Class "B" forsale (fwd)

Jim Fleming JimFleming at
Mon Mar 10 20:28:02 UTC 1997

On Monday, March 10, 1997 5:46 AM, Michael Shields[SMTP:shields at] wrote:
@ > So, since I paid money for my car registration & license plates, I should 
@ > be able to sell my plates to someone else to put on their car?
@ I believe that people with spiffy vanity plates have sold them.  Why not?
@ But discussion about the Internet is always plagued with analogies.
@ IP address allocation is not really like the allocation of land, or
@ phone numbers, or pollution credits, or milk quotas, or typing paper,
@ or license plates, or routing table slots, or cocaine.  It's sort of
@ like all of these things, but not completely like any of them.  And
@ the nature of an analogy is that it pretends two things are similar in
@ all ways.
@ The best way to think about this is not: "IP addresses should be
@ allocated in X way because Y is allocated that way," "But IP addresses
@ are not like Y," "Are so!", but instead: "What is the current policy
@ on IP address allocation?  What are the implications?  What would be
@ the implications of this other policy?"
@ Analogies are a good tool when things really are the same, but nothing
@ hurts you like using the wrong tool.  Since IP addresses are not like
@ other things, there is not much to compare them to.
@ -- 
@ Shields, CrossLink.

Analogies are sometimes useful when trying to explain
complex technical problems to a non-technical person.

Imagine trying to explain IP address allocations to
a U.S. Senator. Imagine trying to explain routing
tables, flapping, aggregation, source filtering, etc.

Imagine trying to explain how "fair" the allocation
policies are and trying to define an "upstream
provider". Just trying to define an ISP is a challenge
in itself.

Instead, imagine starting with...

	"IP addresses are like phone numbers"
	"Senator, the companies in your State have
	no phone numbers allocated to them, the
	State of Virginia controls those..."
	"Yes Senator, people in the State of
	Virginia now want to charge fees to
	obtain phone numbers from their stock pile..."
	"Where did they get those phone numbers ?
	well Senator, they obtained them from
	"Yes, Senator people in California do not
	have to pay the State of Virginia for their
	phone numbers they get them directly from
	the source..."
	"Yes, Senator there are exceptions, lots
	of exceptions...Nooo, they are not documented
	the Internet does not have anything like the
	Confressional Record...there are mailing
	lists but people can delete records after the
	fact if they do not like the story that unfolds..."

<click>.....<dial tone>

Jim Fleming
Unir Corporation

JimFleming at
JimFleming at unety.s0.g0 (EDNS/IPv8)

More information about the NANOG mailing list