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Increasingly, network applications must communicate with counterparts across disparate networking environments characterized by significantly different sets of physical and operational constraints; wide variations in transmission latency are particularly troublesome. The proposed Interplanetary Internet, which must encompass both terrestrial and interplanetary links, is an extreme case. An architecture based on a "least common denominator" protocol that can operate successfully and (where required) reliably in multiple disparate environments would simplify the development and deployment of such applications. The Internet protocols are ill suited for this purpose. We identify three fundamental principles that would underlie a delay-tolerant networking (DTN) architecture and describe the main structural elements of that architecture, centered on a new end-to-end overlay network protocol called Bundling. We also examine Internet infrastructure adaptations that might yield comparable performance but conclude that the simplicity of the DTN architecture promises easier deployment and extension.