Revisiting the Aviation Safety vs. Networking discussion

Anton Kapela tkapela at
Fri Dec 25 09:57:06 CST 2009

On Fri, Dec 25, 2009 at 5:44 AM, Vadim Antonov <avg at> wrote:

> The ISP industry has a long way to go until it reaches the same level of
> sophistication in handling problems as aviation has.

It seems that there's a logical fallacy floating around somewhere
(networks have parts and are complicated, airplanes and flight involve
lots of parts and are also complicated, therefore aircraft are like
networks). I assert that comparing 'packet switching' to an industry
that has its roots in the late 1800's and had its first "hello world"
moment in 1903 isn't terribly fruitful.

Further, aircraft are the asymptotic limit of 'singly homed transit.'
Because of this, I think one could argue that pilots and ATC must be
held to a different professional standard due to the nature of public
trust at risk.  At the other end of our strawman spectrum, we have end
users who must accept the risk that their provider will be unable to
connect them to on occasion, perhaps as often as 0.01% per
year, and most are happy to accept this. Four nines survivability on
flights, clearly, won't work.

What I'm getting at is that after following this thread for a while,
I'm not convinced any amount of process-borrowing is going to solve
problems better, faster, or even avoid them in the first place. At
best, our craft is 1/3rd as "old" (if that's somehow I measure of
maturity) as flight and nobody is being sued to settle 200+ accidental
deaths because of our mistakes.


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