I know that I already blogged about being back from SharkFest 2009. I wanted to write about my favorite keynote speaker, Dr. Lawrence Roberts. He was one of the founders of the Internet and TCP/IP.

Overview of Internet growth
During his presentation he said that 80% of Internet traffic is caused by 5% of the people and most of the traffic created by this 5% is P2P.  He went on to point out that in 2008 22% of the population was online.  By 2018 it will be at 99%.

It’s about the flows
At one point during his lecture, he talked about how routing and switching technologies are becoming intertwined. I thought that was interesting as I felt this was true back when I worked at Cabletron Systems. He said connections on the Internet are about the ‘flows’. A lovely word for a Cisco NetFlow Analyzer company. 🙂  He was making reference to QoS over the Internet.

Control Internet traffic
I got pretty excited when he talked about his proposed standard TIA 1039 for better management of Internet traffic. It sort of reminded me of IntServ. Anyway, in the TIA 1039 document he outlines a Quality of Service (QoS) signaling proposal for use within IPv4 and IPv6 network-layer protocols. It sounds a bit similar to my blog on connection-oriented data networking.

A brief on TIA 1039
When a host initiates communication, each network router/switch in the path examines the QoS structure and agrees to or adjusts the rates requested to the rates it can support. If any of the rate parameters have been changed by the network elements in the flow path, the receiver communicates this back to the sender. A max and minimum bandwidth for the connection is settled upon as well as a ToS value. A guarantee like this is sure to manage traffic better and guarantee minimal latency for voice and video communications.  Cisco designed something similar with IntServ but I don’t think it scales too well. Hence Cisco settled on DiffServ which like IntServ capitalizes on the 6-bit DSCP field. Let’s hope Dr. Roberts has worked out the scaling issues.

Billing for guaranteed quality connections
You can bet there will be billing involved for the guaranteed connections and a good NetFlow tracker can help. There will probably be at least two types of Internet bandwidth set aside:
• The good ol’ traditional Internet (i.e. best effort) will still be there whereby you fight for what you can get. I’m sure it will work like frame relay where as long as no one is asking for the guaranteed bandwidth, the switches and routers will allow the best effort traffic to compete for some or all of the available pipe.
• When a host needs a quality connection over the pipe, the best effort traffic may have to be throttled back to its CIR (committed information rate) so that another guaranteed connection can be put in place.

I’m glad Dr. Roberts is still working hard and trying to fix some of our Internet woes. We’ll do our part with NetFlow and sFlow collection and billing.

Mike Patterson author pic


Michael is one of the Co-founders and the former product manager for Scrutinizer. He enjoys many outdoor winter sports and often takes videos when he is snowmobiling, ice fishing or sledding with his kids. Cold weather and lots of snow make the best winters as far as he is concerned. Prior to starting Somix and Plixer, Mike worked in technical support at Cabletron Systems, acquired his Novell CNE and then moved to the training department for a few years. While in training he finished his Masters in Computer Information Systems from Southern New Hampshire University and then left technical training to pursue a new skill set in Professional Services. In 1998 he left the 'Tron' to start Somix which later became Plixer.


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