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Old 08-21-2007, 03:34 PM   #1
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Default Is The Internet Over?

John Dvorak - PC Magazine
Tue Aug 21, 6:34 AM ET



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I used to joke around about shutting down the Internet so that its protocols and basic architecture could be rewritten from scratch. I was semiserious. More recently, Elton John, who apparently can't use a computer, said the Net should be shut down for five years so that the arts can flourish. Okay, whatever. Myself and Elton John aside, we're actually now seeing serious initiatives that may result in the closing of the Internet as we know it.


There have always been undercurrents that have tried to eat away at the foundations of the current Internet. One is Internet2, a parallel-universe Internet that would be used by academia and perhaps the military. It would have ultra-high-speed file transfer without a lot of the latency issues that we experience with the current model.


A few years ago, people were chatting up Internet2, but most of that chit-chat has died down. Begun in 1996 to much hoopla, the project seems somewhat bogged down by the academicians it aims to serve. In the meantime, another parallel project, called National LambdaRail, appeared. It promoted more new technologies and ideas to achieve ultra-high-speed international networking. It recently merged with Internet2.


Meanwhile, our old-fashioned plain-vanilla Internet is seriously planning on changing from IP version 4 to IP version 6. This is, for the most part, because of the never-ending complaint that "we're running out of IP addresses." IPv6 is supposed to be able to solve some security and spam issues, too. The problem here seems to be integrating IPv6 into the current network without causing all sorts of routing complications and other problems. From what I can tell, it's a nightmare.


Japan has just announced a 7.8 billion yen project to develop all-new security-centric architectures to replace the Internet in that country. This is supposed to be rolled out by 2020. Every so often, the Japanese get an itch to leapfrog everyone, and the results have been spotty. Their last overhyped project was the 1982 "Fifth Generation" scheme whereby Japan Inc. was going to jump past all current computer technology and develop a massively parallel architecture that actually works. It generated a lot of fretting and little else.


Not to be left out are the English. The House of Lords recently demanded that the Internet be rewritten from scratch because of the "wild West" nature of the current system. The primary concern is that of identity. The "nobody knows you're a dog when you're on the Internet" kind of thing seems to upset the upper crust in the U.K., although I doubt that many of them can even send an e-mail. Still, they are now all experts.


The fact of the matter is that the Net, as designed, is more robust and versatile than anyone imagined, and the likelihood that a new Internet would be as reliable might be sheer folly. Despite predictions that the Net was overtaxed and would collapse under its own weight, it keeps humming away.—next: Concerns >


There are four current concerns about the Internet. The main one seems to be security. How vulnerable are the Net and its users to various security attacks? This involves the anonymity factor as well. Old-line thinking does not like the idea that you can hide on the Net. They fear something bad will come from this.


The second concern is that we are out of IP addresses (as mentioned above), and we've been forced to share them.


The next serious concern is the eventuality of IPTV and the likelihood that most TV will be running over the Internet someday. This has already been predicted to triple the load on the Net from the outset, with continued increases in bandwidth demand.


Then there is simply the Net's age. It's old. We know a lot more about protocols than we did in 1969 when the proto-Internet first appeared as Arpanet. Over time, the Net has been a transport mechanism for an amazing hodgepodge of protocols and subsystems, many of them quite old. Some think that newer is always better and that we need to scrap the old and reinvent the wheel.


Reinventing the wheel is problematic when that wheel is attached to a wagon that's moving. There is more to this than merely upgrading a recent "build" of AOL. The only way any change will work is literally to roll out a parallel system that can be used jointly with the current Internet. You know, like having a Mac and a PC on the same desk, or something like that.


That way we can make the change at our own pace—if we even want to change, that is. I'm not holding my breath that anything will happen for years to come.


Discuss this article in the forums.

I found this very interesting...
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is The Internet Over?

No the internet is never over.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:36 PM   #3
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well if your read the artical..it talks about something serious needs to be done... or a lot of bad things can happen..so is it better to start over or do something else?
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:37 PM   #4
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Trust me theres more important things, read the artical im making called two major things I learned today.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:10 PM   #5
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well if your read the artical..it talks about something serious needs to be done... or a lot of bad things can happen..so is it better to start over or do something else?
the only way to completely shut it down would be to make HTTP/FTP illegal in just about every country, impossible really.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:35 PM   #6
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^Yea it is impossible to shut down the internet.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:23 PM   #7
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They won't get away with just shutting it down, the Internet is constantly evolving and IPv6 is one example of this. If you want evidence of the Internet's evolution then look at your home connection speeds, see how those have changed over the years starting with increasing dialup speeds, ISDN and eventually broadband as we have now. This is simply due to the fact that it's possible because the Internet's core architecture has advanced to the point where the increased bandwidth can filter down to home users too.

The Internet can't just be shut down like that seeing as just about everything in the world depends on it one way or another. I agree that any reconstruction or changes should be made in parallel and if they come up with a viable solution which works for everyone they should pull the plug on the old system.

It's true of everything, the GSM mobile phone system is horribly dated and needing replaced but 3G/4G rollout is too slow to get rid of it worldwide. As you can see above it appears individual regions like Japan are trying to jump the gun and sort things on their own as opposed to international co-operation.

I think the article hits the nail on the head; the Internet's too old and it's taken so long to get the protocols in the state we have them now (using RFCs etc) that is it really worth abandoning it all and starting over? What about legacy applications? You might as well reinvent computers from the ground up, it makes no sense and it'll be too expensive and a logistical hell to do. People are set in their ways and I for one wouldn't be too happy about having to change my entire work ethic just to suit changes cited by many as unnecessary. Sure, IP addresses are being replaced with IPv6 and so far the change over is working just fine. This is evolution and not revolution.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:31 PM   #8
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O well, internet is not the number one thing on my mind.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:56 PM   #9
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To be honest, Internet will never get shut down because it's to important.

Like AllThingsSacred said this is Evolution not Revolution.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:57 PM   #10
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^lol, I do not know why anyone would think the internet would shut down, like you said it is one of many modern day things humans need.
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