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The Fibre Optic Path

In August 1858, Queen Victoria sent the first transatlantic telegram to U.S. President James Buchanan. The cable system had taken a total of four years to build and used seven copper wires, wrapped in a sheath of gutta-percha, then covered with a tarred hemp wrap and then sheathed in an 18-strand wrap, each strand made of 7 iron wires. It weighed 550kg per km, with a total weight of over 1.3Mkg. more

Going Dark: How the Increasingly Dark Network Is Creating Some Pretty Ugly Choices for Site Security Administrators

I'd like to reflect on a presentation by Dr. Paul Vixie at the October 2022 meeting of the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) on the topic of the shift to pervasive encryption of application transactions on the Internet today. There is a view out there that any useful public communications medium needs to safeguard the privacy and integrity of the communications that it carries.  more

The Short History of the Internet: From ARPANET to the Metaverse

Last Saturday marked the 53rd anniversary of the Internet. While the vast majority of its five billion users have been online for less than a decade, the Internet was taken into use on October 29th, 1969, when two computers connected to the ARPANET exchanged a message. Although the Internet has been around for a while, it remained below most people's radar until the late 1990s when the dot com boom started. more

OARC-39: Notes on the Recent DNS Operations, Analysis, and Research Centre Workshop

OARC held its fall meeting in Belgrade on October 22 and 23. Here are my impressions of some of the presentations from that meeting... UI, UX, and the Registry/Registrar Landscape - One of the major reforms introduced by ICANN in the world of DNS name management was the separation of registry and registrar functions. The intent was to introduce competition into the landscape by allowing multiple registries to enter names into a common registry. more

Saint Martin Launches Smart-IX Internet Exchange Under CaribIX Project

The recent launch of a new internet exchange point in Saint Martin has propelled the territory towards a better, faster and more resilient Internet. The French Caribbean territory's new IXP, called Smart-IX, was launched in October under the auspices of a recently launched CaribIX project, which is coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), supported by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), funded by the INTERREG Cara├»bes programme... more

Reexamining Internet Fragmentation

One of the discussion topics at the recent ICANN 75 meeting was an old favorite of mine, namely the topic of Internet Fragmentation. Here, I'd like to explore this topic in a little more detail and look behind the knee-jerk response of declaiming fragmentation as bad under any and all circumstances. Perhaps there are more subtleties in this topic than simple judgments of good or bad. more

IP Address Location Data

The last few years have shown us how the Internet shrinks distances between distributed teams, organizations and families. This poses a challenge for some organizations. Many business relationships and contractual agreements involving the Internet have geographical implications and restrictions. This matters to anyone operating a network. It is most important for networks that get new address space. more

Bigger, Faster, Better (and Cheaper!)

Let's take a second to look back some 50 years to the world of 1972 and the technology and telecommunications environment at that time. The world of 1972 was one populated by a relatively small collection of massive (and eye-wateringly expensive) mainframe computers that were tended by a set of computer operators working around the clock and directed by specialized programmers, trained in the obscure symbol set used by the job control systems on these computers. more

The Hidden Value of IPv4 Addresses

All devices that connect to the internet need unique addresses. The number of IP addresses is limited, creating a demand for addresses worldwide, particularly from the cloud computing industry. This demand has raised the value of IPv4 to levels that the internet's original developers didn't predict, in part because the internet was considered an experiment at the time. Of course, use - and so demand -- has exceeded anyone's realistic expectations. more

IP Address Blocking

A network can fence its own IP addresses or block specific external ones from access. Administrators frequently block access to their own IP addresses to bar unwanted access to content. Individual IPs or blocks of IPs may also be blocked due to unwanted or malicious behavior. IP address blocking prevents a specific IP address or group of IP addresses from connecting with a server, computer, or application. more