Network visibility

Mel Beckman mel at
Thu Oct 21 18:28:49 UTC 2021


Silly schmilly. These are important matters of great import, and thus it’s important someone has the final say.

And since you agree with me, I’m happy for that to be you :)


On Oct 21, 2021, at 11:16 AM, Miles Fidelman <mfidelman at<mailto:mfidelman at>> wrote:


You guys were in grade school, some of us were there at the beginning (well, in my case, 2 years after the beginning).  I can assure you that folks made a big deal about what was and wasn't the Internet, and the distinction between "an internet" and "the (capital I) Internet."  Opinions varied then, and opinions vary now.

But... by and large, as I understand the general zeitgeist:

- you're either on the Internet, or you're not - the key question is whether you can send & receive IP packets from the public address space (i.e., the classified segments are internets, but not part of THE Internet).  There are also disagreements on where the Internet ends - at the demarc, or at the IP stack in your machine (I argue the latter, but that's debatable)

- as to when the Internet was born... that's also debatable.  The ARPANET started passing it's first packets in Sept. 1969 - that's a known point in time.  One could probably find the date when the first IP packet crossed transited a router between two networks.  Beyond that, the Flag Day is about as good a date as any - before that there it all was a gaggle of networks, some routers (then called gateways), supporting various internetworking protocols, including IP.  But the Flag Day made it all official - except for a few special exceptions, that marks the date that every machine on the net was reachable by IP, and NOT by NCP.

So... how about dropping all the pontification.  It just makes you look silly.

Miles Fidelman

Owen DeLong via NANOG wrote:

On Oct 21, 2021, at 08:55 , Mel Beckman <mel at<mailto:mel at>> wrote:

On Oct 21, 2021, at 8:19 AM, Owen DeLong <owen at<mailto:owen at>> wrote:

No, but you are ignoring the point of my message…

The TCP/IP internet existed _BEFORE_ the flag day you mentioned. The flag day was the end of NCP, not the beginning of TCP/IP. IIRC, at the time,


But we’re not talking about the birth of TCP/IP. We’re talking about the birth of the capital-I Internet, which by definition runs exclusively on TCP/IP, and that didn’t start until Jan 1, 1983. Although there was experimentation using IP during 1982, that was still ARPANET. It was the guaranteed exclusive availability of IP that made 1983 the Internet’s birth date.

IMHO, that’s an absurd definition. It was still ARPANET after January 1, 1983 too. Prior to 1982, it was ARPANET on NCP. During 1982, it was ARPANET running on NCP+TCP/IP, much like the Internet runs dual stack today on IPv4 and IPv6.

In 1983, NCP was removed from most of the backbone, as I hope will happen with IPv4 in the next few years.

And no, it’s not analogous to the eventual IPv6 transition, because both IPv5 and IPv4 are Capital-I Internet standard protocols.

You’re picking arbitrary definitions of Capital-I Internet standards. NCP was every bit as standardized as TCP/IP in 1982.

Both were documented in the same IEN series of documents.

IEN later (well after TCP/IP) evoked to become RFC.

Don’t believe me? Look at the hosts.txt file from IPv4 days which still referenced IEN116.


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.  .... Yogi Berra

Theory is when you know everything but nothing works.
Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
In our lab, theory and practice are combined:
nothing works and no one knows why.  ... unknown

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