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DTN - RFCs at Last! Our work in Delay Tolerant Networking Bears Fruit After Many Years of Hard Work!

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About an hour ago, Several RFCs hit the repos of the IETF related to many years of hard work as a result of our efforts as a key participant of the Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group of the IRTF.

NorthTech.US has been operating nodes of the DTNbone for many years on our globally distributed NOMAD Internetwork. We've been a member of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), which is the part of the ISOC which focuses on very long term research projects, and this one has finally come through for us.

We would like to take a few minutes now, to tell you a little about the work of our group, what it is, what it means, and a bit of history about Northtech's particular participation as a pioneer in Internet history...

Before NorthTech began commercial operation in November of 1985, our founder and principal scientist, Bradley D. Thornton, served with the US Dept of Defense, with the Office of Telecommunications and Information Systems. During his tenure with the DoD, he was fortunate enough to be present and involved with the birth of the modern Internet transport and naming protocols we all have the leisure of taking for granted in this day and age.

First, the switch from NCP (Network Control Protocol, not Netware Core Protocol) to IP (TCP/IP), in January of 1983, and then the official introduction of the Domain Name System (DNS) in 1985.

Since then, NorthTech has participated, operated, and worked to improve what became of the ARPAnet, MILnet, and NSFnet - What we now call the Internet.

We were a pioneering participant in IPnG, or rather, as it is known today, IPv6, as a member of the 6bone, until we retired that testbed with the official launch date of IPv6 on the Internet proper on 666 - June 6th, 2006.

NorthTech and its staff over the years has contributed to the success of many new networking technologies, with ION, and DTN being the most recent efforts eventually coming to fruition as internet standards.

The IRTF is the parallel organization to the IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force), which we also participate and enjoy membership under the umbrella of the Internet Society (ISOC). These organizations have been the driving force of innovation and adoption of almost all significant Internet communications technologies that have been accepted and adopted as standards throughout the last few decades.

A significant portion of NorthTech's effort has always been towards improving the way you communicate, play games, talk to loved ones, and get those wonderful images from outer space. To give you a clearer picture of just what the legacy of the DTNRG and our work means to the future of communications, we'll present a snippet from our research group's project page:

The Delay-Tolerant Networking Research Group (DTNRG) is a research group chartered as part of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF). Members of DTNRG are concerned with how to address the architectural and protocol design principles arising from the need to provide interoperable communications with and among extreme and performance-challenged environments where continuous end-to-end connectivity cannot be assumed. Said another way, we are concerned with interconnecting highly heterogeneous networks together even if end-to-end connectivity may never be available. Examples of such environments include spacecraft, military/tactical, some forms of disaster response, underwater, and some forms of ad-hoc sensor/actuator networks. It may also include Internet connectivity in places where performance may suffer such as developing parts of the world.

Below we would like to share with you the list of the six latest RFCs that have just hit the IETF repos, and although we wholly encourage you to peruse them, we also understand that for many, it's really just dry stuff that propellorheads like us prefer to snack on.

So in the coming years, perhaps decades, communications with spacecraft that exceed the distances of several weeks in turn around will be more reliable than and effective than say, the problems we encountered with the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft, some of which are now approaching the Event Horizon.

Much of the work in DTN is still experimental, and the informational RFCs below will provide you with insight into our progress, and where this whole thing is headed. In the meantime, there is much more work to do, and there is still much more to come!

RFC 6255: Delay-Tolerant Networking Bundle Protocol IANA Registries M. Blanchet [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 19606) (Status: INFORMATIONAL) (Stream: IRTF)

RFC 6256: Using Self-Delimiting Numeric Values in Protocols W. Eddy, E. Davies [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 40765) (Status: INFORMATIONAL) (Stream: IRTF)

RFC 6257: Bundle Security Protocol Specification S. Symington, S. Farrell, H. Weiss, P. Lovell [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 142509) (Status: EXPERIMENTAL) (Stream: IRTF)

RFC 6258: Delay-Tolerant Networking Metadata Extension Block S. Symington [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 22584) (Status: EXPERIMENTAL) (Stream: IRTF)

RFC 6259: Delay-Tolerant Networking Previous-Hop Insertion Block S. Symington [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 23278) (Status: EXPERIMENTAL) (Stream: IRTF)

RFC 6260: Compressed Bundle Header Encoding (CBHE) S. Burleigh [ May 2011 ] (TXT = 25381) (Status: EXPERIMENTAL) (Stream: IRTF)