While the Internet is designed to accommodate multiple transport and application layer protocols, a large and growing fraction of Internet traffic runs directly over HTTP. Observing that HTTP is poised to become the de-facto "nrrow waist"of the modern Internet, this paper asks whether an HTTP narrow waist, compared with the an IP-layer waist, facilitates a more evolvable Internet. Evolvability is highly desirable for the Internet, since communication patterns change must faster than the underlying infrastructure. Furthermore, the narrow waist plays in important role in enabling or preventing architectural evolvability. We argue that HTTP is highly evolvable, due to (i) naming flexibility, (ii) indirection support, and (iii) explicit middleboxes. We point to evolving uses of HTTP on today's Internet, and designing our own publisher/subscribe service, HTTP Relay Service (HTTP-RS), on top of HTTP.
HTTP: An Evolvable Narrow Waist for the Future Internet
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Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences Technical Reports
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