This was the first assignment given in my “Networking Fundamentals” class. We were asked to write a short fiction story describing how we believe devices communicate on a network. It was not graded but used as a way for the professor to get a feeling of how much we know about networking before we got into the course material. I perhaps took the assignment too seriously, or not serious enough. You decide.
The land of Kinterneon exists apart from yours and mine. It is a world which follows a strict yet completely foreign set of protocols. The inhabitants are uniquely talented in the ways of multitasking and optimizing their efficiency. With these skills they are able to evolve and develop with astonishing speed. In-fact, their entire existence has come to be and developed to what it is today in just the last 40 years.
Kinterneon is divided regions, which are added and removed at to fast a pace to count. These regions exist to allow their regional administrators preside over their domains with better focus and grace. A region is totally autonomous, much like individual countries are in our world. They have the ability to manage all their own affairs however they may see fit, while still being able to interact with other regions.
Communication in Kinterneon is one of the peoples proudest, and oddest, achievements. For a region to convey a message to another region, the message has to first be brought to an interface junction on the periphery of their territory. From there the message is broken up into smaller chunks and each chunk packaged with information such as the source, destination and a count of the number of places the package has traveled through. All of these packages are then numbered in sequence and then sent through a very large tube to a central switching authority. Each switching authority manages incoming and outgoing messages for a set few regions. They are neutral when it comes to region affiliation and they will route messages from their sender to the desired recipient without bias. In some cases, when a messages intended destination is not within the scope of address served by the authority, the message has to be sent to a planetary master authority. There are nine of these master authorities in Kinterneon, aptly designated K-1 through K-9. (See “A Tale of a Doctor and His Phone Box” for a wondrous journey with the K-9 authority.) Each of these master authorities have direct connections with each other via very fat pipes. In a world where communication is so very important, this level of redundancy has proved useful in the past. The master authorities keep records of the ranges of addresses accessible from all of the other switching authorities connected to them. With this information they are able to route any unknown package to its ultimate destination. If a package’s included travel count gets increased beyond a particular limit however, the package and all of its data are discarded. When a package ultimately arrives at its destination, the receiving region places it in an incoming buffer which holds all the communication chunks sent to them. As contiguous pieces are received, they are reassembled in the labeled sequence to reform the original message. The daemon is then free to act on the message in whatever manor he or she has been instructed to.
With the ever increasing volume and cleverness of the people of Kinterneon, they have become so adept at this communication method that they can even send images, audio, video and even thoughts and ideas encoded and broken up within their packages. Many years ago a convention was convened to decided on a standard method of encoding and delivering such unique message contents. The Regional Fairness Convention is the unifying force behind the diverse forms of communication now possible.
The cities within a region in Kinterneon can also communicate with each other in much the same way. They follow the same protocols and format as regional communication, but just on a smaller scale, communicating city-to-city. If a city wishes to communicate with another region, it only has to make a request of the interface junction controller at the edge of their region.
As you can see, the land of Kinterneon must be vast and full of wonder and innovation. However, despite our differences, we here on Earth have learned a lot from their model.