My InfoWorld Column About NANOG

John Curran jcurran at
Fri Jun 21 18:29:39 UTC 1996

At 11:31 6/21/96, Bob Metcalfe wrote:
>A few of you missed one point at least.  I am NOT suggesting that any of
>YOU start wearing suits, especially if you find them uncomfortable, or that
>they make a statement you are not willing to make -- none of that, no --
>good engineers are too valuable to overdress.  I am suggesting that more of
>the kind of people who ALREADY wear suits should start paying attention to
>the important work NANOG is attempting and start attending your meetings so
>they can pitch in on the non-engineering aspects of operating the Internet.
>Is that clearer now?

I believe that you'll find quite a few folks "concerned with the 
non-engineering aspects of operating the Internet" amongst the
attendee list of each NANOG and IEPG meeting.   There is a great
deal of activity in trying to scale the current Internet, but it
doesn't always happen via the group presentations.   One of the 
disadvantages of the decentralized nature of the Internet is that
different organizations have different views on the best way to
move forward; I'm not certain that a more centralized model
can respond to change as quickly as we've accomplished to date.
Are there particular issues that you think should be addressed
at NANOG and/or IEPG?   Both organizations have a fairly open
policy with respect to agenda items and I imagine that your
suggestions would be most welcome.

>By the way, there are reports from two days ago that 400,000 people lost
>their Internet access for 13 hours.  Sounds like an outage approaching

An interesting characterization...   you'd definitely need to talk 
to NETCOM to determine if it was a "collapse" as opposed to a 
"serious event" or just a "typical failure mode".

>Was that just a Netcom thing that NANOG has no interest in?
>Netcom is not talking very much about what happened.  Any 
>clues/facts out there?  Were any NAPs involved?

Again, NETCOM would be the authoritative source for such info...
Reuter's June 19th coverage noted that the problem was related to 
a problem with a routine change to the "routing table".   I will note
that operating a large Internet backbone requires availability of 
staff with very specialized skills in both Internet routing and 
high-speed networking, and all Internet service providers face 
quite a challenge in maintaining such staff.   This is a risk factor 
to Internet growth and stablility that receives little attention but 
nevertheless is quite real.


p.s.   Bob - It's possible that not all NANOG folks have a strong interest
        in this thread; have you considering creating a mailing list to host 
        a discussion on the Internet's "imminent collapse"? 

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