6.033 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate
Computer System Engineering
Week 5: Networking Part I

Lecture 8 Outline

  1. Welcome to Networking
    • How networks work is a big part of systems.
    • Network = source of failure for many systems. Why?
    • Today: Intro to network / history of Internet. Look for common themes that you’ll see over and over.
    • Don’t worry about details of specific protocols today; we’ll delve into those later on.
  2. General Networks
    • Model networks as graphs. Endpoints on outskirts, switches (a type of “middlebox”) in the middle. Edge = direct connection between two nodes (perhaps a wire, perhaps not).
    • Problems:
      • Addressing
      • Naming
      • Routing
      • Transport
    • For small networks:
      • Naming/addressing: Just assign each node a unique name.
      • Routing: How do nodes figure out how to get data to other nodes?
      • Transport: Lots of questions here. One problem to think about is reliability: What do we do when a packet gets dropped?
    • In 6.033, we care mostly about the Internet. The Internet is not a “normal” network.
  3. The Internet, Pre-1993
    • Launch of Sputnik => creation of ARPA (now DARPA).

    • 1970S: ARPAnet. Started small. Combined addressing and transport. Began to grow by connecting existing networks.

      • Using hosts.txt, distance-vector, sliding-window, etc.
    • 1978: Decide to make the Internet flexible. Encourages a layered model. Typical model:

       7 [ Application ] - super high level
       5/6 [ Session/Presentation ]
       4 [ Transport ] - reliable (maybe) delivery
       3 [ Network - IP ] - addressing/routing
       2 [ Link ] - point-to-point links
       1 [ Physical ] - physical medium

    • Often in 6.033 we care about the Application, Transport, Network, and link layers.

    • Ideally, layering lets us swap out protocols.

    • ~1983: TCP, provides reliable transport. Now apps don’t have to reimplement reliable delivery.

  4. Growth => Change
    • 1978-79: Link-state routing, EGP. More scalable routing.
    • 1982: DNS. More scalable naming. Also enabled growth through distributed management.
  5. Growth => Problems
    • Mid 80s: Congestion collapse. So many packets in network, but none were useful. TCP added a congestion control mechanism (more on this next week).
      • Why add it to TCP, not as a separate layer? It was already hard to add a new layer, even in the 80s.
    • Early 90s: Policy routing. Internet was beginning to be commercialized, parts of it didn’t want to provide transit to commercial transit. Policy routing (BGP) is a means to do this.
      • Notice: Commercialization is causing problems.
    • Addressing. Assign addresses in chunks of different sizes. “Class B” chunks — 65K — are typically “just right”, and we ran out of those. The protocol CIDR was developed to divide these up.
      • Most interesting thing about CIDR: That it was possible to make this change at all. Changing addressing => changing switches. Happened because all switches were made by Cisco and forwarding was done in software.
  6. The Internet, Post-1993
  7. Problems We Deal with Today
    • DDoS: Send a lot of traffic to one machine to consume its resources. Hard to prevent. Internet wasn’t designed with accountability in mind.
    • Security: Internet was not designed for security. DNS, BGP, etc., have no secure infrastructure.
    • Mobility: No one every imagined this.
    • Address Space Depletion: IPv4 -> IPv6.
    • Congestion control: Should probably change given the changes we’ve seen in the Internet (more about this later).
  8. So What’s New on the Internet?
    • Lots. P2P, wireless, mobile, streaming, cloud computing, datacenter networks, security threats/defenses…
    • Almost everything happens on the Internet today! Crazy.
    • We expect to see continued changes: Massive growth, software-defined networks, sensors, robots, embedded devices, privacy, censorship.
  9. Recurring Themes
    • Layering and hierarchy (particularly hierarchy as a means of addressing scale).
    • Scalability: If enforcing modularity was the theme of the first part of 6.033, scalability is the theme of the second part.
    • Performance/efficiency: As the Internet grew, performance requirements informed its (re-)design.
    • Diversity of Applications: As the Internet grew, more and more applications used it. These applications have different demands: Some care about throughput, some care about latency, some care about both, some need reliability, some don’t, etc. We have to build a network that works for all of them.
    • Money: Because people pay to use the Internet, designing protocols can sometimes be trickier than it “should” be.
    • End-to-end argument: What part of the network should implement what features (endpoints, switches, etc.)?
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
assignment Written Assignments
group_work Projects with Examples
co_present Instructor Insights