Deb Shepherd

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ALERT! This person can no longer be contacted through the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington
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An IT contractor, a web developer, a writer, a teacher, a senior partner in Catch 22, and currently a student again.


An ISP style network often has a particular traffic pattern not typically seen in other networks and which is a direct result of the ISP's purpose, to connect internal clients with a high speed external link. Such a network is likely to consist of a backbone with the clients on one side and one or more external links on the other. Most traffic on the network moves between an internal client and the external world via the backbone.

But what about traffic between two clients of the ISP? Typical routing protocols will find the 'best' path between the two gateway routers at the edge of the client networks. As these routers connect the clients to the ISP core, this route should be entirely within the ISP network. Ideally, from the ISP point of view, this traffic will go up to the backbone and down again but it is possible that it may find another route along a redundant backup path.

Don Stokes of Knossos Networks has developed a protocol to sit on the client fringes of this ISP style of network. It is based on the Distance Vector algorithm and is intended to be subordinate to the existing Interior Gateway Protocol. It manipulates the route cost calculation so that paths towards the backbone become very cheap and paths away from the backbone become expensive. This forces traffic in the preferred direction unless the backup path 'shortcut' is very attractive or the backbone link has disappeared.

The intention is to submit the Fringe Routing Protocol to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for inclusion in the Internet RFC standardisation process. This requires further development, analysis and testing of the protocol as well as the preparation and submission of an IETF draft document. It is the development, analysis and testing of the Fringe Routing Protocol that forms the content of the ME thesis.