RFC 1498 (rfc1498) - Page 1 of 10

On the Naming and Binding of Network Destinations

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

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Network Working Group                                        J. Saltzer
Request for Comments: 1498       M.I.T. Laboratory for Computer Science
                                                            August 1993

           On the Naming and Binding of Network Destinations

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   This brief paper offers a perspective on the subject of names of
   destinations in data communication networks. It suggests two ideas:
   First, it is helpful to distinguish among four different kinds of
   objects that may be named as the destination of a packet in a
   network.  Second, the operating system concept of binding is a useful
   way to describe the relations among the four kinds of objects. To
   illustrate the usefulness of this approach, the paper interprets some
   more subtle and confusing properties of two real-world network
   systems for naming destinations.


   This document was originally published in: "Local Computer Networks",
   edited by P. Ravasio et al., North-Holland Publishing Company,
   Amsterdam, 1982, pp. 311-317.  Copyright IFIP, 1982.  Permission is
   granted by IFIP for reproduction for non-commercial purposes.
   Permission to copy without fee this document is granted provided that
   the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage, the
   IFIP copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date
   appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of IFIP. To
   copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a specific permission.

   This research was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research
   Projects Agency of the United States Government and monitored by the
   Office of Naval Research under contract number N00014-75-C-0661.

What is the Problem?

   Despite a very helpful effort of John Shoch [1] to impose some
   organization on the discussion of names, addresses, and routes to
   destinations in computer networks, these discussions continue to be
   more confusing than one would expect. This confusion stems sometimes
   from making too tight an association between various types of network


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