Re: [Int-area] Continuing the addressing discussion: what is an address anyway?

Alexandre Petrescu <> Fri, 28 January 2022 11:49 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Int-area] Continuing the addressing discussion: what is an address anyway?
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Sorry, I  take advantage of this valuable public conversation between
you to mention a point that might be related.

Le 25/01/2022 à 20:30, Geoff Huston a écrit :
> [...] various judgemental observations (Like "NAT is evil”, “NBATs 
> break stuff”, etc,) feel free, but they are your constructions, not 
> mine. The issue for me is not judgments of “good” or “bad”, but 
> simply to explore, without overtones of judgement, exactly what an IP
> address represents in today’s Internet. [...]

Without jugding, and without thinking others might judge, i.e. to
qualify as 'good' or 'bad'.

I do think there might be value in questioning whether there might be
something inherent in the IP addressing system which might lead to less
positive consequences.  It is a question on the cause-to-effect dynamics.

What in the IP addressing system makes it possible that NAT has been
designed and used largely?  Lack of space in v4 - ok - but is there
anything more to that problem, now that IPv6 solves the space size
problem?  Is the fact that NAT kind of probably protection is helping?

For example, if the IP addressing system had variable length addresses
(instead of fixed length) - would that make the translation process of
NAT be unacceptably long, and hence no NAT would be feasible?

Other than that, what other characteristic of the IP addressing system
might have an impact on the existence of NATs?

What other characteristic of the IP addressing system has no impact at
all on the existence of NATs?  I.e. one could change that characteristic
but NATs would still be designed.

Other than NAT and IP addresses, there are other aspects of the current
Internet addressing that are less desirable.

For example: the open Internet and its open addressing system leads to a
need of privacy respecting for the individual; which is good.  At the
same time, the new privacy rules are not making everyone happy.  Some
times it goes to large extents.  For example, some addresses of web
sites are not visible to others _because_ of that privacy ruling.  Not
all websites in all countries accept to abide to the privacy rules of
other countries.  Such websites refuse to abide and block access altogether.

That situation is clearly against the openness of access in the Internet.

It is not a matter of paying money or not to access data.  Even if one
pays one is still not given access because one is situated in a country
of a particular privacy ruling.

It is a strange situation in which the ruling of privacy is not
accepted.  Those sites who do not accept to deliver data according to
the privacy rules do so not because they dont agree with a general
principle of privacy, but because they dont agree with that particular
ruling (GDPR in this case) of privacy.

What is at fault for that situation?

Is there something in the Internet addressing system at higher layer
(above IP) that might be qualified as being a little bit in error for
that lack of access?

For example, if the 'cookies' used by HTTP involved host names (host
names are also a sort of addresses) whose structure was agreed locally,
then there would be more positive view of the generally negative view of
'tracking'.  For example, a locally agreed way to identify people is
generally accepted (license plates, faces, more) but a universal way of
identification (hostname containing 'Windows' characteristics) might be
less accepted.