Paper review : The Design Philosophy of the DARPA Internet Protocols (Cla88)

Reviewer : Hai Fang, (

  • Goal

    To clarify why the Internet protocols are designed as they are.

  • Contribution

    This paper is a good review of the original design considerations of the Internet protocols.

  • Outline

    This paper answered what the major design considerations of the early Internet architeture are from the point of view of the Internet protocol designers.

    Of those factors the most important guideline is to keep the network layer simple and use datagram as building blocks. The author use TCP/IP to show the logical relation between the set of goals and the particular protocols.

  • Main ideas

    - Survivability in the face of failure, types of service, and varieties of networks are the dominant factors in the design of Internet architecture.

    - Diffent Internet protocols are designed to provide support for different goals; so TCP/IP are designed as seperate layers

    - Datagram served well as the building block for current requirement, but better solutions may exist under different context.

  • Critique

    - Significance rating: 4

    The design philosophy of the Internet protocols is so important but were greatly misunderstood by most people. Also, the philosophy proposed in this paper is successfully applied even in today's scale of the Internet. (5)
    It is a review. (-1)

    - Convincing rating:

    The design of protocols was derived from the goals of Internet architecture by clear reasoning, without irrelevant protocol specifications and other details.

    - Limitation:

    Although the philosophical thought throws light on the protocol design, it is hardly to predicate the future direction and new applications/requirements of the Internet (such as those proposed in [Cla00]). For example, what is a better alternative of datagram as a building block of the Internet architecture is not clear at the time the paper was written.

  • Conclusion

    The Internet protocols are designed for the requirements of the Internet; there will be new protocols and/or variations of current protocols for the new requirements or diffent customers with the development of the Internet.

    How to make the protocols more effective with respect to the different (sets or priorities of) goals is a challenging question for the protocol designers.