May 5, 1998:
Las Vegas, Networld+Interop

Today, the worlds greatest collection of networking professionals gathered and constructed the first trans-relativistic network.

The NOC Team used hyper-fiber to create the first network not limited by the speed of light. David Steele, creator of new fiber, and rumored Nobel Prize candidate, said of the new material "Well, I figured that normal fiber is a simple 'push' technology. So I built a couple of fiber transceivers with the power leads reversed. I put those at the receiving end. With the sending transceiver 'pushing' and the receiving tranceiver 'pulling', the photons reach speeds in excess of 1.5c. This, in turn, causes time dilation. From an outside perspective the photons, and hence the data packets, arrive at exactly the same instant they are transmitted. You could say 'this net really sucks.'"

During the show, over 5000 liters of liquid helium will be used each day to cool the transceivers and cables.

Because the speed of the new fiber is so high that packets arrive virtually at the time they are sent, or earlier, standard routing protocols need to be adjusted. So the NOC Team's Router Gods developed, implemented, and deployed Relativistic OSPF, a variation of OSPF that incorporates general relativity into OSPF. ROSPF, as the new protocol is called, repairs all known OSPF flaws. In a rare, special plenary session, the IETF adopted ROSPF by acclaimation.

According to Chris Pecina, router god extraordinaire, "at first we didn't think we had time to do more than Special Relativity. But it didn't seem right to do anything less than General Relativity. So we worked all night to do it. It took another evening to shake out the bugs in each vendor's implementation."

Experts hail ROSPF as a quantum leap in routing. Analyst reports indicate that the new protocol may allow network managers to know both the speed and location of their packets with no uncertainty.

The Applications Forum will be demonstrating prototype GagaEthernet switches that use the new high speed fiber and routing technology. According to NOC Team member Karl Auerbach, "We found legacy ATM and Gigabit Ethernet too slow for use in home appliance networks. Surprisingly, toasters and washing machines, not to mention TV and stereo systems, require significant amounts of bandwidth. Yet even with hyper fiber, ROSPF, and GagaEthernet, we still have to have policy based routing and Quality of Service controls to deal with congestive losses in the typical home appliance network."

Jim Martin, Lord of the NOC, takes the long view. "In the last few years we've gone from 10 megabit Ethernet to trans-relativity. It's fun, it gives us something to talk about at the bar. Just between you and me, some NOC Team members are considering trying out singularity nets next year."


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