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May 2009 Internet 2010 issues


It is still fresh in our memory that the 2008 Japan International Prize was awarded to Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, the creators of TCP/IP, the basic protocol of the Internet.The Internet, which was designed as an autonomous, decentralized means of communication, has now replaced even the telephone network. It has developed into an infrastructure that supports all aspects of social activities such as economy, administration, production, distribution, and education. These events may have been beyond even the imagination of its creators.The Internet has been around for 30 years, and its two types of core technologies: network address and security are approaching to the end of their shelf life.We will see whether the replacement to the new model proceeds smoothly or not.I would like to refer to the model change activities of Internet behind the popular Internet scene, which might not be readily visible to the general Internet users.

Internet protocol 2010 issues

The currently widely used Internet protocol (IP) is called IPv4 (Version 4).It allocates a 32-bit unique address (network address + host address) to each host and performs routing.With 32-bit IPv4, approximately 4.3 billion addresses can be used.These addresses are almost exhausted.In the past, this “address crisis “has often been discussed.However, so-called temporary solution such as CIDR and NAT/NAPT have been developed, and IPv4 life has been extended.In the first place, you wouldn't realistically expect to run out of 4.3 billion address spaces.And certainly, not all addresses are used effectively.Addresses are distributed to each organization in units of blocks such as 8-bit blocks.Some address blocks may no longer be in use.These addresses may be recycled and buy us some more time .However, in order to achieve the fundamental solution, it is time to seriously consider introducing a new model.

IPv6 is the new model to be introduced.Since the address space becomes 128 bits which is 4 times larger, the addresses expands to the 4th power of 4.3 billion.This level of expansion will completely eliminate the address shortage issue.However, it is of course impossible to pick a date and switch from IPv4 to IPv6 overnight .This is because the protocol of network devices (routers, switches, etc.) that exist all over the world must be replaced, and the host addresses must be changed.In reality, both protocols must be gradually replaced while providing a transition period in which both protocols coexist.Above all, the largest problem is that the US has been reluctant to move to the new model.The United States was the founder of the Internet and still has plenty of IPv4 addresses.Address exhaustion is not considered a serious issue there.The sense of urgency arises from the emerging countries who wish to expand their use of the Internet now on.

This year (2009), the US government decided to upgrade to the new protocol.President Obama declared that the US will make a huge investment for job creation.Investment in infrastructure such as transportation and communications will be the main parts of this initiative.The Internet infrastructure changes will probably be also a part of this agenda.We might say it would be possible that the United States change gears at once and take the initiative again.When the United States makes a move, the Internet Protocol 2010 problem may find the way to get resolved with relative ease.

2010 Internet security issues

When the Internet was designed, it was only used for information exchange between researchers, and there was almost no need to consider security issues.In the mid-1990s, commercial use of the Internet began, web applications were developed, and e-commerce spread.Security threats such as eavesdropping, tampering, and impersonation have now become reality, and measures like encryption, message authentication, and user authentication have become indispensable.Netscape implemented SSL (Secure Socket Layer. This technology provides the security infrastructure for applications such as the common https.

Currently used security technology is based on computational safety.In short, security is ensured because the current computer power is not powerful enough to decrypt the lengthy encryption keys in a realistic time.However, the processing capacity of computers is improving year by year.The fastest computer at the moment is IBM's Road Runner, and the processing performance exceeds 1 peta FLOPS.It can perform more than 1,000 trillion operations per second.Actually, more than 15,000 Sony PS3 processors are used in the Road Runner.At the end of 2008, news revealed that the hash function MD5 used for SSL certificate distribution was broken.200 PS3s were used to do this.

Under such circumstances, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which decides the encryption technology used by the US government, has announced a policy to stop using weak security technology in 2010.The security technology which is suspended by NIST policy is "A technology that has a security strength of 80 bits or less when converted to the key length of a non-vulnerable symmetric key encryption scheme".These include 3DES with a key length of 112 bits, RSA with a key length of 1024 bits for public key cryptography, and MD5 and SHA -1 for hash functions, which are widely used in current SSL.

However, just because the US government ceases to use these security technologies does not mean the same is required for individual and corporate users.At the same time, it is dangerous to continue to leave our security technology weak.And it's not so easy to switch security technologies to secure ones just because they're about to expire.For example, some communication protocols are specified by available security technologies.In the case of such a protocol, even if a new security technology is added in a software product, connection with other products is not always guaranteed.As with the transition to IPv6, the issue of securing proper interoperability remains.In the future, users will need to consider the transition to safer security technology taking into account the time and effort involved.


The Internet has become a social infrastructure, but it is time to consider a structural model change.This time, we examined two points: address space and security.The Internet is increasingly used for real-time services such as VoIP and streaming media.At present, “best effort” is the motto, but there is a possibility that further model changes will be required in the future in terms of quality assurance.Anyway, I hope it will remain in the role of social infrastructure while improving performance by making corrections according to reality.

Shozo Naito