Old but funny, packet over sheep protocol.


Dec 31, 1969
Central Wyoming
RFC-3203: Packet Over Sheep - Eeenternet Protocol
A real Internet RFC. No kidding. The most up-to-date copy of this can be found on the Official PACKET OVER SHEEP Web Page as well as at Ohio State's Internet Requests for Comments (RFC) Web Site.


In Scotland, we can't lay fiber because it disturbs the sheep. So we make a compromise and develop a packet switching technology that uses the existing network of sheep across the country. Packet Over Sheep will revolutionize broadbaaaaand datacomm in Scotland.

The sheep exist as a layer two transport carrier. Each sheep carries a packet through the field and passes the packet to the first sheep it contacts. Eventually, if the sheep routing is kept under close control (Shepherd == sheep router/control protocol) the packet should transmit to the desired field.

This network topology will not fit nicely inside the currently known OSI model. We have been forced to create a NEW model, known as the OSI (Other Sheep Indicator) model. This network makes it's transport carrier a highly dynamic system, where the transport carrier is made up of many individual parts. In the future, it may be possible to monitor each of these dynamic network segments. It is possible that POS (Packet Over Sheep) will over take existing network transport carriers due to it's technological advancements. Due to changes in the OSI model, some tools will not perform as they have on previous networks. For example, the ping and traceroute tools are drastically modified, even the user interface will be different.

Velcro will be used to attach the data segment to the sheep. To ensure data integrity we will use BTPT (Bad Tasting Packet Theory) the data segment will be coated in a bad tasting fluid - this way surrounding sheep (or marauding wolves) will not compromise secure packets. The data is embedded under the wool layer of the sheep, the destination FGO (Frank Gate Opener - this will be discussed at length later) has to strip off the wool headers to get the data. The sheep has to then regrow its wool, part of why this is a slow protocal - this protocol will still work because there are lots of sheep.

A series of layer three protocols had to be developed to handle this new medium. We propose Sheep Relay - a protocol closely related to frame relay except much slower. BGFP (Border Gateway Field Protocol) ensures communication between fields. OSPF is still used, however in a slightly modified context - Open Sheep Path Frank; Frank is the guy at the gate who allows the sheep packets to travel between fields. We chose this protocol, because statistically, Frank is reliable - he is a stand up guy, a mad gate opener.

Firewall technology is being developed for this medium - we utilize an existing fence technology and implement a modified FGO (Frank Gate Opener) which monitors the sheep attempting to pass through the gate, and applies SHAFT control to the non-permitted sheep. FGO can also be configured to watch for Sheep spoofing techniques (commonly used by wolves). It would also be possible to configure the firewall with an ACL (Angus Carries Laser) which would provide a higher level of security.

Packet Over Sheep interfaces with other network topologies using a high speed data carrier interface M/F-12 (boy or girl - age 12) which will at that point send the data on to the internet from a terminal.

Error correction is handled by SHAFT (Whatchu talkin 'bout? I'm talkin bout SHAFT) - the router (Shepherd) handles SHAFT control. SHAFT includes a subroutine which seeks out packets infected with MSD (Mad Sheep Disease) and gives them the SHAFT.

ICMP (I Chuck Massive Pebble) ping will elicit an audible cry from the network which will allow the user to effectively troubleshoot the network. Traceroute troubleshooting is done completely visually - and is executed by the router (Shepherd).

The sheep layer will follow a specific naming convention. To ensure Y2K compatibility, the sheep will be named as follows: sh.ee.pp/.[nn] where [nn] is the number of the sheep. This naming convention will never run out of numbers, and is not succeptible to Y2K problems.

Further detail will discuss coloured jerseys.

To switch packets between fields we use an AHPSP (Angus and Hamish Packet Switching Protocol) Angus and his brother Hamish who will lift the sheep over the fence to another field. This switching technology relies on sheep coat and colour to determine where the packets are destined. Future revisions will see VLambs built into AHPSP.

VLamb would use a SPTC (Sheep Packet Truck Carrier) which acts only as a transport mechanism - it would not have information on the end destination of the sheep, it only moves the sheep from one field to another. This kind of data movement will vastly increase the speed capabilities of this network medium.

Other systems developed:
Server Farm - linked by OC3 (Other Cattle 3) Sheepdog Network Monitoring Tool (SNMT) - packet sniffer


POS - Packet Over Sheep
SHAFT - Whatchu talkin 'bout? I'm talkin bout SHAFT

Shepherd - sheep router/control protocol Sheep Relay - a protocol closely related to frame relay except much slower

BGFP - Border Gateway Field Protocol
OSPF - Open Sheep Path Frank
FGO - Frank Gate Opener
ACL - Angus Carries Laser
M/F-12 - boy or girl - age 12
ICMP - I Chuck Massive Pebble
OSI - Other Sheep Indicator
AHPSP - Angus and Hamish Packet Switching Protocol
BTPT - Bad Tasting Packet Theory
OC3 - Other Cattle 3
SNMT - Sheepdog Network Monitoring Tool
SPTC - Sheep Packet Truck Carrier
MSD - Mad Sheep Disease
DoS - Denial Of Sheep
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