LCN 2001

The 26th Annual IEEE Conference on
Local Computer Networks (LCN)

Keynote Presentations

Last update: 2 July 2001

Rich Seifert's Top Ten List of Stupid Networking Ideas

Rich Seifert, Networks and Communications Consulting

We like to think that the evolution of networks followed a clear, logical path from the simplest connections and protocols of the 1950s to the rich set of technologies and features available in the Internet today. At each stage of development, intelligent engineers and network professionals applied ever-more-advanced technology to continually improve upon prior art, eliminating its limitations when possible, and creating the opportunity for new applications and user benefits.

Fat chance. In practice, network evolution — like human evolution — has been a Darwinian process. In biology, evolution is driven by the ability to survive and reproduce. In networking, evolution is driven by the ability to solve customers' problems at a price they are willing to pay. To this end, lots of new ideas and alternatives are proposed. Some of these are developed into commercial products; those products that provide the maximum customer benefit at the lowest cost survive, and reap profit rewards upon their creators, whose careers and companies live for yet another day, to create the next generation of products.

It is easy to see who survived the evolutionary tests. Those species that exist today have, by definition, met the challenges imposed upon them up to now. Analogously, ubiquitous network technologies such as Ethernet and TCP/IP have demonstrated their superior ability to meet the price and performance tests of customer applications.

We can learn a lot about survival by looking at the roadkill strewn along the shoulders of the evolutionary highway. Not all ideas are brilliant, nor is a given technology automatically better just because it is new. There have been a lot of bone-headed proposals, products, and even international standards in the networking arena. Millions of dollars (and thousands of careers) have been invested in evolutionary dead-end streets. Of course, it's hard to know when you're on a one-way route to oblivion, because the roads are not marked in advance. All we can do is apply our knowledge (especially the history of previous failures), choose our course, and hope it doesn't take us off a cliff.

In this talk, Rich Seifert presents his thoroughly biased and opinionated selection and explanation of the Top Ten Stupid Networking Ideas of the past 20 years, a few Honorable Mentions that didn't make the premier cut, and some insight into what are likely to be on the list at LCN 2011.

Rich Seifert, M.S.E.E., M.B.A., is President of Networks and Communications Consulting, in Los Gatos, California. Formerly with Digital Equipment Corporation, Mr. Seifert was one of the designers of the commercial 10 Mb/s Ethernet, and author of the original DEC-Intel-Xerox Ethernet specifications. He had broad technical responsibility for all of DEC's LAN products until 1984, when he helped launch Industrial Networking, a manufacturer of factory LAN products. Since 1988, Mr. Seifert has provided consulting services to a wide range of computer and communications systems manufacturers, semiconductor companies and large end users.

He is co-author of the IEEE 802.1, 802.3, 802.4 and 802.3u (Fast Ethernet) standards, was chairman and editor of the IEEE 802.3x Full Duplex/Flow Control standard, was active in the Gigabit Ethernet Task Force, and recently completed editing the IEEE 802.3ad standard for Link Aggregation. His book, Gigabit Ethernet: Technology and Applications for High-Speed LANs, was published by Addison-Wesley in 1998; The Switch Book: The Complete Guide to LAN Switching Technology, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2000.

Rich's current areas of interest include work on Gigabit Ethernet products, Switching and Routing silicon, DSP-based LAN interfaces, Storage Area Networks, Protocol design, and new network architectures.

Mr. Seifert teaches courses on networking for the University of California, both at Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Oxford University, and many private companies, and has the world's largest collection of outrageous neckties.

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Mobile IPv6: Underpinning the Future Mobile Internet

Charles Perkins, Nokia Research Center

The "anytime, anywhere" Internet depends on a lot of technology that hasn't been developed yet. It's not even so sure that we can grow the Internet past the one billion mark without significant changes in the current technical directions. In this presentation, I describe Mobile IPv6, one possible new approach to the problem. Working from the solid underpinnings of IPv6 to obtain the necessary address space and low-level features of address management, Mobile IPv6 is likely to emerge as the most economical and efficient solution to the problems of global mobility management. It has been designed to simplify Internet connectivity for wireless devices, which have traditionally been restricted to movement within domains managed by layer-2 mechanisms. As Mobile IPv6 approaches Proposed Standard, new work has focussed on devising protocols and solutions for problems of seamless handovers, transfer for context features between access routers, and new security models. The result should be substantially improved roaming capabilities, even between dissimilar media, and all at lower prices. I will describe these areas of interest, and also give some idea of the future challenges facing the continued development of the converged mobile Internet.

Charles E. Perkins is a Nokia Fellow in the Communication Systems Laboratory at Nokia Research Center, investigating mobile wireless networking and dynamic configuration protocols. He is the editor for several ACM and IEEE journals for areas related to wireless networking. He is serving as document editor for the mobile-IP working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and is author or co-author of standards-track documents in the mobileip, manet, IPv6, and dhc (Dynamic Host Configuration) working groups. Charles has served on the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) of the IETF and on various committees for the National Research Council. He is also associate editor for Mobile Communications and Computing Review, the official publication of ACM SIGMOBILE, and is on the editorial staff for IEEE Internet Computing magazine. Charles has authored and edited books on Mobile IP and Ad Hoc Networking, and has published a number of papers and award winning articles in the areas of mobile networking, ad-hoc networking, route optimization for mobile networking, resource discovery, and automatic configuration for mobile computers. See for further details.

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