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Reinterpreting the Transport Protocol Stack to Embrace Ossification

The IAB held a Workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet at ETH Zürich on 26-27 January 2015. I presented a position paper on Reinterpreting the Transport Protocol Stack to Embrace Ossification at this workshop.

This paper considers how we can evolve the transport protocol stack in a network that has ossified around TCP and UDP transport, due to the presence of middleboxes that reject other transport protocols, and anything other than minor modifications to existing transports. It observes that future development must be done using the existing protocols as substrates, always maintaining on-the-wire compatibility, and that to advance, we must embrace the ossification of the network, and learn to reinterpret and extend the existing protocols.

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