Clean Slate Design for the Internet - restarting the internet

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Clean Slate Design for the Internet - restarting the internet



[url= folks want to start the internet again from scratch.[/url]


Although the work at Clean Slate involves highly technical considerations – such as a redesign of the wireless spectrum allocation to better use limited network capacity – its success could greatly affect our daily lives.

Better wireless spectrum allocation, for instance, would finally mean faster and more foolproof data communication between handheld wireless devices such as phones and PDAs. It would also fulfill at last the promises of devices that combine the capacities of a television, a DVD player and a home computer.

Likewise, improving network security would mean that instead of spending billions of dollars preventing spam, virus attacks, malicious hacking and other dangers, businesses could expand on some of the life-altering real-time uses imagined by pioneers of the Internet.

Remote surgery, for instance, has been performed on a very limited basis since its first success in Canada in 2001. But it can take place only over dedicated fibre-optic cables because the Internet networks used by the general public have too many unforeseen variables, including security concerns and possible blips in connectivity.

These issues also prevent a range of other industries and many critical infrastructures – such as water and electric plants or airports and highways – from fully using the Internet. “If air-traffic control were run over the public Internet,” Prof. McKeown says of the current system, “then I wouldn't fly.”

A “clean slate” Internet might also open up what Mr. Parulkar calls “the interaction between the physical and virtual worlds.” For example, PDAs could communicate with everyday objects embedded with chips or sensors that might make window shopping literal. When you drive by a store, your PDA could display sale prices on that leather jacket you've been eyeing.

Of course, Mr. Parulkar says we would need a network 100,000 times bigger than what we have now to handle this kind of traffic.

Yet despite the seemingly impenetrable technological aspects of overhauling the Internet, many of the most difficult issues have nothing to do with circuits or wires or bandwidth. “For us, the easiest questions to answer are the purely technical ones,” Prof. McKeown insists.

The real hitch? Ask telecommunications companies such as Bell and AT&T, which became Internet providers in the mid-1990s in the hopes of making huge fortunes. “One of the dirty little secrets of the network is that the network infrastructure is not economically sustainable or profitable,” Prof. McKeown says.