< draft-arkko-iab-internet-consolidation-01.txt   draft-arkko-iab-internet-consolidation-02.txt >
Network Working Group J. Arkko Network Working Group J. Arkko
Internet-Draft Ericsson Internet-Draft Ericsson
Intended status: Informational B. Trammell Intended status: Informational B. Trammell
Expires: September 13, 2019 ETH Zurich Expires: January 10, 2020 ETH Zurich
M. Nottingham M. Nottingham
Fastly Fastly
C. Huitema C. Huitema
Private Octopus Inc. Private Octopus Inc.
M. Thomson M. Thomson
Mozilla Mozilla
J. Tantsura J. Tantsura
Nuage Networks Apstra, Inc.
N. ten Oever N. ten Oever
University of Amsterdam University of Amsterdam
March 12, 2019 July 09, 2019
Considerations on Internet Consolidation and the Internet Architecture Considerations on Internet Consolidation and the Internet Architecture
draft-arkko-iab-internet-consolidation-01 draft-arkko-iab-internet-consolidation-02
Abstract Abstract
Many of us have held a vision of the Internet as the ultimate Many of us have held a vision of the Internet as the ultimate
distributed platform that allows communication, the provision of distributed platform that allows communication, the provision of
services, and competition from any corner of the world. But as the services, and competition from any corner of the world. But as the
Internet has matured, it seems to also feed the creation of large, Internet has matured, it seems to also feed the creation of large,
centralised entities in many areas. This phenomenon could be looked centralised entities in many areas. This phenomenon could be looked
at from many different angles, but this memo considers the topic from at from many different angles, but this memo considers the topic from
the perspective of how available technology and Internet architecture the perspective of how available technology and Internet architecture
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material or to cite them other than as "work in progress." material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."
This Internet-Draft will expire on September 13, 2019. This Internet-Draft will expire on January 10, 2020.
Copyright Notice Copyright Notice
Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
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Many of us have held a vision of the Internet as the ultimate Many of us have held a vision of the Internet as the ultimate
distributed platform that allows communication, the provision of distributed platform that allows communication, the provision of
services, and competition from any corner of the world. But as the services, and competition from any corner of the world. But as the
Internet has matured, it seems to also feed the creation of large, Internet has matured, it seems to also feed the creation of large,
centralised entities in many areas. centralised entities in many areas.
We use the term Internet consolidation to refer to the process of the We use the term Internet consolidation to refer to the process of the
increasing control over Internet infrastructure and services by a increasing control over Internet infrastructure and services by a
small set of organizations. Such concentration has an obvious effect small set of organizations. Such concentration has an obvious effect
on traffic flows or whose services and systems are in daily use by on traffic flows or on services and systems that are daily used by a
large population of Internet users, but it can also create secondary large population of Internet users. However, it can also create
effects, where the abiity to collect information or to affect secondary effects, where the ability to collect information or to
something is concentrated in the small set of organizations. affect something is concentrated in that small set of organizations.
Consolidation may also affect technology choices and the evolution of Consolidation may also affect technology choices and the evolution of
the Internet architecture, e.g., large organizations or organizations the Internet architecture. For example, large organizations or
providing important technology components may have a significant organizations providing important technology components may have a
impact on what technology is deployed for large numbers of users or significant impact on what technology is deployed for large numbers
by other organizations. of users or by other organizations.
Our first question is whether Internet is indeed consolidating? It Our first question is whether the Internet is indeed consolidating.
certainly appears so, though more quantitative research on this topic It certainly appears so, but more quantitative research on this topic
would be welcome. It is also possible that there's only a perception would be welcome. It is also possible that there is only a
of consolidation, as market forces have caused business changes in perception of consolidation, as market forces have caused business
new areas of business. Arguably, today's consolidation areas seem to changes in new areas of business. Arguably, today's consolidation
be more in the application space than further down in the stack or in areas seem to be more in the application layer than further down in
the operating systems, as was the case some years ago. The second the stack or in operating systems, as was the case some years ago.
question is if we're seeing consolidation simply moving to new areas. The second question is if we are seeing consolidation simply moving
to new areas.
This phenomenon could be looked at from many different angles, but This phenomenon could be looked at from many different angles, but
this memo considers the topic from the perspective of how available this memo considers the topic from the perspective of how available
technology and Internet architecture drives different market technology and Internet architecture drives different market
directions. Our third question is if the Internet technology has directions. Our third question is if the Internet technology has
influenced the consolidation trends in some manner? And conversely, influenced the consolidation trends in some manner. And conversely,
the fourth question asks how is Internet consolidation influencing the fourth question asks how Internet consolidation is influencing
the development of the Internet infrastructure and architecture? the development of the Internet infrastructure and architecture.
The engineering remit at the IETF is to focus on technology, but of The engineering remit at the IETF is to focus on technology, but of
course we also want to understand the implications and externalities course we also want to understand the implications and externalities
of the technical arrangements we design. Technology affects of the technical arrangements we design. Technology affects
economics and vice versa. The Internet technology community economics and vice versa. The Internet technology community
continues to make decisions that have ramifications on Internet continues to make decisions that have ramifications on Internet
systems, just as we are subject to forces that affect them. systems, just as we are subject to forces that affect them.
As technologists, our fourth question is whether there are changes in As technologists, our fourth question is whether there are changes in
technology that would help reduce those large-player advantages that technology that would help reduce those large-player advantages that
are technically-driven. are technically-driven.
This memo reviews areas where consolidation may be occurring in the This memo reviews areas where consolidation may be occurring in the
Internet, and discusses the potential reasons for this. The memo Internet, and discusses the potential reasons for this. The memo
starts by review other work in this area in Section 2. Section 3 starts by reviewing other work in this area in Section 2. Section 3
discusses consolidation and the reasons behind the creation of larger discusses consolidation and the reasons behind the creation of larger
entities, and Section 4 looks at some actions that might alleviate entities, and Section 4 looks at some actions that might alleviate
the situation. the situation.
If you are interested on this or other architecture-related topics, If you are interested on this or other architecture-related topics,
please subscribe to the IAB architecture-discuss mailing list as one please subscribe to the IAB architecture-discuss mailing list as one
forum for discussion. Similarly, the Internet Society has chosen forum for discussion. Similarly, the Internet Society has chosen
consolidation as a focus topic for their year 2019 activities. Their consolidation as a focus topic for their year 2019 activities. Their
report is in [ISOC]. report is in [ISOC].
2. Other Work 2. Other Work
One of the causes for the current consolidation of the Internet One of the causes for the current consolidation of the Internet
infrastructure can be traced back to some of the assumptions that infrastructure can be traced back to some of the assumptions that
were made during the commercialization of the Internet in the early were made during the commercialization of the Internet in the early
1990s [Abbate], even though [RFC1192] already describes some 1990s [Abbate], despite [RFC1192] describing some potential issues
potential issues that could arise. Overall it was expected the that could arise. Overall it was expected the combination of
combination of commercialization, together with the technical and commercialization, together with the technical and architectural
architectural characteristics of the Internet, such as its modularity characteristics of the Internet, such as its modularity and layering
and layering principles, would lead to perfect markets, free principles, would lead to perfect markets, free competition and
competition and decentralized structures [LitanRivlin]. decentralized structures [LitanRivlin].
But as we know now, this did not happen entirely as expected. Some But as we know now, this did not happen entirely as expected. Some
even argue that 'market concentrations, control and power struggles even argue that 'market concentrations, control and power struggles
are categories to adequately describe the fundamental dynamics of the are categories to adequately describe the fundamental dynamics of the
commercial Internet' [DolataSchrape]. While the privatization was commercial Internet' [DolataSchrape]. While the privatization was
supposed to lead to competition and innovation [Cowheyetal] supposed to lead to competition and innovation [Cowheyetal]
[VanSchewick], some argue that it actually led to the emergence of [VanSchewick], some argue that it actually led to the emergence of
Internet oligopolies [Mansell] [Smyrnaios]. Internet oligopolies [Mansell] [Smyrnaios].
Current scientific economic thinking harbors two different schools Current scientific economic thinking harbors two different schools of
vis a vis efficient markets and monopolies. The school based on Adam thought vis-a-vis efficient markets and monopolies. The school of
Smith argues that unfettered markets tend to concentration of wealth thought based on Adam Smith argues that unfettered markets tend to
and income, whereas liberal economist believe in efficient markets concentration of wealth and income, whereas liberal economists
that stimulate competition. believe in efficient markets that stimulate competition.
On the other hand, according to Joseph Stiglitz 'many sectors - On the other hand, according to Joseph Stiglitz, 'many sectors -
telecoms, cable TV, digital branches from social media to Internet telecommunications, cable TV, digital branches from social media to
search, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, agro-business, and many Internet search, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, agro-business,
more - cannot be understood through the lens of competition' and many more - cannot be understood through the lens of competition'
[Stiglitz]. The considerations of technologists and policy makers at [Stiglitz]. The considerations of technologists and policy makers at
the time of the commercialization and privatization of the Internet the time of the commercialization and privatization of the Internet
infrastructure might have been based on a belief in efficient infrastructure might have been based on a belief in efficient
markets, whereas we are now finding out this might not always be how markets, whereas we are now finding out this might not always be how
markets function. markets function.
Recently there is a growing body of literature that the currently
observed consolidation into oligopolies and monopolies can be
described as a failure of economic policy, which could be addressed
with revamped, or improved anti-trust policies [Wu] [Khan]. On the
other hand there are those who criticize these proposals for their
economic determinism; merger reviews, company break-ups and
'trustbusting' do not necessarily change the structure of a market.
Technology might actually have a role to play in this as well. The
IETF in specific, and the Internet governance regime complex [Nye] in
general, has been designed as a distributed arrangement to prevent
capture of the infrastructure by a single interest group or actor.
Where power or control was centralized, specific governance
arrangements were put into place to counter the centralization of
power.
