The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Digital Distribution: A Content-centric Networking Perspective on Evolving Network Architecture


Date Thursday February 3rd 2011
Time 5:30-7:00pm (5:30pm networking, 6pm talk)
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

Companies from Apple and Amazon to Facebook, Google, Hulu, and Twitter invest enormous time and money forcing the square pegs of their distribution problems into the Internet Protocol (IP) round hole. Why?

Because as audio, video, and print media all change from analog to digital, the Internet is increasingly being used as a media distribution network. Unfortunately, it was designed to be a communications network.

And while communication and distribution networks share many common elements, they are fundamentally, architecturally different. However, careful engineering can make these implementation differences small. There are some simple, incremental improvements to routers that allow existing internet infrastructure to seamlessly evolve from being one of the world’s worst distribution networks… to being its best.

PARC’s Content-Centric Networking (CCN) and the NSF-funded Named Data Networking programs are working on the basic engineering, prototyping, and evaluation of this evolution. In this talk, I will describe these efforts and suggest how enterprises and equipment vendors could apply some of the ideas to solve problems today — and anticipate opportunities for the future.


One of the primary contributors to the technological foundations of today's Internet, Van Jacobson joined PARC in 2006 as a Research Fellow to lead its content-centric networking research program.

Van's algorithms for the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) helped solve the problem of congestion and are used in over 90% of Internet hosts today. Widely credited with enabling the Internet to expand in size and support increasing speed demands, Van helped the Internet survive a major traffic surge (1988-89) without collapsing.

Van has co-written many network diagnostics tools (traceroute, pathchar, and tcpdump) that are widely used by the Internet research and development community. Besides authoring dozens of seminal, Internet-defining documents, he also helped lead the development of the Internet Multicast Backbone (MBone) and the popular Internet audio and video conferencing tools (vic, vat, wb) that laid the groundwork and defined the standards for current Internet VoIP and multimedia applications.

Prior to joining PARC, Van led networking efforts as Chief Scientist at Cisco Systems and later Packet Design Networks. He also led the groundbreaking Network Research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its collaboration with the Computer Science Research Group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Van's industry honors include the prestigious ACM SIGCOMM Award (2001) for outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of communication networks -- especially his contributions to protocol architecture and congestion control. In 2002, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) honored Van with the Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award for contributing "to the understanding of network congestion," and for developing congestion control mechanisms that enabled the "successful scaling of the Internet". Van was elected to the United States' National Academy of Engineering in 2004.

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