Network Working Group B. Leiner
Request for Comments: 1560 USRA
Category: Informational Y. Rekhter
The MultiProtocol Internet
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo
does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of
this memo is unlimited.
This document was prepared by the authors on behalf of the Internet
Architecture Board (IAB). It is offered by the IAB to stimulate
There has recently been considerable discussion on two topics:
MultiProtocol approaches in the Internet and the selection of a next
generation Internet Protocol. This document suggests a strawman
position for goals and approaches for the IETF/IESG/IAB in these
areas. It takes the view that these two topics are related, and
proposes directions for the IETF/IESG/IAB to pursue.
In particular, it recommends that the IETF/IESG/IAB should continue
to be a force for consensus on a single protocol suite and internet
layer protocol. The IETF/IESG/IAB should:
- maintain its focus on the TCP/IP protocol suite,
- work to select a single next-generation internet protocol and
develop mechanisms to aid in transition from the current IPv4,
- continue to explore mechanisms to interoperate and share
resources with other protocol suites within the Internet.
The major purpose of the Internet is to enable ubiquitous
communication services between endpoints. In a very real way, the
Internet IS inter-enterprise networking. Therefore, the issue of
multiprotocol Internet is not just the issue of multiple network
layers, but the issue of multiple comparable services implemented
Internet Architecture Board [Page 1]
RFC 1560 The MultiProtocol Internet December 1993
over different protocols.
The issue of multiprotocol Internet is multidimensional and should be
analyzed with respect to two simultaneous principles:
- It is desirable to have a single protocol stack. The community
should try to avoid unconstrained proliferation of various
- In reality there will always be more than one protocol stack.
Presence of multiple network layers is just one of the
corollaries of this observation, as even within a single
protocol stack, forces of evolution of that stack will lead
to periods of multiple protocols. We need to develop
mechanisms that maximize the services that can be provided
across all the protocol stacks (multiprotocol Internet).
2. Background and Context
2.1. The MultiProtocol Evolutionary Process
In an IAB architectural retreat held in 1991 [Cla91], a dynamic view
of the process of multiprotocol integration and accommodation was
described, based on the figure below.
! ! ! !
! ! ! Interop- !
! Primary ! >>>>>>>>>>> ! erability !>>>>>
! Protocol ! ! ! v
! Suite ! -------------- v
! ! v
! ! v
! ! -------------- v
! ! ! ! v
! ! >>>>>>>>>>> ! Resource ! v
! ! ! Sharing !>>>>v
! ! ! ! v
--------------- -------------- v
^ -------------- v
^ ! ! v