Nexus is pleased to announce the integration of the LISP (Locator Identity Separation Protocol) network architecture with Nexus Earth which allows the Nexus blockchain to run over a secure open overlay.  LISP was created by Dino Farinacci, in partnership with several Cisco engineers, and is being developed and standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  Dino founded after being a Cisco Fellow. At Cisco Systems he designed and implemented dozens of protocols: “more than anyone on earth”.

LISP helps the internet scale, and provides secure features for today’s newer applications, by encapsulating a packet with identifiers into a packet with topological locators.  This allows the internet to route packets based on location rather than identifiers, enabling it to scale by holding less routing state.  As the website explains: “We are building state-of-the art, next generation internet architectures and protocols that enable modern-use applications to scale securely and run efficiently”.

The Cisco website notes: “LISP is a network architecture and set of protocols that implements a new semantic for IP addressing.  LISP creates two namespaces and uses two IP addresses: Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs), which are assigned to end-hosts, and Routing Locators (RLOCs), which are assigned to devices (primarily routers) that make up the global routing system.”

Why is this Important

The network keeps growing with the expanding number of users and devices (think wireless phone, computers, wireless earbuds, iPads etc) so we need to have a way to consolidate data in order for the network to handle more traffic from more devices.  Our internet currently runs on IPv4 which can handle 4.3 billion IP addresses, fewer than the number of people in the world. Once you add in multiple devices you can see where the current system needs to scale, and thus IPv6 comes into play.  However the transition to IPv6 started in 1990 and is still not completed.  LISP allows identifiers to be IPv6 addresses while the core does not have to be completely converted to IPv6 so we can address 2^128 nodes (3.4E38 addresses), close to addressing every particle (1.33E50) on earth (off by 10^12).

You can read more about IPv4 and IPv6 here:

LISP also speeds up the user experience, as we currently don’t take the shortest path between communication devices with intermediaries such as ISPs.  LISP provides increased speed & scalability.

Taking the shortest path between devices has additional implications.  Peer to peer, or direct device to device, communication equates to a more secure, decentralized network mitigating delays and connection interruptions.  The devices that attach to the network will have multiple connections and continuously be moving around.  We want applications to keep their connections up during roaming, mitigating latency.

How LISP Works Exactly

With LISP the user receives an EID (end-point ID), which is a static Identity.  Instead of your identity changing each time you move your devices, it stays fixed and encrypted, allowing everything to run more smoothly.  Comparing this to blockchain, your EID basically becomes the “trust key” for your identity.  This EID or address is the same address you would be using today on your devices, but the address can remain assigned to you and is independent of how and where you connect to the network.  An EID can be a “Crypto-EID”, so when a private/public key-pair is allocated to the device, the Crypto-EID is a hash of the public-key.  Therefore, your identity is based on your crypto credentials, much like your Nexus Wallet address.

LISP & Nexus

For the last few months Nexus has been successfully test running two Nexus nodes, Nexus 1 & Nexus 2, that have been assigned EIDs and are using the LISP overlay.

How LISP helps Nexus

Just a single feature of LISP benefits Nexus, but there are many.  LISP allows Nexus to have all of its data packets encrypted when traveling over the network.  With LISP providing a direct route for information to travel there are no eavesdroppers in the middle of information transfer, providing privacy of transactions.  Did you know that disclosing your physical location is a privacy issue?  LISP is essentially bringing HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) level security to Nexus.

Another way that LISP enhances Nexus is by running the blockchain over IPv6 even if the whole internet is not running on it.  Nexus runs on an IPv6 overlay where LISP will allow it to connect to the IPv4 underlay.

Nexus & LISP at the Internet Engineering Task Force 101

Colin Cantrell, Chief Architect and founder of Nexus will be speaking with Dino Farinacci on Monday March 19th at The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 101 in London on LISP and the future of blockchain technology.

For more tech detail, please visit this draft published to IETF by Colin Cantrell & Dino Farinacci: