Monday, June 02, 2008

Some news related to my role as an Applications Area Director, for a change. Last week was the P2P Workshop organized by Jon Peterson and Cullen Jennings. I didn't take any notes so I won't have many names to drop, but I learned a lot. In the morning we heard talks from operations guys at Comcast and by Stanislav Shalunov who works on one of the BitTorrent clients. The basic summary of each of the talks was that despite their differences they'd like to work together and with the IETF or for the good of the Internet. Comcast talked about their commitment to net neutrality and the costs/challenges of providing cable service -- neat stuff about how upload bandwidth is completely separate from download bandwidth, and BitTorrent is unusual among applications in using more upload bandwidth than most. Stanislav talked about all the logic they have in the client he works on to be careful about overloading the network despite having very little information available on how to ration network usage.

In the afternoon, I recall a talk on "Localization". I'm used to this meaning to translate software into another language, but in this case the meaning was to find a server that's "local" in network terms before attempting to do something. Leslie Daigle and Henning Shulzrinne also gave talks.

Some of the takeaways for the Applications area could be:
- Documenting the BitTorrent protocol in a stable document
- Standard on how to find an appropriate mirror or location for a resource that's available on multiple servers -- this is re-implemented all the time in the wild, with different confusing HTML interfaces on each implementation
- Standard on how to find a local server -- this could be a subproblem of the basic service discovery problem (given a particular domain), or it could be more sophisticated (not just one domain but based instead on network topology)
- More ways to find out network information -- this could include information on bandwidth available, bandwidth quota, local servers, caches etc.

I don't know exactly how followup from this meeting may turn into Internet-Drafts, WGs or other, so that's all the information I have for now and no predictions of whether people will actually volunteer to do any of the above. But even as is, I thought the workshop was useful for bringing people closer to the same page.

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