The demand for IP interconnection in Europe is growing rapidly. Many regional, national and international IP networks already exist, with more expected soon. The need for interconnections between these isolated european networks is becoming recognized by all concerned.
Obviously, some minimal level of coordination is required amongst all those wishing IP connections beyond their own domain. The first step towards coordination involved a widely distributed questionnaire asking for details on the current and expected extent of IP networking in Europe.
The results of this survey led to a first (informal) meeting of representatives from existing wide area IP networks. This took place in Amsterdam on the 22nd of May 1989. Participants found this meeting useful and decided to meet later in the year on the 28-29 November.
This document is a report on the autumn meeting. The aims of the meeting are defined as follows:
- Formation of an overall picture of European IP
- Agreement on the Terms of Reference for RIPE
- Decide on an organisational structure
- Assign manpower to tasks
The working title for the European IP coordination effort is RIPE, Reseaux IP Europeens. Rob Blokzijl was appointed chairman of the meeting.
The minutes of the first meeting were approved.
Several IP regional networks are already present. The X.25 science net WIN (to be ready by February 1990) will provide a backbone to existing and planned regional networks. RARE IXI will be used as a means of connecting WIN to other European national X.25 networks. Connections via ethernet already exist.
NORDUnet offers, among other services, IP interconnection between the Nordic countries. IP connections to NSFnet, EUnet and INRIA are operational and a link to HEPnet (CERN) is planned.
All universities within Switzerland are now connected with plans for con- nection to CERN and, via INRIA, to the USA in 1990. A service will be provided to relay IP messages from whatever networks are directly attached to SWITCH to any of its hosts.
SURFnet sites will be connected over the X.25 science network through IXI to other networks. In the short term, the connection will be via NLnet to EUnet.
CERN has a CISCO box with six high-speed international IP links, including one to NIKHEF and a 500kbps IP link will be available to Italy by mid December 1989. IBM have offered a T1 line to NSFnet as part of their EASInet project. The ESnet line to FNAL may provide IP. Connections to other parts of HEPnet (DESY, France, Spain) are foreseen.
Peter Streibelt gave a presentation on IBM's EASInet initiative. This will provide 64kps links between Europes main IBM supercomputer sites, about twenty sites in all. The protocols supported on these lines will be SNA, TCP/IP and OSI. The T1 link to the USA will be installed soon but will support only IP.
Currently EUnet has IP links from the CWI (NL) to the UKC (UK), Inria (FR), CERN, NORDUnet(KTH), Unido (Germany), the Internet (US) and the NLnet (NL).
Unfortunately, no satisfactory transcript of INRIA's presentation was taken.
A backbone network is being constructed in Italy from 2MB lines. The delay in installation is due to the PTT but it is hoped they will be available within two monthes. The lines will use TDM to share the lines between the DECnet, IP, X.25 and SNA protocols. International interconnection to CERN and the USA will be available. The CERN line from INFN (Bologna) is a 2MBps link with a 1-2mbps dedicated to IP. The US connection from PISA is a 64KBps satellite link to DARPA but later on this will be changed to the Goddard Space Flight Centre.
These have been discussed and accepted with the inclusion of one additional statement: that all RIPE Documents and activities will be entirely open. Participants agreed to have no further discussion on this document for a period of at least six months.
The question of whether RIPE should limit itself to academic networks has been deliberately left open, the implication being that the group is open to anyone. The rational behind this is that RIPE concerns itself with har- monising IP management in Europe. It was emphasised that RIPE is not a higher authority than its members who are not limited in their powers to build their own networks.
RIPE is not an agreement to carry each other's traffic, such issues should be dealt with by bilateral agreements between individual organisations. A statement of coordination will be published, listing all participating organisations. One group was able to give its consent to membership imme- diately, the others expect to reach formal agreement, within their organisations, by January 1990.
Rob Blokzijl has volunteered to provide secretarial services for RIPE at NIKHEF and has been appointed as spokesman and contact to other organisations. RIPE work will be distributed between four task groups each with a set of assigned tasks. These will be conducted by task forces made up from very small numbers of people, usually one person per task. Each group will have a coordinator to manage and monitor progress of the constituent task forces.
- Task Force 1: Connectivity and Routing Coordinator Thomas Lenggenhager (SWITCH)
- Task Force 2: Network Management and Operations Coordinator Daniel Karrenberg (EUnet)
- Task Force 3: Domain Name System Coordinator Francis Dupont, (INRIA)
- Task Force 4: Formal Coordination Coordinator Rob Blokzijl, (NIKHEF)
The inventory of IP connectivity will include contact persons responsible for each member network. The description itself will be as detailed as possible and describe the internal structure of participating networks. Task 1-1 should produce a first version by the end of 1989.
Bernard Stockman showed a graphical example of information collected using the SNMP protocol. The picture gave a map of IP connectivity in Finland. Suggestions that these tools be used throughout RIPE were looked on favourably. Thomas Lenggenhager (SWITCH) volunteered as coordinator and will distribute a work plan for the Task Force within a week of the meeting.
Daniel Karrenberg (EUnet) volunteered as coordinator for this group and has begun work on building a whois database of IP networks in europe. Existing tools are available for managing this information base but it was suggested that the X.500 Directory might be a more appropriate tool and that the possibility of using it should be examined. Two further tasks were defined to provide tools and expertise.
2-7 will have responsibility for building and distributing tools to RIPE members. This will include the SNMP software.
2-8 will provide technical expertise for hardware and software, and include recommendations on the use of various tools.
RIPE Documents will be available on line in plain text format.
The list of recommended software to be constructed by group 3-4 , will include advice on usage.
Rob Blokzijl proposed writing a document by the name of "Template for Bilateral Agreements". This is intended as a draft for all agreements between members. Similarly, rules for the sharing of lines and other resources should be drawn up so that changes and extensions do not require individual discussion.
Initially the efforts to instate RIPE as a legal entity will be confined to an investigation of problems and possibilities. It was suggested that some thought be given to how RIPE is to be funded. Some organisations will be able to make direct payments while others may find it easier to pay by contributing resources.
Rob Blokzijl has been assigned the task of writing the text for the formal announcement of RIPE's existence and terms of reference. This shall be presented as a cooperation of existing IP networks rather than the creation of a new entity. All organisations present have agreed to their names being included in the publication. Those without final approval will have the notice Agreement pending next to their entry. Although part of HEPnet, CERN shall be listed as a separate entity. The media suggested for publication include the journal "CONNEX- IONS" and usenet news.
The next meeting will be held at NIKHEF, on 22-23 January 1990, starting at 14:00.
The relevant networking agencies in the USA must be informed about the existence and status of RIPE. A framework of cooperation between RIPE and the USA should be set up.
There was some discussion over possible connections to Cocom Listed Countries and their potential future membership in RIPE. The policy adopted will not restrict such activities in any way. There are possible problems with US policy and it was proposed that an effort be made to clarify this area.