It cannot be denied that 'market actors have contributed immensely to It cannot be denied that 'market actors have contributed immensely to
the evolution of the Internet in terms of investment, products, the evolution of the Internet in terms of investment, products,
services, and infrastructure, and the government's light-handed services, and infrastructure, and the government's light-handed
approach to regulation has given producers and consumers substantial approach to regulation has given producers and consumers substantial
freedom to innovate and to self-regulate with respect to many issues freedom to innovate and to self-regulate with respect to many issues
affecting the Internet community in ways that have produced affecting the Internet community in ways that have produced
substantial social benefits' [Frischmann]. But the current substantial social benefits' [Frischmann]. But the current
consolidation in ownership of and control over the Internet consolidation in ownership of and control over the Internet
infrastructure was not foreseen [Clark], and arguably the loss of infrastructure was not foreseen [Clark], and arguably the loss of
decentralized control goes against its design objectives. For decentralized control goes against its design objectives. For
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3. Factors Driving Consolidation 3. Factors Driving Consolidation
Consolidation is driven by economic factors relating to scale and Consolidation is driven by economic factors relating to scale and
ability to easily reach a large market of users over the Internet. ability to easily reach a large market of users over the Internet.
This kind of setting tends to enable winners to take large market This kind of setting tends to enable winners to take large market
shares, whether those winners came about through the model that shares, whether those winners came about through the model that
liberal economists believe in or the model that Adam Smith believes liberal economists believe in or the model that Adam Smith believes
in. in.
The most visible aspects of this involve well-recognized Internet The most visible aspects of this involve well-recognized Internet
services. Internet Society's report summarised the market position services. The Internet Society's report summarised the market
of popular Internet service brands as follows [ISOC]: position of popular Internet service brands as follows [ISOC]:
o Facebook and Google have been estimated to account for 84% of o Facebook and Google have been estimated to account for 84% of
global digital advertising investment (excluding China). global digital advertising investment (excluding China).
o Amazon is expected to account for 49.1% of all online retail o Amazon is expected to account for 49.1% of all online retail
spending in the US. Similarly, Alibaba is estimated to have close spending in the US. Similarly, Alibaba is estimated to have close
to 60% of the e-commerce market in China. to 60% of the e-commerce market in China.
o Google alone holds 90% of the global search market, over 60% of o Google alone holds 90% of the global search market, over 60% of
web browsers, and has the number 1 (by far) mobile operating web browsers, and has the number 1 (by far) mobile operating
system (Android). system (Android).
o Facebook - incorporating Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and o Facebook - incorporating Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and
Instagram - holds 4 of the world's top 6 social media platforms. Instagram - holds 4 of the world's top 6 social media platforms.
But it is important to recognize that the Internet is a complex But it is important to recognize that the Internet is a complex
ecosystem. There are many underlying services whose diversity, or ecosystem. There are many underlying services whose diversity, or
lack thereof, are as important as that of, say, consumer-visible lack thereof, are as important as that of, say, consumer-visible
social networks. For instance, the diversity of cloud services, social networks. For instance, the diversity of cloud services,
operating systems, browser engines is as important as that as of operating systems, and browser engines is as important as that as of
application stores or the browsers themselves. application stores or the browsers themselves.
Of course, the Internet allows plenty of choice both in these and Of course, the Internet allows plenty of choice in these and other
other areas. Too many or too few choices create different kinds of areas. Too many or too few choices create different kinds of
problems. problems.
It would be useful to break these general factors and observations It would be useful to break these general factors and observations
down a bit further. In particular, it is useful to distinguish down a bit further. In particular, it is useful to distinguish
market or economic factors from technical factors. market or economic factors from technical factors.
3.1. Economics 3.1. Economics
Scaling benefits are natural for many types of businesses. And many Scaling benefits are natural for many types of businesses. And many
Internet-based businesses can potentially serve a very large customer Internet-based businesses can potentially serve a very large customer
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Entities with a large role in a market place tend to have inertia, of Entities with a large role in a market place tend to have inertia, of
course through having many customers, but also due to their course through having many customers, but also due to their
interconnectedness with the rest of the ecosystem. These interconnectedness with the rest of the ecosystem. These
interconnections can range from business relationships to peering interconnections can range from business relationships to peering
connections, linking, and the use of various infrastructure services connections, linking, and the use of various infrastructure services
from an entity as building blocks in applications. from an entity as building blocks in applications.
These interconnections make it difficult for a market to move away These interconnections make it difficult for a market to move away
from a large entity. Indeed, even for an individual it can be a from a large entity. Indeed, even for an individual it can be a
challenge to not use the most commonly used Internet services challenge not to use the most commonly used Internet services
[Gizmodo]. [Gizmodo].
Optimistic technologists ("digital libertarians") tend to have a Optimistic technologists ("digital libertarians") tend to believe
beliefs that states have limited ability to regulate the Internet: that states have limited ability to regulate the Internet: "The Net
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" [Gilmore].
