RE: remember the "diameter of the internet"?

When ANY router becomes as reliable as a dumb TDM device, then maybe
we can begin collapsing the POP topology. However, the very

nature of

the Internet almost prevents this reliability from being achieved
(having a shared control and data plane seems to be the primary
culprit).

Uhm. Actually, control & data planes are rather separate
inside modern routers. What is flaky is router software.
That's what you get when your router vendor sells you 1001 way
of screwing up your routing :slight_smile:

Router hardware can be pretty flaky as well... :wink:

I was more referring to the nature of IP. With the exception of IS-IS, all
IP control plane protocols are subject to abuse/attack by the same data
plane that they are intending to control.

There are routers out there today that can single-handedly replace
entire POPs at a fraction of the rack, power, and operational cost.
Hasn't happened, tho.

I know two boxes like that - one is broken-as-designed, with copper
distributed fabric; another (courtesy of VCs who managed to
lose nearly
entire engineering team mid-way but hired a bunch of marketers
long before
there was anything to ship) is still in beta.

Ouch.

I don't like wasting ports for redundant n^2 or log(n^2)

interconnect

either, but router and reliability mix like oil and water...

Actually, not. A router is a hell of a lot simpler than a
Class-5 switch,
particularly if you don't do ATM, FR, X.25, MPLS, QoS,
multicast, IPv6,
blah, blah, blah.

There are opponents to this assertion. I haven't seen enough of what's in
the sausage to make a firm statement either way. What I do know is that the
class-5 switch is designed to save lives. A router is designed to fill
vendor wallets. That, coupled with experience in the field suggests,
coupled with dogma and the high-level of sensitivty to being burned
repeatedly, suggests that the trend for chassis redundancy requiring massive
amounts of wasted space, unnecessary hierarchy, and added complexity to
continue. Ces't la Vie!

Demonstrably (proof by existence), those switches can be made
reasonably reliable. So can be routers. It's the fabled
computer tech culture of "be crappy, ship fast, pile features
sky high, test after you ship" aka OFRV's Micro$oft envy,
which is the root evil.

Yep!

-chris