Middleboxes no longer considered harmful

Michael Walfish, Jeremy Stribling, Maxwell Krohn, Hari Balakrishnan, Robert Morris, Scott Shenker

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Intermediate network elements, such as network address translators (NATs), firewalls, and transparent caches are now commonplace. The usual reaction in the network architecture community to these so-called middleboxes is a combination of scorn (because they violate important architectural principles) and dismay (because these violations make the Internet less flexible). While we acknowledge these concerns, we also recognize that middleboxes have become an Internet fact of life for important reasons. To retain their functions while eliminating their dangerous side-effects, we propose an extension to the Internet architecture, called the Delegation-Oriented Architecture (DOA), that not only allows, but also facilitates, the deployment of middleboxes. DOA involves two relatively modest changes to the current architecture: (a) a set of references that are carried in packets and serve as persistent host identifiers and (b) a way to resolve these references to delegates chosen by the referenced host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2004
Event6th Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, OSDI 2004 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Dec 6 2004Dec 8 2004


Conference6th Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, OSDI 2004
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture


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