meeting agenda

Sean Donelan SEAN at SDG.DRA.COM
Sun Jan 14 01:43:53 UTC 1996

>Hello Alan - Here's a PARTIAL list of presentations we've planned so far: 

I hesitate to suggest a presentation, because I don't have any solutions
only problems.  A couple of months ago this list had a thread on communicating
network outage information, network usability, and generally keeping
network operators and users informed about the current state of the

   - Overall network reliability tracking, better or worse?

      While individual network providers track their own network
      reliability, is there a need to report and track some data
      on an Internet-wide basis similar to the reliability reporting
      done in other industries (telephone, airline, etc)?

      While anyone could track network outages on their own through
      massive invasive testing, it usually doesn't reveal the cause
      of the outage.  What is the biggest threat to network reliability?
      A farmer with a backhoe, or a network engineer at a console?

      Is there a neutral third-party which could blind and summarize
      the data?  I'm not an academic type, so I don't know what would
      be involved in getting funding at one of the national labs for
      such a project.  Or do we wait the the FCC to mandate something?

   - No one is perfect

      Everyone should plan for the disaster which will hit their network
      at some point.  Whenever a network melts down, the next thing to go
      is the NOC communication lines.  I haven't seen a network provider
      with sufficient staff to answer all the calls, and repair their
      network at the same time when it goes down.  Either calls go unanswered,
      or the network doesn't get repaired, or sometimes both.

      The 1-800 problem reporting method isn't scaling well.  Alternatives?

   - Everything hasn't failed at once [for a long time]

      I don't think there has been an Internet-wide ('net-wide) failure
      since BBN made Butterfly gateways and one lost its mind.

      This means, even though one network provider is wiped out, other
      networks could pass along reports about the current state of
      the network.  How can this reporting function be decentralized?

   - Finally, keep network users informed

      Since we have a hard time tracking who is using what (if we even
      wanted to track users), out-of-band notification isn't great for
      notifying users.  Ideally the network itself could be used to
      inform just those users affected why things aren't working.  Any
      chance of wedging a "user information" field into the IPng ICMP
      destination unreachable message?  It would be nice to tell the
      user in the ICMP message: "Beep BOOP BEEP, We're sorry your
      packet could not be delivered as addressed due to a ...."  Instead
      of waiting for the users  to call the NOC which probably is already
      snowed under with calls.

      Since the 'net as a whole doesn't fail that often, but pieces
      of the 'net fail frequently, in-band notification isn't as crazy
      an idea as it seems.

Any thoughts how to turn this into a presentation topic?
Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation

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