WG Action: Conclusion of IP Version 6 (ipv6)

Steven M. Bellovin smb at cs.columbia.edu
Fri Sep 28 02:11:30 UTC 2007

On Thu, 27 Sep 2007 13:59:53 -1000
Randy Bush <randy at psg.com> wrote:

> > The REAL problems are not going anywhere for a long time, if ever.
> indeed, many will be with us for a long time.  but there are a bunch
> we could knock off in a few years
>   o dual stack backbones (and it's as much the vendors as the isps
> here)
>   o dual stack consumer cpe
>   o routers that hold 2m routes *with churn* from enterprise to
> backbone o test equipment to differentiate vendor hot air from actual
>     performance
>   o nat-pt with standardized algs for at least dns, smtp, http, sip,
> and rtp
I once complained to Bjarne Stroustrup about some aspect of C++.  He
replied that it was not the best possible language, but rather the
best language possible.  He was dealing with programmers who were
recent converts to C; indeed, many of them had only recently been
weaned from lower-level assembler languages.  (Doug McIlroy once told
me that C was the best assembler language he'd ever used.  I agree with
him.)  I feel much the same about IPv6.

IPv6 isn't what I wanted it to be.  During the IPng directorate,
several of us (including me and at least one of the chairs) pushed very
hard for id/locator split.  We lost.  That was 1994; it's over and done
with.  But it took 13 years from then to a (mostly) complete set of
specs and universal implementation, at least in all systems shipping
today.  Even if there was universal agreement that the design was wrong
and that we should start over, I can't see it taking less than 10 years
to get back to the current level of maturity.  We don't have that
long.  We don't even have any guarantees that we'd get everything right
if we tried again; while we could avoid today's known pitfalls, I'm
sure there are \aleph_0 more waiting for us.  To me, then, the question
is "now what?"

We have to get off of v4.  We're dying the death of a thousand NATs.
What we have to do is push the responsible parties -- CPE vendors,
ISPs, router vendors, and yes, the IETF -- to fill in the holes.

		--Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb

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