Why so many servers?

Timothy J. Salo salo at saloits.com
Wed May 6 21:24:08 UTC 2020


On 5/6/2020 3:54 PM, j3s wrote:
> On 5/1/20 11:29 PM, Joe Nelson wrote:
>> Why don't our computers talk directly to one
>> another instead?
> 
> This, broadly speaking, was never supposed to be a problem until NAT 
> rolled around and screwed everything up as Joe pointed out. NAT altered 
> how we think about networks forever. Notably, one thing that hasn't been 
> brought up is IPv6.

It's not just NATs, it's also firewalls.  And, widely deployed firewalls
are not just a fact of life, they are a good idea.  Firewalls, by
design, prevent the anything-to-anything connectivity that is being
discussed here.  We all have them, and we all benefit from them.
So, today, even in the absence of NATs, people would have to poke
holes in their firewalls to permit peer-to-peer connections (without
the use of central servers).

> IPv6 alleviates routing concerns by giving every device on the globe a 
> publicly route-able address, with no NAT involved. The internet we were 
> promised! But so far adoption has been slow, thus it's not very useful. 
> But more and more carriers are leaning into IPv6, which will maybe, 
> perhaps, lead to IPv4's deprecation in our lifetime.

Except, in the face of firewalls, every device (including IPv6 devices)
can't be reached globally (thank goodness).

Home networks all have firewalls (as well as NATs).  Large networks
often (usually) have firewalls that prevent incoming connections to most
machines, even though those machines have publicly routeable addresses.
Anything else would be a administrative and security nightmare.

So, if you want to have servers or serverless peer-to-peer connections
on your home network, you need to have the sophistication to configure
your firewalls and NATs.

-tjs


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