Recent Articles

 

Notes from OARC 31

November 2019

DNS OARC held its 31st meeting in Austin, Texas on 31 October to 1 November. Here are some of my highlights from two full days of DNS presentations at this workshop. More...

 


DNS Wars

November 2019

The 77th NANOG meeting was held in Austin, Texas at the end of October and they invited Farsight’s Paul Vixie to deliver a keynote presentation. These are my thoughts in response to his presentation, and they are my interpretation of Paul’s talk and more than a few of my opinions thrown in for good measure! More...

 


Path Prepending in BGP

October 2019

In this article I'd like to look at one particular aspect of the Internet's inter-domain routing framework, namely the role of the Autonomous System (AS) Path in the operation of BGP, and in particular the use of AS Prepending. More...

 


Dark Traffic

October 2019

This a report on a four-year long experiment in advertising a 'dark' prefix on the internet and examining the profile of unsolicited traffic that is sent to a traffic collector. More...

 


DNS Resolver Centrality

September 2019

Moving the DNS from the access ISP to the browser may not necessarily enhance open competition in the DNS world. In today's Internet just two browsers, Chrome and Safari dominate the browser world with an estimated 80% share of all users. If the DNS becomes a browser-specific setting, then what would that mean for the DNS resolver market? And why should we care? It would be useful to understand what is going on in the DNS today, before there has been any major shift to adopt DoH or DoT by high-use applications such as browsers. Can we measure the level of DNS centrality in the Internet today? More...

 


Why is Securing BGP just so Damn Hard?

September 2019

Stories of BGP routing mishaps span the entire thirty-year period that we’ve been using BGP to glue the Internet together. We’ve experienced all kinds of route leaks from a few routes to a few thousand or more. We’ve seen route hijacks that pass by essentially unnoticed, and we’ve seen others that get quoted for the ensuing decade or longer! After some 30 years of running BGP it would be good to believe that we’ve learned from this rich set of accumulated experience, and we now understand how to manage the operation of BGP to keep it secure, stable and accurate. But no. That's is not where we are today. Why is the task to secure this protocol just so hard? More...

 


DNS query Privacy

August 2019

In this article we'll look at DNS Query Name Minimisation in some detail and present the results of our measurement of the current level of use of this resolver query technique in today's Internet. More...

 


TCP MSS Values

July 2019

It may sound a little esoteric, but after a recently exposed Linux vulnerability the setting of the MSS value in a TCP handshake evidently matters. What values are used out there in the Internet today? More...

 


Not So Private Thoughts at IETF 105

July 2019

At IETF 105, held in Montreal at the end of July, the Technical Plenary part of the meeting had two speakers on the topic of privacy in today's Internet, Associate Professor Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University and Professor Stephen Bellovin of Colombia University. They were both quite disturbing talks in their distinct ways, and I'd like to share my impressions of these two presentations and then consider what privacy means for me in today's Internet. More...

 


Looking for What's Not There

June 2019

DNSSEC is often viewed as a solution looking for a problem. It seems only logical that there is some intrinsic value in being able to explicitly verify the veracity and currency of responses received from DNS queries, yet fleshing this proposition out with practical examples has proved challenging. Where else might DNSSEC be useful? More...

 


Network Protocols and their Use

June 2019

In June I participated in a workshop, organized by the Internet Architecture Board, on the topic of protocol design and effect, looking at the differences between initial design expectations and deployment realities. These are my impressions of the discussions that took place at this workshop. More...

 


Happy Birthday BGP

June 2019

The first RFC describing BGP, RFC 1105, was published in June 1989, thirty years ago. That makes BGP a venerable protocol in the internet context and considering that it holds the Internet together it's still a central piece of the Internet's infrastructure. How has this critically important routing protocol fared over these thirty years and what are its future prospects? It BGP approaching its dotage or will it be a feature of the Internet for decades to come? More...

 


Meeting Report: DNS Oarc 30

May 2019

I attended the 30th DNS OARC meeting in May. These are my impressions from the meeting. More...

 


Meeting Report: ICANN DNS Symposium

May 2019

I attended the 2019 ICANN DNS Symposium in May. These are my impressions from the meeting. More...

 


Expanding the DNS Root: Hyperlocal vs NSEC Caching

April 2019

The root zone of the DNS has been the focal point of many DNS conversations for decades. One set of conversations, which is a major preoccupation of ICANN meetings, concerns what labels are contained in the root zone. A separate set of conversations concern how this root zone is served in the context of the DNS resolution protocol. In this article I'd like to look at the second topic, and, in particular, look at two proposals to augment the way the root zone is served to the DNS, More...

 


More DOH

April 2019

It seems that the previous article on DOH has generated some reaction, and also there is some further development that should be reported, all of which I'll cover here. More...

 


DNS Privacy at IETF 104

April 2019

From time to time the IETF seriously grapples with its role with respect to technology relating to users’ privacy. Should the IETF publish standard specifications of technologies that facilitate third party eavesdropping on communications or should it refrain from working on such technologies? Should the IETF take further steps and publish standard specifications of technologies that directly impede various forms of third party eavesdropping on communications? Is a consistent position from the IETF on personal privacy preferred? Or should the IETF be as agnostic as possible and publish protocol specifications based solely on technical coherency and interoperability without particular regard to issues of personal privacy? This issue surfaced at IETF 104 in the context of discussions of DNS over HTTPS, or DOH. More...

 


The State of DNSSEC Validation

March 2019

Many aspects of technology adoption in the Internet over time show simple "up and to the right" curves. What lies behind these curves is the assumption that once a decision is made to deploy a technology the decision is not subsequently "unmade." When we observe an adoption curve fall rather than rise, then it’s reasonable to ask what is going on. More...

 


A quick look at QUIC!

March 2019

Quick UDP Internet Connection (QUIC) is a network protocol initially developed and deployed by Google, and now being standardized in the Internet Engineering Task Force. In this article we’ll take a quick tour of QUIC, looking at what goals influenced its design, and what implications QUIC might have on the overall architecture of the Internet Protocol. More...

 


No!

February 2019

Just what part of "No" doesn't the DNS understand? Why does the DNS over-query for non-existent names? More...

 


Addressing 2018

January 2019

Time for another annual roundup from the world of IP addresses. Let's see what has changed in the past 12 months in addressing the Internet and look at how IP address allocation information can inform us of the changing nature of the network itself. More...

 


BGP in 2018 - Part 2: BGP Churn

January 2019

The scalability of BGP as the Internet’s routing protocol is not just dependant on the number of prefixes carried in the routing table. Dynamic routing updates are also part of this story. If the update rate of BGP is growing faster than we can deploy processing capability to match then the routing system will lose data, and at that point the routing system will head into turgid instability. This second part of the report of BGP across 2018 will look at the profile of BGP updates across 2018 to assess whether the stability of the routing system, as measured by the level of BGP update activity, is changing. More...

 


BGP in 2018 - Part 1: The BGP Table

January 2019

It has become either a tradition, or a habit, each January for me to report on the experience with the inter-domain routing system over the past year, looking in some detail at some metrics from the routing system that can show the essential shape and behaviour of the underlying interconnection fabric of the Internet. More...