Reinterpreting the Transport Protocol Stack to Embrace Ossification (Position Paper)

Stephen McQuistin and Colin Perkins

Proceedings of the IAB Workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet, Zurich, Switzerland, January 2015.

Ubiquitous deployment of middleboxes has resulted in ossification of the transport layer, with TCP and UDP becoming part of the narrow waist of the Internet. This is a necessary stage in the evolution of the network, caused by its progression from research, to production, to increasingly critical infrastructure. New transport layer protocols will be needed in future, but since we are working with essential infrastructure, we cannot expect to have scope to make wholesale rapid changes. Future development must be done using the existing protocols as substrates, always maintaining on-the-wire compatibility. To advance, we must embrace the ossification of the network, and learn to reinterpret and extend the existing protocols.

Download: mcquistin2014reinterpreting.pdf

Opinions expressed are my own, and do not represent those of my employers or the organisations that fund my research.