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MultiValue Communications: The Persnickety Persistence Problem


Last issue we took a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Telnet protocol in the context of our MultiValue applications. In brief, the Telnet spec is nearly 30 years old, the terminal types emulated over Telnet were antiques years ago, the protocol is implicitly insecure, and if that's not enough, it drops connections far too frequently.

We also briefly mentioned SSH and Telnet over SSL, and while these can provide improvements in security, they do little to nothing to improve the reliability of the connection. With miles of cable and countless devices in the network that are out of our control, improving reliability of persistent connections is problematic. But consider this: Might we improve reliability simply by decreasing our dependence upon persistent network connections?

On behalf of an industry that has been dependent upon Telnet from the beginning, the heresy of such a radical recommendation is well appreciated. However, as we look another 30 years into the future, perhaps radical thinking is exactly what we need, and now is exactly when we need it.

If we're perfectly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that all of our best planning will not prevent someone with a backhoe inadvertently digging a hole through the wires that are carrying all of our precious communications. It happens. Moreover, networking equipment fails and with all these devices between us and our information, something is definitely going to fail at some time, and it'll likely happen at the least convenient moment.


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