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This article is a collection of short commentaries by recognized networking experts offering their perspectives on the relation between active networks and "end-to-end arguments". The first commentary, by Bhattacharjee, Calvert, and Zegura, frames the question and makes a case arguing that active networking does not conflict with end-to-end argument principles. These authors are leading a research group at Georgia Institute of Technology working on the CANEs (composable active network elements) project, which focuses on service composition and applications for active networking. They also participate in the DARPA active network community's efforts to define network/node and service composition architectures. The second commentary, by Partridge, Strayer, Schwartz, and Jackson, claims that end-to-end arguments discourage active networking in the Internet layer, but encourage active networking at all other layers except perhaps the transport layer. The BBN Technologies (part of GTE Corp.) team has completed a DARPA project called Smart Packets, where concisely encoded active packets are used for network management and diagnostics in IP. Reed, Saltzer, and Clark reexamine their original end-to-end arguments specifically within the context of active networks.
Date of Publication: May-June 1998