Has the time come to scrap the Internet and start anew? Some think so. Internet is 40-plus and growing. It faces many challenges today in terms of
connection speed and data storage. Increasing mobility of devices and a lack of security threaten the reliability of the network. Scientists in the
us are courting a new approach--clean-slate projects--to meet these issues. Initiated by some universities, the
projects aim at revolutionising the Internet by starting from scratch. "Any large and successful network needs to be updated from time to time. The
question is whether this should be achieved through evolution or revolution," says Dipankar Raychaudhuri of Rutgers University, New Jersey, usa, who oversees some such projects.
Institutions like Stanford, Rutgers and Princeton have started projects on new network structures.The National Science Foundation (nfs) of the us, which aids the project, plans to set up Global Environment for Networking Innovations (geni), a research and testing facility. Construction on geni could start by 2010 and take about five years to complete. Clean-slate researchers want to redesign the system to easily accommodate future technologies. The European Union also backed such initiatives through a programme called Future Internet Research and Experimentation. A project of this magnitude needs huge sums of money. Raychaudhari expects it to be shared by service providers, access network owners and end-users, who will benefit from the research.
A new form of Internet raises questions about its characteristics. So far, Internet has been open and helped people interact. Will the new design also promote this? Raychaudhari is optimistic. "Internet's success largely depends upon it being global and open. Any new design is likely to be the same and may even add features to make things even more democratic and decentralised." Designers of the current form of Internet had worked upon trust. Today, spammers and hackers make any move risky, they say. The projects are in infancy, still researchers hope for a clearer future.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.