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Subject: [IP] more on Neustar to create their own DNS root and own universe to rule

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip Ip <>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 14:32:54 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: September 30, 2005 1:55:17 PM EDT
To:, 'Ip Ip' <>
Cc: &quot;Steven M. Bellovin&quot; <>
Subject: RE: [IP] Neustar to create their own DNS root and own universe to rule

Perhaps I'm misreading the release but ... Huh -- what's this nonsense about needing a special cellular DNS just to find my home machine? Are these people fooling themselves or working hard to create an alternative reality in which they define a universe just so they can rule it?

I hesitate to raise the DNS issues again but I've been following the &quot;IMS&quot;
efforts to allow the carriers to bring apps back into their world of
billing for everything. I can't help but wonder if this is an attempt to
revisit WAP -- the purposefully mislabeled &quot;wireless Internet&quot; and to make
it more difficult to simply access services without the carriers having
gatekeeper control and billing.

This is a ROOT server and makes cellular users captive. The idea that the
current roots aren't carrier grade is strange -- they handle traffic loads
that would make a carrier wince. I can already access my home files when
roaming anywhere in the world. Do these people think there's a real problem
or is it another convenient lie (stupid vs malevolent). Like the one that
said you need special WAP protocols even as I able to travel around the
world using a GSM data connection at lower latencies and lower prices on
their own networks than they said were possible. And that was just using
the normal voice path at voice prices!

This is part of the revenge of the Telcos. They are perpetuating the lie
that the carriers have a role in push to talk. It's a simple edge
application. I can write a small app to hook an SMS message and do it on a
PPC phone now (or Symbion, Linux etc).

If anything we need to get past the whole notion of hand-offs. Remember how
any years it took the carriers to make it work at all? I won't do the
design here but it is fairly simple for devices at the edge to maintain
their relationships as they travel. Taking the state information out of the
network scales far better. But it does the one thing that the carriers fear
more than anything -- it takes their control away. I could then roam from
carrier to carrier transparently and to Wi-Fi. The current regimen makes
Wi-Fi calls billable. With relationships maintained edge-to-edge there is
no place for the billing troll to perch.

What's interesting is that it is so &quot;obvious&quot; we need handoffs in the
network but a few minutes of thinking demonstrate that not only is that not
true but we can do far better without it. It's not (necessarily) that the
carriers are lying but they succumb to convenient fallacies and people
accept the stories because they are so obviously true. If anything, my
claim that we can do the handoffs at the edge is greeted the skepticism and
instead we get proposals for Mobile-IP which reintroduce hand-offs into the
network itself.

The whole IMS effort to introduce a billable (the word is an implicit part
of any such proposal) control plane into the network makes the whole notion
carrier grade problematic in the sense that it becomes brittle and
unreliable. Instead of simply establishing connections between devices and
letting the devices work out the protocols you now need every element to be
crafted to interrupt just right for each protocol and then resist any
innovation. It's X.400 vs SMTP all over again. It's classic engineering in
which everything must work for anything to work rather than Internet
engineering in which anything that works works and the more the better.

Carrier grade means spending 100x (or much more) to achieve brittle
(billable) reliability. Internet grade means you might get an occasional
hiccup but it's worth it to reduce the costs and allow experimentation. You
can then afford massive extra capacity which yields higher effective
reliability. When the #1 ESS was installed at MIT in 1970 it was down for
five hours the first night -- a century of projected downtime. Carrier
grade means failures don't count because they are catastrophic and thus
outside the metrics.

Sorry about ranting but it leads me back to the DNS itself. In this case it
seems to be about using the DNS for control. But the DNS itself is
problematic as it leads to a false sense of authority. Attempts to create a
separate DNS threaten this and force us to find alternative means of
establishing relationships.

If I get a different DNS using EV-DO than I get using IP, then we might as
well forget the whole thing and go completely Edge to Edge (P2P) and create
better mechanisms. It's doable but requires giving up the illusion that we
need to use the DNS because it's no longer a commons we think we can trust.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 09:48
To: Ip Ip
Subject: [IP] Neustar to create their own DNS root

Begin forwarded message:

From: &quot;Steven M. Bellovin&quot; <>
Date: September 30, 2005 12:15:11 AM EDT
Subject: Neustar to create their own DNS root

Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they're going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry ( ns_pr_09282005.pdf) This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826. This is not quite as bad as a general-purpose alternate root, since it's restricted to use by mobile operators, but it's bad enough. Here's one possible complication: suppose some operator decides that some other company is better qualified than Neustar to operate yet another private TLD. Which root should they then subscribe to? (Yes, this would punish that company more than Neustar. It would also leave Neustar in the driver's seat for any future such private TLDs.)

There may be even more to this situation.  ICANN recently approved
.mobi, which is aimed at consumers and &quot;providers of those products,
services, content, and other items to ... other Providers&quot;.  Why aren't
they using for this?

(Beyond all that, a U.S. diplomat stated in Geneva that the U.S. would
not agree to turn over control of the Internet to the U.N.  &quot;It's not a
negotiating issue. This is a matter of national policy.&quot;)

         --Steven M. Bellovin,

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