[Gilmore]. However, as argued by [Boyle] states may have multiple However, as argued by [Boyle] states may have multiple ways to
ways to influence and monitor the Internet. One of the issues influence and monitor the Internet. One of the issues related to
related to consolidation is that it tends to be easier to exert consolidation is that it tends to be easier to exert control of few
control of few large entities, than a large set of small, distributed large entities, than a large set of small, distributed players. This
players. This concern is particularly acute around intellectual concern is particularly acute around intellectual property rights or
property rights or surveillance capabilities, particularly when surveillance capabilities, particularly when extra-territorial
extra-territorial requirements are placed on the large entities. requirements are placed on the large entities. These entities cannot
These entities cannot avoid comforming to regulation and laws in any avoid comforming to regulation and laws in any of the locations they
of the locations they have presence in. have presence in.
As a result, there's an added angle of interconnectedness with As a result, there's an added angle of interconnectedness with
governments. At the same time, this of course also provides an governments. At the same time, this of course also provides an
avenue for control of market forces, e.g., in the form of competition avenue for control of market forces, e.g., in the form of competition
law. law.
3.3. Data- and Capital-intensive Services 3.3. Data- and Capital-intensive Services
The scaling advantages are only getting larger with the advent of AI- The scaling advantages are only getting larger with the advent of AI-
and machine learning -based technologies. and machine learning-based technologies.
The more users a service has, the more data is available for training The more users a service has, the more data is available for training
machine learning models, and the better the service becomes, bringing machine learning models, and the better the service becomes, bringing
again more users. This feedback loop and the general capital- again more users. This feedback loop and the general capital-
intensive nature of the technology (data and processing at scale) intensive nature of the technology (data and processing at scale)
makes it likely that the largest companies are ahead in the use of makes it likely that the largest companies are ahead in the use of
these technologies. these technologies.
One could also take the pessimistic view that many of the ongoing One could also take the pessimistic view that many of the ongoing
disputes in standards organizations relate to which market actors disputes in standards organizations relate to which market actors
will ultimately be able to collect the more data from private persons will ultimately be able to collect the more data from private persons
and how. The question isn't as much about the protection of the and how. The question isn't as much about the protection of these
user's privacy but rather whether one or another industry (or persons' privacy but rather whether some industry (or country) will
country) will be able to benefit from access to data. be able to benefit from access to data.
3.4. Permissionless Innovation 3.4. Permissionless Innovation
The email vs. social media example also highlights the interesting The email vs. social media example also highlights the interesting
roles of interoperability and the "permissionless innovation" roles of interoperability and the "permissionless innovation"
principle - the idea that a network can be simple but still powerful principle - the idea that a network can be simple but still powerful
enough that essentially any application could be built on top of it enough that essentially any application could be built on top of it
without needing any special support from anyone else. Permissionless without needing any special support from anyone else. Permissionless
innovation has brought us all the innovative applications that we innovation has brought us all the innovative applications that we
enjoy today, on top of a highly interoperable underlying network, enjoy today, on top of a highly interoperable underlying network,
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applications. applications.
Paradoxically, if the underlying network is sufficiently powerful, Paradoxically, if the underlying network is sufficiently powerful,
the applications on top can evolve without similar pressures for the applications on top can evolve without similar pressures for
interoperability, leading to the closed but highly valuable services interoperability, leading to the closed but highly valuable services
discussed above. We call this the Permissionless Completeness discussed above. We call this the Permissionless Completeness
Problem. Problem.
3.5. Fundamentals of Communication 3.5. Fundamentals of Communication
There are also fundamental issues. For instance, speed of light; There are also fundamental issues, such as the speed of light. Low-
low-latency services can fundamentally only be provided through latency services can fundamentally only be provided through globally
globally distributed data centers. These are often provided built by distributed data centers. These are often provided and/or built by
large organizations, although collaborative and data center or cloud large organizations, although collaborative data center or cloud
computing service approaches also exist. computing service approaches also exist.
A similar issue has arisen in recent years around large-scale denial- A similar issue has arisen in recent years around large-scale denial-
of-service attacks, and how various entities can deal with them. of-service attacks, and how various entities can deal with them.
While the largest attacks affect all players (see, for instance, the While the largest attacks affect all players (see, for instance, the
Dyn attacks in October 2016), it is also true that large cloud- and Dyn attacks in October 2016), it is also true that large cloud- and
content delivery providers can better deal with such attacks due to content-delivery providers can better deal with such attacks due to
their scale. This is one reason that attracts many network services their scale. This is one reason that attracts many network services
to such providers. to such providers.
3.6. Technology Factors 3.6. Technology Factors
One of the key questions is whether we are seeing developments that One of the key questions is whether we are seeing developments that
are driven by economic factors or whether fundamental reasons or lack are driven by economic factors or whether fundamental reasons or lack
available technology drives particular models. For instance, of available technology drives particular models. For instance,
centralised solutions might desirable due to business incentives, or centralised solutions might be desirable due to business incentives,
they might be necessary because there is no distributed, or they might be necessary because there is no distributed,
collaborative solution. collaborative solution.
