a modest proposal

Walt Haas haas at ski.utah.edu
Sat Apr 16 18:48:51 UTC 1994


The idea below seemed to make sense last night after a couple of margaritas
at the Rio Grande Cafe, let's see if anybody else thinks it will fly.  If
this isn't the right place to discuss it let me know, I will forward it
appropriately.

-- Walt
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      PROPOSAL FOR A NEW NAME/ADDRESS PARADIGM FOR THE INTERNET

			    April 16, 1994

			    Walter O. Haas
			  University of Utah
		       Salt Lake City, UT 84112
			 <haas at ski.utah.edu>


1. Internet names are the property of the user, not the network service
   provider.  An Internet name has much the same legal status as a 
   registered trademark, and is suited to appear in advertising and
   other literature completely independently of the Internet service
   provider currently employed by the user.  Internet names will be
   issued by a central authority directly to the user.  Optionally,
   a network service provider may handle the necessary paperwork for a
   user to obtain a name, but this does not give the said provider any
   right or interest in the name issued and the provider must not attempt
   to mislead the user to the effect that it has such a right.

2. Internet addresses consist of a <provider-part> and a <customer-part>.
   The <provider-part> belongs to the Internet service provider, and is
   used by Internet routers to switch traffic to agreed points of that
   service provider's network.  The <customer-part> belongs to the customer.
   A complete Internet address is of the form <provider-part>.<customer-part>.
   If the customer decides to obtain services from a different provider,
   the customer shall adopt addresses using the <provider-part> of the
   desired provider.  It shall be possible for a customer host to be
   multi-homed to two addresses with different <provider-parts>, either
   temporarily or permanently.

   The <provider-part> consists of two areas: a <provider-id> which identifies
   the organization providing service, followed by a <provider-specified>
   part which tells that provider's network how to route to the customer
   network.  Thus a complete Internet address can be specified as

	<provider-id>.<provider-specified>.<customer-part>

   Providers are assigned a <provider-id> by a global authority, but
   may choose their <provider-specified> part according to their internal
   criteria, which may include (but are not limited to) technology, 
   geography, business plan, and perceived customer desires.  All providers
   are required to forward traffic to any of the globally-defined <provider-id>
   values, but are not required to process any portion of the Internet address
   beyond that (except their own).  There shall however be a defined upper
   limit on the size of the <provider-specified> and <customer-part>.

3. Each user host shall be configured with its Internet name.  Upon
   booting, the host shall send a Name-to-Address Request (NARQ) packet to a
   defined broadcast address.  The NARQ packet will contain the host's
   name.  A server will respond with a Name-to-Address Reply (NARP)
   packet containing the Internet address of that host.

4. If the customer decides to change Internet service providers, it will
   need to assign a new <provider-part> corresponding to the new Internet
   address of the new service provider to each host.  This will be done
   by giving the new <provider-part> to the customer's nameserver, which
   will then send appropriate NARP packets to the relevant network hosts
   which will then each have two Internet addresses.  This operation
   obviously needs appropriate security.  When the customer's network has
   acquired the new set of addresses and the old service provider is no
   longer in use, then the customer's nameserver can send an appropriate
   Name-to-Address Invalid (NANA) packet to each host to invalidate that
   address from its configuration.  This operation also needs to be
   secure.
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