Thoughts on why packet accounting will be A Good Thing.

Geoff Goodfellow (
Mon, 18 Apr 88 15:19:26 PST

Packet accounting will make us use "our" networks more efficiently. Packet
accounting will derail the virtual gravy train of network pork bellying we've
grown accustom on "our" network. Packet accounting will engender new
protocols which give us The Look and Feel of today's full duplex, character
at-a-time, remote echo telnets & rlogins with local echo transmit-when-needed

Look how packet accounting networks such as Telenet & Tymnet have developed
vs. "our" networks sans accounting. Packet accounting network users usually
send terminal traffic line at a time and do local character echoing at the PAD
or user telnet level. "Our" networks send telnet/rlogin traffic character at
a time and echo at the remote host. No doubt "their" network is making a
better use of its bandwidth (although "ours" may currently be `nicer' to use
-- but at what cost?). We never really had the incentive to develop austere
networking protocols because "our" network was usage and cost sensitive
"free". Whether your IMP port sent 1 or a 1,000,000 packets a day, week or
year, the cost was the same.

Old Time Network Boys will remember the ARPANET's attempt in the early 70's at
local echoing of telnet with RCTE via NCP. As i recall from that time, the
purpose of RCTE was for the users in Hawaii, London/UK & Oslo/Norway to
receive fast/local-like character echoing, not really to cut down on network
traffic. I think the TIPs (what today's TACs were previously called), Tenex
and MIT-Multics were the only hosts to implement RCTE. RCTE was never fully
debugged and used in an operational mode (and i recall Mit-Multics only used
RCTE to turn off echoing for passwords at login time). It did not seem to
survive the NCP to TCP/IP transition. R.I.P RCTE

Network bandwidth conservation is not only A Good Thing for "our" networks,
but is an important efficiency in some networking technologies which have very
finite amounts of bandwidth available to them such as packet radio, cellular
and satellite. With these technologies in the commercial market place, it's
not always possible to throw more capacity to gain bandwidth. There is only
so much radio spectrum available. We need to be so ever parsimonious with our
existing bandwidth/spectrum as possible.

Perhaps packet accounting will bring about the networking equivalent of the
70s energy crisis. Fuel efficiency considerations and non OPEC sources of
energy suddenly became the seminal issues of the day. Research and
development ensued for more efficient motors. Alternate forms for fuel were
explored and some developed such as synthetic. May necessity be "our" mother
of invention too.
  Geoff Goodfellow fernwood! ..!sri-unix!fernwood!Geoff

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