For instance, some technical issues have historically not been easy Some technical issues have historically not been easy to solve, such
to solve, such as e-mail spam, which has led to reliance on non- as e-mail spam, which has led to reliance on non-technical solutions.
technical solutions. Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to run your own mail
run your own mail services, essentially forcing many organizations services, essentially forcing many organizations and individuals to
and individuals to employ larger providers. The issues relate employ larger providers. The issues relate directly to size of
directly to size of entities; no one can afford to disconnect from entities; no one can afford to disconnect from the largest providers.
the largest providers. But as a small entity, there is little But as a small entity, there is little leverage to convince peer
leverage to convince peer entities or various supporting white/ entities or various supporting white/blacklist entities to deal with
blacklist entities to deal with you properly. you properly.
Many Internet services are based on gathering data about users, and Many Internet services are based on gathering data about users, and
using that data for, for instance, targeted advertisements. More using that data for targeted advertisements. More data from more
data from more users makes it possible to run a service more users makes it possible to run a service more accurately or with
accurately or with better results; here again scale brings better results; here again scale brings advantages.
advantages.
Another trend is that more and more content is becoming available Another trend is that more and more content is becoming available
locally, from a content delivery or provider function directly on locally, from a content delivery or provider function directly on
your own ISP's network. We predict that eventually most content will one's own ISP network. We predict that eventually most content will
be delivered this way, reducing the role that global IP connections be delivered this way, reducing the role that global IP connectivity
across the Internet play. By some metrics this has already happened; across the Internet plays. By some metrics this has already
what practical - positive or negative - impacts might this have on happened; what practical - positive or negative - impacts might this
the Internet technology? have on the Internet technology?
There are also security tradeoffs. Large entities are generally There are also security tradeoffs. Large entities are generally
better equipped to move to more recent and more secure technology. better equipped to move to more recent and more secure technology.
For instance, the Domain Name System (DNS) shows signs of ageing but For instance, the Domain Name System (DNS) shows signs of ageing but
due to the legacy of deployed systems, has changed very slowly. due to the legacy of deployed systems, has changed very slowly.
Newer technology developed at the IETF enables DNS queries to be Newer technology developed in accordance with IETF standards enables
performed confidentially, but its deployment is happening mostly in DNS queries to be performed confidentially, but its deployment is
browsers that use global DNS resolver services, such as Cloudflare's happening mostly in browsers that use global DNS resolver services,
1.1.1.1 or Google's 8.8.8.8. This results in faster evolution and such as Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 or Google's 8.8.8.8. This results in
better security for end users. faster evolution and better security for end users.
However, if one steps back and considers the overall security effects However, if one steps back and considers the overall security effects
of these developments, the resulting effects can be different. While of these developments, the resulting effects can be different. While
the security of the actual protocol exchanges improves with the the security of the actual protocol exchanges improves with the
introduction of this new technology, at the same time this implies a introduction of this new technology, at the same time this implies a
move from using a worldwide distributed set of DNS resolvers into, move from using a worldwide distributed set of DNS resolvers into,
again, more centralised global resolvers. While these resolvers are again, more centralised global resolvers. While these resolvers are
very well maintained (and a great service), they are potentially very well maintained (and a great service), they are potentially
high-value targets for pervasive monitoring and Denial-of-Service high-value targets for pervasive monitoring and Denial-of-Service
(DoS) attacks. In 2016, for example, DoS attacks were launched (DoS) attacks. In 2016, for example, DoS attacks were launched
against Dyn, one of the largest DNS providers, leading to some against Dyn, one of the largest DNS providers, leading to some
outages. outages.
4. Call to Action 4. Call to Action
Are there assumptions about the Internet architecture that no longer Are there assumptions about the Internet architecture that no longer
hold in a world where larger, more centralised entities provide big hold in a world where larger, more centralised entities provide big
parts of the Internet service? If the world changes, the Internet parts of the Internet service? If the world changes, the Internet
and its technology/architecture may have to match those changes. and its technology/architecture may have to match those changes.
It appears that level the playing field for new entrants or small It appears that leveling the playing field for new entrants or small
players brings potential benefits. Are there technical solutions players brings potential benefits. Are there technical solutions
that are missing today? that are missing today?
Of course, it may well be that technology improvements are hard to Of course, it may well be that technology improvements are hard to
come by. Nevertheless, recognizing the risks of consolidation in come by. Nevertheless, recognizing the risks of consolidation in
both current and proposed future technologies is the first step in both current and proposed future technologies is the first step in
proactively avoiding those risks where possible. proactively avoiding those risks where possible.
Assuming that one does not wish for regulation, technologies that Assuming that one does not wish for regulation, technologies that
support distributed architectures, open source implementations of support distributed architectures, open source implementations of
currently centralised network functions, or help increase user's currently centralised network functions, or helping increase users'
control can be beneficial. Federation, for example, would help control can be beneficial. Federation, for example, would help
enable distributed services in situations where smaller entities enable distributed services in situations where smaller entities
would like to collaborate. would like to collaborate.
Similarly, in an asymmetric power balance between users and services, Similarly, in an asymmetric power balance between users and services,
tools that enable the user to control what information is provided to tools that enable the user to control what information is provided to
a particular service can be very helpful. Some such tools exist, for a particular service can be very helpful. Some such tools exist, for
instance, in the privacy and tracking-prevention modes of popular instance, in the privacy and prevention-tracking modes of popular
browsers but why are these modes not the default, and could we browsers, but why are these modes not the default, and could we
develop them further? develop them further?
