The end-to-end principle is a design framework in computer networking. In networks designed according to this principle, application-specific features reside in the communicating end nodes of the network, rather than in intermediary nodes, such as gateways and routers, that exist to establish the network.
The essence of what would later be called the end-to-end principle was contained in the work of Paul Baran and Donald Davies on packet-switched networks in the 1960s. Louis Pouzin pioneered the use of the end-to-end strategy in the CYCLADES network in the 1970s. The principle was first articulated explicitly in 1981 by Saltzer, Reed, and Clark. The meaning of the end-to-end principle has been continuously reinterpreted ever since its initial articulation. Also, noteworthy formulations of the end-to-end principle can be found before the seminal 1981 Saltzer, Reed, and Clark paper.A basic premise of the principle is that the payoffs from adding features to a simple network quickly diminish, especially in cases in which the end hosts have to implement those functions only for reasons of conformance, i.e. completeness and correctness based on a specification. Implementing a specific function incurs some resource penalties regardless of whether the function is used or not, and implementing a specific function in the network distributes these penalties among all clients.

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