RFC 1958 (rfc1958) - Page 1 of 8


Architectural Principles of the Internet



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Network Working Group                               B. Carpenter, Editor
Request for Comments: 1958                                           IAB
Category: Informational                                        June 1996


                Architectural Principles of the Internet

Status of This Memo

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

Abstract

   The Internet and its architecture have grown in evolutionary fashion
   from modest beginnings, rather than from a Grand Plan. While this
   process of evolution is one of the main reasons for the technology's
   success, it nevertheless seems useful to record a snapshot of the
   current principles of the Internet architecture. This is intended for
   general guidance and general interest, and is in no way intended to
   be a formal or invariant reference model.

Table of Contents

      1. Constant Change..............................................1
      2. Is there an Internet Architecture?...........................2
      3. General Design Issues........................................4
      4. Name and address issues......................................5
      5. External Issues..............................................6
      6. Related to Confidentiality and Authentication................6
      Acknowledgements................................................7
      References......................................................7
      Security Considerations.........................................8
      Editor's Address................................................8

1. Constant Change

   In searching for Internet architectural principles, we must remember
   that technical change is continuous in the information technology
   industry. The Internet reflects this.  Over the 25 years since the
   ARPANET started, various measures of the size of the Internet have
   increased by factors between 1000 (backbone speed) and 1000000
   (number of hosts). In this environment, some architectural principles
   inevitably change.  Principles that seemed inviolable a few years ago
   are deprecated today. Principles that seem sacred today will be
   deprecated tomorrow. The principle of constant change is perhaps the
   only principle of the Internet that should survive indefinitely.



IAB                          Informational


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