It is also surprising that in the age of software-defined everything, It is also surprising that in the age of software-defined everything,
we can program almost anything else except the globally provided, we can program almost anything else except the globally provided,
packaged services. Opening up interfaces would allow the building of packaged services. Opening up interfaces would allow the building of
additional, innovative services, and better match with users' needs. additional, innovative services, and better match users' needs.
Silver bullets are rare, of course. Internet service markets Silver bullets are rare, of course. Internet service markets
sometimes fragment rather than cooperate through federation. And the sometimes fragment rather than cooperate through federation. And the
asymmetric power balances are easiest changed with data that is in asymmetric power balances are easiest changed with data that is user-
your control, but it is much harder to change when someone else holds controlled, but it is much harder to change when someone else holds
it. Nevertheless, the exploration of solutions to ensure the it. Nevertheless, the exploration of solutions to ensure the
Internet is kept open for new innovations and in the control of users Internet is kept open for new innovations and in the control of users
is very important. is very important.
o What IETF topics that should be pursued to address some of the o What IETF topics that should be pursued to address some of the
issues around consolidation? Some of the topics for consideration issues around consolidation? Some of the topics for consideration
are discussed in Section 4.1 and Section 4.2. are discussed in Section 4.1 and Section 4.2.
o Are there open source efforts that should be pursued or kept being o Are there open source efforts that should be pursued or continue
pursued to ensure that a diversity of operators and networks can to be pursued to ensure that a diversity of operators and networks
use a particular technology? This is further discussed in can use a particular technology? This is further discussed in
{{opensource]]. {{opensource]].
o What measurements relating to the developments centralization or o What measurements relating to the development of centralization or
consolidation should be pursued? And what other research, such as consolidation should be pursued? And what other research, such as
distributed Internet architectures, should be driven forward? distributed Internet architectures, should be driven forward?
Some potential topics are discussed in Section 4.4. Some potential topics are discussed in Section 4.4.
4.1. Open Interfaces 4.1. Open Interfaces
Standards and open source efforts continue to build many open Standards and open source efforts continue to build many open
interfaces and APIs that allow systems interoperability and tailoring interfaces and APIs that allow systems interoperability and tailoring
of services. In some cases, however, the availability of open of services. In some cases, however, the availability of open
interfaces definitions and software has not lead to the realization interfaces definitions and software has not led to the realization of
of actual interfaces in this open manner. For instance, different actual interfaces in this open manner. For instance, different
instant messaging systems have had a technical ability to be instant messaging systems have had a technical ability to be
interoperable with other systems, just like e-mail is interoperable interoperable with other systems, just like e-mail is interoperable
across systems, but have chosen to be disconnected. across systems, but have chosen to be disconnected.
Work in determining what open interfaces can provide benefits to Work in determining what open interfaces can provide benefits to
users as well be successfully deployed in the Internet ecosystem users as well be successfully deployed in the Internet ecosystem
would of course be useful. would of course be useful.
4.2. Specific Standardization Choices 4.2. Specific Standardization Choices
Sometimes the issue is not the availability of interfaces as such, Sometimes the issue is not the availability of interfaces as such,
but rather fundamental architectural choices with regards to how but rather fundamental architectural choices with regards to how
Internet systems should be built. Internet systems should be built.
Often this relates to how centralized or distributed deployments are Often this relates to how centralized or distributed deployments are
targeted. And even if a distributed, broad deployment model is targeted. And even if a distributed, broad deployment model is
targeted, he expectations may not match reality when economies of targeted, expectations may not match reality when economies of scale,
scale, DDoS resilience, market consolidation, or other factors have DDoS resilience, market consolidation, or other factors have come
come into play. These factors can result in the deployed reality into play. These factors can result in the deployed reality being
being highly concentrated. highly concentrated.
This is a serious issue for the Internet, as concentrated, This is a serious issue for the Internet, as concentrated,
centralized deployment models present risks to user choice, privacy, centralized deployment models present risks to user choice, privacy,
and future protocol evolution. On occasion, the differences to and future protocol evolution. On occasion, the differences to
expectations can be immediate, but can also occur much later. expectations can be immediate, but can also occur much later.
Some examples of these issue include current work in DNS where we may Some examples of these issues include current work in DNS where we
see concentration through the use of globally available common may see concentration through the use of globally available common
resolver services, which evolve rapidly and can offer better resolver services, which evolve rapidly and can offer better
security. But the concentration of these queries into few services security. But the concentration of these queries into a few services
creates new security and privacy concerns. creates new security and privacy concerns.
Another example is email, which started out as many providers running Another example is email, which started out as many providers running
in a largely uncoordinated fashion, but which has since then seen in a largely uncoordinated fashion, but which has since then seen
significant market consolidation and a need for coordination to significant market consolidation and a need for coordination to
defend against attacks such as spam. The coordination and defend against attacks such as spam. The coordination and
centralized defense mechanisms scale better for large entities, which centralized defense mechanisms scale better for large entities, which
has fueled additional consolidation. has fueled additional consolidation.
