[Ndn-interest] Email over NDN

Burke, Jeff jburke at remap.ucla.edu
Sat Sep 6 23:21:49 PDT 2014

Email was one of the original applications that we were asked to clarify at the time of the NDN proposal submission.

FWIW, here's an only slightly edited version of the response ca. 2010, in case it is helpful:

Consider the example of sending an email from named-data.net to UCLA address "van at ucla.edu".

UCLA email server would 'register' that it wanted to receive Interests with the prefix 'ucla.edu/email_rcpt' (where the well-known name "email_rcpt" identifies the email service in the same way that tcp port 25 identifies it for IP).

The UCLA client (named "cs-32-22" in this example) trying to send mail to "van at ucla.edu" would generate a locally unique 'conversation ID', say #21443, (the equivalent of the locally unique clientport 21443) then initiate the transaction by sending an NDN Interest with the name:
after 'registering' that it wanted to receive Interests with the prefix:
(the 'reverse' of the server-to-client data flow name which is the client-to-server data flow name). The prefixes "ucla.edu" and "named-data.net" stand for routable prefixes so that Interests can get from one site to another; we are not addressing the operation of routing in this discussion.

If the UCLA server wanted to accept the mail, it couldrespond with an "OK" Data packet to the client's Interest then send the Interest 'named-data.net/cs-32-22/#21443/ucla.edu/email_rcpt/van/S0' topull down the first segment (the "S0" component of the name) of the incoming message. This is the general case: in the special case when the message is short, this retrieval of message content can be avoided by including the content in the initial Interest, achieving the 2 packet optimization mentioned earlier.

This example is intentionally simplified from what we would expect in practice, in order to illustrate clearly the simple structure of the basic mechanism.  In practice, the initiating Interest would contain additional information beyond the name components for the reverse path.  The additional information would include SMTP parameters such as identification of the sender, a signature so authenticity of the request may be verified, and even the entire message in some cases as mentioned earlier.  Such information may be encrypted in the name to preserve privacy.  Partial name encryption is facilitated in NDN by the fact that names are binary values not text strings as in the examples.  Existing SMTP and MIME formats need be adapted only slightly for the parameters, results, and email data, though encoded and packaged differently.  A more detailed description that addresses encryption and attachments along with some other issues can be provided.  Finally, this basic example focused on how existing mail protocols can be adapted advantageously to NDN, which does not preclude new forms of email architecture designed to leverage NDN further.

From: Wentao Shang <wentaoshang at gmail.com<mailto:wentaoshang at gmail.com>>
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2014 12:02:40 -0700
To: Felix Rabe <felix at rabe.io<mailto:felix at rabe.io>>
Cc: "ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu<mailto:ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu>" <ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu<mailto:ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Ndn-interest] Email over NDN

Hi Felix,

I'm the guy who you talked to ;) My group at UCLA had a few discussions on this topic before. I'd like to exchange ideas with you either through this mailing list or privately.


On Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM, Felix Rabe <felix at rabe.io<mailto:felix at rabe.io>> wrote:

This morning I was having a short discussion with someone about email over NDN and how current protocols are ill suited to secure replying and forwarding of signed messages.

I can't remember who you were; please quickly drop me a line to felix at rabe.io<mailto:felix at rabe.io>. I'd like to continue the discussion.

- Felix
Ndn-interest mailing list
Ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu<mailto:Ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu>

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