IPv4 address length technical design

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 23:52:56 UTC 2012

On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 4:36 PM, Barry Shein <bzs at world.std.com> wrote:
> In Singapore in June 2011 I gave a talk at HackerSpaceSG about just
> doing away with IP addresses entirely, and DNS.
> Why not just use host names directly as addresses? Bits is bits, FQDNs
> are integers because, um, bits is bits. They're even structured so you
> can route on the network portion etc.
> Routers themselves could hash them into some more efficient form for
> table management but that wouldn't be externally visible. I did
> suggest a standard for such hashing just to help with debugging etc
> but it'd only be a suggestion or perhaps common display format.
> About the only obvious objection, other than vague handwaves about
> compute efficiency, is it would potentially make packets a lot longer
> in the worst case scenario, longer than common MTUs tho not much
> longer unless we also allow a lengthening of host name max, 1024 right
> now I believe? So 2K max for src/dest and whatever other overhead
> payload you need, not unthinkable.
> OTOH, it just does away with DNS entirely which is some sort of
> savings.
> There are obviously some more details required, this email is not a
> replacement for a set of RFCs!

You'd still need DNS for non-A/PTR types of records.

This scheme fails miserably in one practical manner - it's impossible
to tell people far away from the source of a DNS / name domain's
authority that a.foo.com and b.foo.com are in the UK and c.foo.com and
d.foo.com are in Japan.  With IP addresses, heirarchical blocks make
routing trivial.  Name based routing is ... seems hard, or insanely
hard for "real complex networks" as opposed to trivial end user types
of situations.  Possibly unworkably hard.

One could rename things such as having a.location.foo.com but you
still encounter the problem that you have to propogate knowledge of
where location.foo.com is further out into the universe.

Nice troll and/or wild-crazy-idea though.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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