ULg Research Unit in Networking RUN

The Evolution of the Internet Layer

C. Filsfils1

1 Research unit in Networking, EECS department, University of Liège, Belgium



In the TCP-IP environment, the exhaustion of the Internet address space and the exponential growth of routing tables in backbone routers has boosted the research for a New Generation of the Internet Protocol (IPng). This evolution follows both short- and long-term perspectives. While the short-term study consists in resolving the addressing limitation, the long-term research deals with the Enhancement of the Network Service. This paper is composed of three parts. The first one overviews the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) and recalls how its design principles have led it to be one of the best solutions for the efficient interconnection of heterogeneous networks. The second part considers all the various stimuli that force the IP-style Network Layer to evolve and ends up with an ordered list of requirements that should be achieved by the new Network Layer. The third part analyses the different proposals for replacement of IPv4 according to a three-step time frame: Very-short term evolution: a two-year respite thanks to CIDR and its address allocation plan; Short-term evolution: deployment of IPv6 (major improvements on IPv4 with respect to scalability, security, performance, autoconfigurability and addressing); Long-term evolution: deployment of the support for enhanced QoS (guaranteed and intermediate).


addressing, CIDR, internet layer, IPng, IPv6, QoS, RSVP, ST-II

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