Awareness of these issues while working on standards would be useful, Awareness of these issues while working on standards would be useful,
so that the issues can be taken into account and appropriately so that the issues can be taken into account and appropriately
mitigated. To begin with, those of us Interested in the broader mitigated. To begin with, those of us interested in the broader
questions about Internet development and Internet researchers are questions about Internet research and development are needed to
needed to identify some of the effects that new technology identify some of the effects that new technology developments may
developments may pose. pose.
4.3. Open Source 4.3. Open Source
Many key Internet infrastructure services (e.g., DNS servers), end- Many key Internet infrastructure services (e.g., DNS servers), end-
user applications (e.g., browsers) and technology components (e.g., user applications (e.g., browsers) and technology components (e.g.,
operating systems or protocol implementations) are commonly operating systems or protocol implementations) are commonly
implemented using open source solutions. implemented using open source solutions.
This is often true even if there's a large entity that is in charge This is often true even if there is a large entity that is in charge
of large fraction of development and deployment for a particular of a large fraction of development and deployment for a particular
technology. This is a good thing, as it ensures that others have a technology. This is a good thing, as it provides a means for others
fair chance of changing the technology in question, should the large to have a fair chance of changing the technology in question, should
entity drive their use of the technology in some direction that does the large entity drive their use of the technology in some direction
not benefit the users. For instance, users and other organizations that does not benefit the users. For instance, users and other
have traditionally been able to either run their own browser versions organizations have traditionally been able to either run their own
or provided extensions that suit their needs better than the default browser versions or provided extensions that suit their needs better
system. than the default system.
As a result, continuing to have this ecosystem is important safety As a result, continuing to have this ecosystem is an important safety
valve and competition opportunity. valve and competition opportunity.
4.4. Research Challenges 4.4. Research Challenges
There are number of different research directions for which further There are a number of different research directions for which further
work would be useful. work would be useful.
The first is about measurements; is the Internet indeed The first is about measurements; is the Internet indeed
consolidating, and if so, by how much, and in what aspects? Also, consolidating, and if so, by how much, and in what aspects? Also,
where are Internet's traffic flows concentrating, and how is this where are the Internet's traffic flows concentrating, and how is this
changing over time? changing over time?
There are also questions about the trends and their relationships to There are also questions about the trends and their relationships to
technology: Has Internet technology influenced the consolidation technology: Has Internet technology influenced the consolidation
trends in some manner? And conversely, how Internet consolidation trends in some manner? And conversely, how does Internet
influences the development of the Internet infrastructure and consolidation influence the development of Internet infrastructure
architecture? and architecture?
Finally, research on topics that would likely yield results that Finally, research on topics that would likely yield results that
increase the diversity and de-centralization in the Internet would increase the diversity and de-centralization in the Internet would
obviously be welcome. This can include any de-centralized obviously be welcome. This can include any de-centralized
technologies, but in particular distributed Internet architecture is technologies, but in particular distributed Internet architecture is
an Interesting topic. an interesting topic.
5. Contributors 5. Contributors
Much of the text in this memo is from a blog article written by Jari Much of the text in this memo is from a blog article written by Jari
Arkko, Mark Nottingham, Christian Huitema, Martin Thomson, and Brian Arkko, Mark Nottingham, Christian Huitema, Martin Thomson, and Brian
Trammell for the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and from a blog Trammell for the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and from a blog
article written by Jari Arkko and Brian Trammell APNIC and RIPE. article written by Jari Arkko and Brian Trammell APNIC and RIPE.
Some parts of the text have also come from a future workshop Some parts of the text have also come from a future workshop
description developed in the IAB, primarily by Christian Huitema and description developed in the IAB, primarily by Christian Huitema and
Ted Hardie. Ted Hardie.
6. Acknowledgements 6. Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank IAB members, Geoff Huston, Amelia The authors would like to thank IAB members, Geoff Huston, Amelia
Andersdotter, Gonzalo Camarillo, Mirjam Kuehne, Robert Mitchell, Olaf Andersdotter, Gonzalo Camarillo, Mirjam Kuehne, Robert Mitchell, Olaf
Kolkman, and many others for interesting discussions in this problem Kolkman, Greg Skinner and many others for interesting discussions in
space. this problem space. The authors would also like to thank all
participants in the 2019 Design Expectations vs. Deployment Reality
(DEDR) IAB workshop held in Kirkkonummi, Finland, as well as the
participants in the 2019 EuroDIG workshop on "Internet consolidation
- opportunities and challenges".
7. Informative References 7. Informative References
[Abbate] Abbate, J., "Inventing the Internet", MIT Press , 2000, [Abbate] Abbate, J., "Inventing the Internet", MIT Press , 2000,
<https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/inventing-internet>. <https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/inventing-internet>.
[Boyle] "Foucault in Cyberspace: Surveillance, Sovereignty, and [Boyle] "Foucault in Cyberspace: Surveillance, Sovereignty, and
Hardwired Censors", Duke Law School, Hardwired Censors", Duke Law School,
https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/ https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/
faculty_scholarship/619/ , 1997. faculty_scholarship/619/ , 1997.
skipping to change at page 14, line 5 skipping to change at page 14, line 22
internet-article.html) , December 1993. internet-article.html) , December 1993.
