly given up on eradication,
and are now focusing on how to preserve service in a toxic
world. I suppose that this is yet another clear case of
markets in action: there is no money in eradication, but
there is money in meeting a customer's requirement to allow
their service to work under any circumstances. We've changed
our self-perception from being the public DNS police to
private mercenaries who work diligently to protect the
interests of our paying customers. We are being paid to care
about the victim, not to catch the attacker or even to
prevent the attack. More...
The Internet of Stupid Things
April 2015
In those circles where Internet prognostications abound and policy
makers flock to hear grand visions of the future, we often hear
about the boundless future represented by 鈥淭he Internet of Things鈥.
In the vision of the Internet of Things we are going to expand the
Internet beyond people and press on with connecting up our world
using billions of these chattering devices in every aspect of our
world. What do we know about the 鈥渢hings鈥 that are already
connected to the Internet? Some of them are not very good. In fact
some of them are just plain stupid. And this stupidity is toxic, in
that their sometimes inadequate models of operation and security can
affect others in potentially malicious ways.
The Mobile Internet
March 2015
It has been observed that the most profound technologies are those
that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday
life until they are indistinguishable from it, and are notable only
by their absence. So how should we regard the Internet? Is it like
large scale electricity power generators: a technology feat that is
quickly taken for granted and largely ignored? Are we increasingly
seeing the Internet in terms of the applications and services that
sit upon it and just ignoring how the underlying systems are
constructed? To what extent is the mobile Internet driving this
change in perception of the Internet as a technology we simply
assume is always available, anytime and anywhere? What is happening
in the mobile world?
Notes from NANOG 63
February 2015
This is a selected summary of the recent NANOG 63 meeting,
held in early February, with some personal views and opinions
thrown in.
Decision Time for the Open Internet
February 2015
On February 26 of this year the Federal Communications Commission
of the United States will vote on a proposed new ruling on the
issue of "Network Neutrality" in the United States, bringing into
force a new round of measures that are intended to prevent certain
access providers from deliberately differentiating service
responses on the carriage services that they provide.
Addressing 2014
January 2015
Time for another annual roundup from the world of IP addresses.
What happened in 2014 and what is likely to happen in 2015? This
is an update to the reports prepared at the same time in previous
years, so lets see what has changed in the past 12 months in
addressing the Internet, and look at how IP address allocation
information can inform us of the changing nature of the network
BGP in 2014
January 2015
The Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP, has been holding the Internet
together, for more than two decades and nothing seems to be falling
off the edge so far. As far as we can tell everyone can still see
everyone else, assuming that they want to be seen, and the
distributed routing system appears to be working smoothly. All
appears to be working within reasonable parameters, and there is no
imminent danger of some routing catastrophe, as far as we can tell.
For a protocol designed some 25 years ago, when the Internet of
that time contained some 10,000 constituent networks, its done well
to scale fifty-fold, to carry in excess of half a million routed
elements by the end of 2014.
Workshop on DNS Future Root Service
December 2014
The theme of a workshop, held at the start of December 2014 in Hong
Kong, was the considerations of further scaling of the root server
system, and the 1陆 day workshop was scoped in the form of
consideration of approaches to that of the default activity of
adding further anycast instances of the existing 13 root server
anycast constellations. This was a workshop operating on at least
three levels. Firstly there was the overt agenda of working through
a number of proposed approaches that could improve the services
provided by the DNS root service. The second was an unspoken agenda
concerned with protecting the DNS from potential national measures
that would 鈥渇ragment鈥 the DNS name space into a number of spaces,
which includes, but by no means not limited to, the DNS blocking
activities that occur at national levels. The third level, and an
even less acknowledged agenda, is that there are various groups who
want to claim a seat at the Root Server table.
The Resolvers We Use
November 2014
The Internet's Domain Name System is a modern day miracle. It may
not represent the largest database that has ever been built, but
nevertheless it's truly massive. The DNS is consulted every time we
head to a web page, every time we send an email message, or in fact
every time we initiate almost any transaction on the Internet. We
assume a lot about the DNS. For example, content distribution
networks are observed to make use of the location of the DNS
resolver as being also the same location as the user. How robust is
this assumption of co-locality of users and their resolvers? Are
users always located "close" to their resolvers? More generally,
what is the relationship between the end user, and the DNS
resolvers that they use? Are they in fact closely related? Or is
there widespread use of distant resolvers?
Who's Watching?
November 2014
It's been more than a year since Edward Snowden released material
concerning the activities of US agencies in the area of
cyber-intelligence gathering. A year later, and with allegations
of various forms of cyber spying flying about, it's probably
useful to ask some more questions. What is a reasonable
expectation about privacy and the Internet? Should we now consider
various forms of digital stalking to be "normal"? To what extent
can we see information relating to individuals'
activities online being passed to others?
October 2014
Yes, that's a cryptic topic, even for an article that addresses
matters of the use of cryptographic algorithms, so congratulations
for getting even this far! This is a report of a an experiment
conducted in September and October 2014 by the authors to measure
the extent to which deployed DNSSEC-validating resolvers fully
support the use of the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm
(ECDSA) with curve P-256.
October 2014
NANOG 62 was held at Baltimore from the 6th to the 9th October.
These are my observations on some of the presentations that
occurred at this meeting.
Privacy and Security - Five Objectives
October 2014
It has been a very busy period in the domain of computer security.
What with "shellshock", "heartbleed" and NTP monlink adding to the
background of open DNS resolvers, port 445 viral nasties, SYN attacks
and other forms of vulnerability exploits, it's getting very hard to
see the forest for the trees. We are spending large amounts of
resources in reacting to various vulnerabilities and attempting to
mitigate individual network attacks, but are we making overall
progress? What activities would constitute "progress" anyway?
Internet Regulation: Section 706 vs Title II
October 2014
At the NANOG meeting in Baltimore this week I listened to a
presentation by Patrick Gilmore on 鈥淭he Open Internet Debate: Section
706 vs Title II鈥. It鈥檚 true that this is a title that would normally
induce a comatose reaction from any audience, but don鈥檛 let the title
put you off. Behind this is an impassioned debate about the nature of
the retail Internet for the United States, and, I suspect, a debate
about the Internet itself and the nature of the industry that provides
How Big is That Network?
October 2014
There is a careful policy path to be followed that encourages
continued investment and innovation in national
telecommunications-related infrastructure and services, while at the
time same time avoiding the formation of market distortions and
inefficiencies. What helps in this regulatory process is clear
information about the state of the industry itself. One of those
pieces of information concerns the market scope of the retail
Internet Service Provider sector. To put it another way, how 鈥渂ig鈥 is
a particular network? How many customers does it serve? Is its
market share increasing or falling?
What's So Special about 512?
September 2014
The 12th August 2014 was widely reported as a day when the Internet
collapsed. Despite the sensational media reports the following day,
the condition was not fatal, and perhaps it could be more
reasonably reported that some parts of the Internet were having a
bad hair day. What was happening was that the Internet鈥檚 growth had
just exceeded the default configuration limits of certain models of
network switching equipment. In this article I'll look at how the
growth of the routing table and the scaling in the size of
transmission circuits impacts on the internal components of network
routing equipment.
Welcome to the personal site of Geoff Huston.
Dedicated to the memory of Michele Huston
Site Links:
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BGP Report
This site is generously supported by APNIC. The material published here does not necessarily represent APNIC's views or policies.
Copyright 漏 2013
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