15 August 2014

Websites Offline? Internet Global Routing Table Problem Looms

The Internet rests on two important directories: the Domain Name System, which tells packets of information where they should be going, and the global routing table, which tells them how to get there. When either system breaks down, some Internet addresses can get cut off from the rest of the Web. (source: Wall Street Journal)

ICANN, in its IANA function, allocates a pool of IP address to the RIRs. RIRs in turn allocate the IP address blocks to the ISPs/Users. This results in non-contiguous allocation of IP addresses to a single SP/users/country leading to huge routing tables that consume precious resources in the Network elements leaving fewer resources for traffic. Internet is currently based on IPv4 but is moving towards use of IPv6 addresses.” Recommendations on Policy Development for introduction of new gTLDs (pdf) Rahul Goel and Ashutosh Mehta, New Delhi, India (January 2006)

"[A]s the Internet expanded, concern arose that the existing numbers would be exhausted and that the size of the global routing tables was in danger of growing faster than the capabilities of the underlying equipment. Given the huge volume increases in the size of the routing tables, concerns were raised that core routers would be forced to drop routes, and portions of the Internet would become unreachable." –OECD Report, October 1998 (pdf)

There’s no good exact opinion about the One True Size of the Internet — every provider we talk to has a slightly different guess. The peak of the distribution today (the consensus) is actually only about 502,000 routes, but recognizably valid answers can range from 497,000 to 511,000, and a few have straggled across the 512,000 line already. The number varies from minute to minute as well, and this close to 512K, any minor event, such as a deaggregation by a large provider (fragmenting a network route into smaller ones for traffic engineering purposes) could push the global collective past the critical point. (source: Renesys)

Echoes of Y2K: a '512K' Internet Limit Approaches - WSJ: "....The fix is simple. Engineers can buy new gear or raise their routers' memory caps and reboot. But some Web companies need to reconfigure each device one at a time, and the fallout is hard to judge given the numbers involved. The work already caused some websites to go offline Tuesday. More links could suffer in the days ahead... Network engineers have been discussing the routing problem for years through mailing lists and highly technical conferences with names like the North American Network Operators' Group. Internet traffic handlers like Level 3 Communications Inc. said they bought new equipment with extra memory more than a year ago, heading off the problem before it affected users. The problem also draws attention to a real, if arcane, issue with the Internet's plumbing: the shrinking number of addresses available under the most popular routing system. That system, called IPv4, can handle only a few billion addresses. But there are already nearly 13 billion devices hooked up to the Internet, and the number is quickly growing, Cisco said. Version 6, or IPv6, can hold many orders of magnitude more addresses but has been slow to catch on. In the meantime, network engineers are using stopgap measures....(read more at links above)

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

expVC.com Domain Name News Archive

expVC.com on Twitter