Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

The Evolution of TCP

Like everything about the Internet, TCP keeps on changing

In 1974 a specification was developed that would, eventually, launch what we know of as "The Internet." That specification was TCP and though it is often overshadowed by HTTP as the spark that lit the fire under the Internet, without TCP HTTP wouldn't have a (transport) leg to stand on.

Still, it would take 10 years before the Internet (all 1000 hosts of it) converted en masse to using TCP/IP for its messaging. Once that adoption had occurred, it was a much shorter leap for the development of HTTP to occur and then, well, your refrigerator or toaster can probably tell you the rest at this point.

That makes TCP 40 years old this year. And despite the old adage you can't teach an old dog new tricks, TCP has continued to evolve right along with the needs of the applications that rely so heavily on its reliable transport mechanism.

Consider the additions, modifications, enhancements and changes that have been made just in the past 20 years or so. In total, there are well over 100 different RFCs associated with TCP that offer ways to improve performance, or reliability or support new technology like mobile networks and devices.

evolution of tcp

Like SSL and even HTTP, TCP must continue to evolve. Unlike the Internet in 1984 which boasted a mere 1000 hosts, the ISC domain survey puts the number of hosts in Jan 2013 at well over 1 billion. That means to move to some other transport protocol we'd have to coordinate, well, more than seems humanly possible. Especially given that doesn't count the switch required on the client side - which numbers in the 2.4 billion range according to Internet World Stats, which tracks growth of Internet users world wide.

What this means, practically, is that TCP must evolve because we can't just move to something else. Not without a long term transition plan and we see how well that's working for the move to IPv6, despite the depletion of IPv4 addresses.

So it shouldn't be a surprise when new, TCP-related technologies like MPTCP (Multipath TCP) are introduced to address challenges that continue to crop up as new devices, networks and applications pop up like dandelions in your front yard. Nor should we be surprised when support for such protocols, like SPDY before it, are offered to the market with a transitional approach, i.e. gateways and dual-stack supporting proxies.

The only real way to support the use of what would otherwise be a disruptive technology without disrupting the billions of hosts and users that communicate each and every day is to provide strategic transitional protocol points of control that enable transparent and (one hopes) seamless support as hosts and devices begin to support it.

TCP isn't going anywhere, it's too critical to the entire Internet at this point. But that doesn't mean it's static or inflexible. It is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the next generation of devices, networks and applications that rely upon it.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

CloudEXPO Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed by some of the world's largest financial institutions. The company develops and applies innovative machine-learning technologies to big data to predict financial, economic, and world events. The team is a group of passionate technologists, mathematicians, data scientists and programmers in Silicon Valley with over 100 patents to their names. Big Data Federation was incorporated in 2015 and is ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like "How is my application doing" but no idea how to get a proper answer.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by researching target group and involving users in the designing process.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.