[ih] The story of BGP?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Fri Feb 8 14:29:46 PST 2013

    > From: Louis Mamakos <louie at transsys.com>

    > This all seems so very obvious now,

Well, it was obvious to _some_ of us back then, too... :-)

But your basic point (about 20/20/hindsight) ties into something I've been
pondering, which is 'why didn't the routing people (of whom I am one) move
_promptly_ to do an EGP3, a short-term upgrade that would fix the most
pressing problems - why did we all get de-railed into the whole expansive
Open Routing thing'?

And I think the answer is that we looked at things very differently back then
than we do/would now.

My sense/recollection is that we were more focused on doing a really good
design - for the very long term, since I think we could all see the eventual
lifetime and growth of the Internet - and not just throwing something
together that would last us a couple of years. (Think DNS, which was clearly
a design intended for indefinite life, and which has to some degree met those
goals - although of course we've had to retrofit security.) If you look at
the Requirements document for Open Routing, we clearly wanted to do something
which would meet expansive long-term goals.

In particular, in the 1987-88 timeframe, I don't think any of us foresaw how
rapidly the Internet would start to grow in the near future (early 90s), or
how key a piece of infrastructure it would become. And we didn't forsee how
quickly the pressure to provide 'something better' would become excruciating.

I think we probably thought we had more time than we actually did, and were
more focused on doing a really good design, a la DNS - only the technical
problems of a large-scale routing architecture were much harder than the
technical problems of a large-scale name resolution system. (Which is part of
why things moved slowly....)

Also, nowadays we have a much better understanding of how economics is key in
protocol deployment, of how the short-term cost/benefit ratio is really
crucial. I think we still mentally operating in a more 'we design the right
thing and DARPA tells everyone to go deploy it model'.

The notion that the market/users (and from the perspective of the routing
designers, the operations people at the regionals were 'customers') would
really drive the evolution (as opposed to simply telling us what their
reqirements were, and then sitting back to wait for the answer to be designed
and delivered) was foreign to us at that point.

And so the Internet is now stuck with this obsolete 1960s-grade routing
architecture (in architectural terms, the whole BGP-4/IGP system is really
not that much advanced over the routing in Baran's original design)...


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