[Gizmodo] "I Cut The 'Big Five' Tech Giants From My Life. It Was [Gizmodo] "I Cut The 'Big Five' Tech Giants From My Life. It Was
Hell", Gizmodo, https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/02/i-cut- Hell", Gizmodo, https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/02/i-cut-
the-big-five-tech-giants-from-my-life-it-was-hell/ , the-big-five-tech-giants-from-my-life-it-was-hell/ ,
February 2019. February 2019.
[ISOC] "Consolidation in the Internet economy", Internet Society, [ISOC] "Consolidation in the Internet economy", Internet Society,
https://future.internetsociety.org/2019/ , 2019. https://future.internetsociety.org/2019/ , 2019.
[Khan] Khan, L., "Amazon's Antritrust Paradox", The Yale Law
Journal 126:710 , 2017.
[LitanRivlin] [LitanRivlin]
Litan, R. and A. Rivlin, "Projecting the Economic Impact Litan, R. and A. Rivlin, "Projecting the Economic Impact
of the Internet", American Economic Review 91 (2), pp. of the Internet", American Economic Review 91 (2), pp.
313-317 , 2001. 313-317 , 2001.
[Mansell] Mansell, R. and M. Javary, "Emerging Internet Oligopolies: [Mansell] Mansell, R. and M. Javary, "Emerging Internet Oligopolies:
A Political Economy Analysis", In Miller, Edythe S.and A Political Economy Analysis", In Miller, Edythe S.and
Samuels, Warren J., (eds.) An Institutionalist Approach to Samuels, Warren J., (eds.) An Institutionalist Approach to
Public Utilities Regulation. Michigan State University Public Utilities Regulation. Michigan State University
Press, East Lansing, Michigan, pp. 162-201. ISBN Press, East Lansing, Michigan, pp. 162-201. ISBN
9780870136245 , 2002, <https://core.ac.uk/download/ 9780870136245 , 2002, <https://core.ac.uk/download/
pdf/204420.pdf>. pdf/204420.pdf>.
[Nye] Nye, J., "The Regime Complex for Managing Global Cyber
Activities. Global Commission on Internet Governance",
CIGI, Global Commission on Internet Governance , 2014.
[RFC1192] Kahin, B., "Commercialization of the Internet summary [RFC1192] Kahin, B., "Commercialization of the Internet summary
report", RFC 1192, DOI 10.17487/RFC1192, November 1990, report", RFC 1192, DOI 10.17487/RFC1192, November 1990,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1192>. <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1192>.
[RFC1958] Carpenter, B., Ed., "Architectural Principles of the [RFC1958] Carpenter, B., Ed., "Architectural Principles of the
Internet", RFC 1958, DOI 10.17487/RFC1958, June 1996, Internet", RFC 1958, DOI 10.17487/RFC1958, June 1996,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1958>. <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1958>.
[RFC3935] Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF", [RFC3935] Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004, BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004,
skipping to change at page 14, line 45 skipping to change at page 15, line 20
Stiglitz, J., "Joseph Stiglitz: Are markets efficient, or Stiglitz, J., "Joseph Stiglitz: Are markets efficient, or
do they tend towards monopoly? The verdict is in", 2016, do they tend towards monopoly? The verdict is in", 2016,
<https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/joseph-stiglitz- <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/joseph-stiglitz-
are-markets-efficient-or-do-they-tend-towards-monopoly- are-markets-efficient-or-do-they-tend-towards-monopoly-
the-verdict-is-in/>. the-verdict-is-in/>.
[VanSchewick] [VanSchewick]
van Schewick, B., "Internet Architecture and Innovation", van Schewick, B., "Internet Architecture and Innovation",
MIT Press , 2012. MIT Press , 2012.
[Wu] Wu, T., "The Curse of Bigness", Columbia Global Reports,
New York, New York , 2018.
Authors' Addresses Authors' Addresses
Jari Arkko Jari Arkko
Ericsson Ericsson
Email: jari.arkko@piuha.net Email: jari.arkko@piuha.net
Brian Trammell Brian Trammell
ETH Zurich ETH Zurich
Email: ietf@trammell.ch Email: ietf@trammell.ch
Mark Nottingham Mark Nottingham
Fastly Fastly
Email: mnot@mnot.net Email: mnot@mnot.net
skipping to change at page 15, line 23 skipping to change at page 16, line 4
Christian Huitema Christian Huitema
Private Octopus Inc. Private Octopus Inc.
Email: huitema@huitema.net Email: huitema@huitema.net
Martin Thomson Martin Thomson
Mozilla Mozilla
Email: martin.thomson@gmail.com Email: martin.thomson@gmail.com
Jeff Tantsura Jeff Tantsura
Nuage Networks Apstra, Inc.
Email: jefftant.ietf@gmail.com Email: jefftant.ietf@gmail.com
Niels ten Oever Niels ten Oever
University of Amsterdam University of Amsterdam
Email: mail@nielstenoever.net Email: mail@nielstenoever.net
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