Executive Viewpoint 2017 Prediction: 128 Technology – Virtual Addressing Will Trump Virtual Networking!
Virtual networking is created using overlays or tunnels. These encapsulating techniques perform one simple task – getting a packet to go where it wouldn’t go otherwise. Current networking protocols are stuck in the early 1990’s and simply do not support techniques to get packets to go where needed. An additional benefit of encapsulating techniques is controlling who can send packets to who.
As with most new networking ideas, I predict 2017 will see increased chaos with virtual networking including:
- Calls for virtual routing protocols to manage virtual networks
- Techniques for inter-connecting virtual networks
- Standards for interworking physical network underlays with virtual network overlays
- Methods and schemes to obtain and understand virtual network analytics alongside underlay network analytics
What about virtual addressing? Telephone networks have been performing local number portability for decades. Wireless networks have supported user mobility even across continents. Why do we have to re-address or tunnel IP packets to deliver them correctly?
Quite simply, networks need to have more intelligence about where to send packets – and who can send them. Allowing IP addresses to become virtual will permit:
- IP addresses to appear anywhere on the internet
- Multiple appearances of IP addresses
- Intelligent distribution of IP traffic to IP addresses
- Dynamic expansion, contraction, and movement of IP addresses (address mobility)
- Control of virtual address visibility to control access to an IP address
Virtual addressing can coexist with static IP addressing just as non-portable phone numbers exist side-by-side with ported phone numbers, mobile phone numbers and free phone numbers.
When one deconstructs a tunnel or overlay network, they will find two source addresses and two destination addresses. The outer addresses are the true physical network, and the inner addresses are those of a virtual network. These two pairs of addresses are not related in any way. If one could reduce the number of addresses to just two physical addresses, carry some extra information just once that relates the physical address to a virtual address, then virtual addressing can function on current networks. All that is needed is intelligence in routers.
Next time you get off a plane in a foreign country, and you start immediately receiving phone calls – remember you are using a portable or virtual number as your directory number. Your real number is assigned by the network, and is associated with your portable or virtual number. Why can’t networking work like this?