Saturday, October 16, 2010

BGP - Big Gateway Problems?

BGP, a.k.a. Border Gateway Protocol, is the protocol for inter AS routing on the Internet today. It has problems which are well known and many solutions to those problems have been proposed. However, the proposals are largely still just proposals, the problems persist and continue to grow.

When we studied transport, we saw a similar pattern. In time, problems with the status quo became apparent and many solutions were proposed. Actual implementation of proposals seems to come very slowly, if ever.

Evidently, we will run out of IPv4 addresses shortly, and everyone has known about it for a long time. IPv6 was not only proposed as a solution, but has begun to be implemented. But implementation has been very very slow.

It seems that things which become used by a very large number of people, become very resistant to change, even if change is sorely needed. I think about those people whose life's work is proposing solutions which, no matter how good, are highly likely to never be implemented. It could definitely be discouraging. I suppose that academics need to find satisfaction in simply illuminating an important point which may end up being only one small piece in a large and complex puzzle.

Is there any way we could make substantial progress faster?

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