Researchers explore scrapping Internet

Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government's blessing want to scrap all that and start over. The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on Sept. 2, 1969. The Internet "works well in many situations but was designed for completely different assumptions," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, a Rutgers University professor overseeing three clean-slate projects. "It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today."

No longer constrained by slow connections and computer processors and high costs for storage, researchers say the time has come to rethink the Internet's underlying architecture, a move that could mean replacing networking equipment and rewriting software on computers to better channel future traffic over the existing pipes. Even Vinton Cerf, one of the Internet's founding fathers as co-developer of the key communications techniques, said the exercise was "generally healthy" because the current technology "does not satisfy all needs." One challenge in any reconstruction, though, will be balancing the interests of various constituencies. The first time around, researchers were able to toil away in their labs quietly. Industry is playing a bigger role this time, and law enforcement is bound to make its needs for wiretapping known.

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People had a hard time (and still do) about switching from VHS to DVD, you expect the world to move over to a new internet. Certainly not overnight. You could develop an "internet v2" to go along side with "internet v1", but just like in my aforementioned example of VHS and DVD, you'll be running both for 10-15 years before you get every user, every bug, every flaw sealed up. And you can expect severe censorship and taxiation to follow.

No thanks.

The problem would not just be censorship but also corporations stepping in trying to introduce their own propietary protocols as standards, turning internet into their own private yard.

They all, governments and companies alike, arrived late the first time, and they'd absolutely love having a second chance.

I think one of the reasons for the success of the internet, is that governments do not have complete control of it. If it was to be re-built, they'd want controls built-in. I'm not really thinking about spying on my emails (I've got nothing to hide), and conspiracy theories, but more along the lines of taxes and law.

For example, I heard a while ago that the EU was thinking of putting licensing and fees on start-up e-commerce sites. This would destroy the very thing that the internet is good for - innovation. Would Google be the giant it is today, if they had to pay a load of fees and apply for a load of licenses to get started? It wouldn't effect Google (or any other big website) now, but small and start-up sites would suffer and would stop those with bright ideas from getting them out there.

Another example is paying for email. Neowin (for example) would probably disappear within a number of months if it had to start paying for every email it sent...


It would be better to put the time and effort into utilizing the current internet in a more efficient way. I don't know if it is possible, but I'd be very surprised if the internet is really working as efficiently as it can.

Considering that the Internet was created in a time where personal computers were nowhere to be found, it's actually quite impressive that it even works today. Just think of how different our habits are today, when it comes to online activity. Deep down, the Internet is still a best-effort network. As such, it's efficient and scalable enough to work so many years after its conception.

I'm sorry to say that the "current Internet" cannot be used in a more efficient way. It survived this much because of its simplicity. The limits of our current protocols have become terribly obvious.

The fact is that most users couldn't care less about the Internet as long as it "just works". That alone forbids scrapping it.

i disagree with this idea/plan. i could go on about why i do, but some of the reasons are already posted here although there are more i could come up with. at any rate, a big fat NO! to this issue.

well the internet is just servers pointing at each other, for a clean internet just dont let anyone who doesnt know about the net on then we wont have rubbish sites like myspace and crap

I think the fears of censorship are correct. There's a lot of strong interest groups from media companies, religious rights groups, etc that lobby (bribe) gov't officials. I can only think that at least some of them are going to get through their ideas of what they think the Internet should be.

And the big media companies that are starting to control the Net (cable, phone in particular) are going to say huge costs with this and so either raise prices or cap bandwidth.

And besides, just because its not running at its best or most efficient, what should that have to do with anything? Not like a lot of things are bad and then business stops until it gets better. No, it improves as its working. Post office, airlines, moving companies, automakers, etc. all are imperfect ... BUT LIFE GOES ON!!!

simple.... the main push behind this is government so they can control it more, monitor, regulate, tax in areas that can't be done now, and find you easily. lol

I say Hell NO!

Don't worry about any of this crap. The generation that runs the show right now will be dead in 15 years, leaving only people who actually use the internet in control of it. I can't wait. Best inheritance ever.

Not many people who use the Internet would be any good at running it. I don't want some MSN whore telling me why wikis are bad because they waste bandwidth, and how we should clear out the internets for more room for teh MySpace

eh...I don't really think this is such a terrible idea. I'm sure that with existing technologies the internet as a whole could be greatly improved/streamlined and such. Most likely they could rebuild the low level stuff to work with all the higher level standards and things that everybody knows and love while adding a lot of functionality.

Even if the government wants to put their hand into the pot and regulate things it's not like they can't do as such already. At least in my opinion I would think that virtually all the major governments in the world are capable of peeking into and modifying the internet as they see fit as it is. Though that might sound a little on the conspiracy theorist side. As far as the copyright management stuff that the RIAA and whoever will likely push goes, seeing as how there is a very strong and worldwide community of techno geeks, that probably wouldn't last for long. In the end, I feel like if something completely bat crazy happens and has a severe impact, the internet community will remedy it. It would be hard for even governments to stop such a strong protest from the global community that the current internet has fostered. Granted that could just be the optimist in me thinking or something. Anywho, just by $0.02.

"Researchers" eh....

Maybe researchers looking for ways to implement DRM into the web, or to stop "bittorrent" (etc) from working...

LOL

nothing to see here then... move along folks...

trekkie. said,
Yes, let's scrap it and replace it with a series of interconnected tubes.

It's already a series of tubes.

Well, thats what Ted Stevens told me anyway.

I thought the "series of tubes" referred to the people who came up with the idea, but maybe that's just a Scots interpretation. (Same reason we find YouTube very funny... the name that is.)

The reason the Internet works well is because the technical people built it. Mainstream business didn't discover the internet til the mid-90s. Legislative bodies, mid-late 90s. This allowed the technical people to build something that works very well and not have to answer to anyone.

If you let the nontechnical stakeholders in too early, you end up with things like "Let's stop the world until we get the DRM active", and "how do you disconnect the porn tube?"

Hak Foo said,
The reason the Internet works well is because the technical people built it. Mainstream business didn't discover the internet til the mid-90s. Legislative bodies, mid-late 90s. This allowed the technical people to build something that works very well and not have to answer to anyone.

If you let the nontechnical stakeholders in too early, you end up with things like "Let's stop the world until we get the DRM active", and "how do you disconnect the porn tube?"

QFT, people with any agenda other than the true advancement of technology should not be allowed to interfere with the running of any technological devices.

I have to agree too. We all know that this would be an excuse to implement censorship and more corporate/government control over the internet. Its not going to happen though.

So if you guys don't want it anymore can I have it?

If it was ensured to have the same flexibility and freedom of the existing net, sure. I don't like the thought of the department of homeland defense building backdoors into everything though. Microsoft and RIAA will probably push to DRM technologies. End product would be a system that is faster and more secure given current technologies but depending on who gets their hands in the cookie jar it will probably have too much bloat. Maybe the net could be segregated into Gaming (ping optimized), P2P (bandwidth optimized), and Browsing (cache optimized) networks would be more effective.

the only way they would be able to shut it down and rebuild is to enforce a worldwide shutdown of all DSL, ISDN, Cable, Sattelite, Wireless, and Dial up, ISPs, and frankly I just dont see that happening, it would bring the world into a global depression since many of the worlds transactions are done online now....

Then again, they could always go back to the old slider and file cabinet system. until everything is rebuilt

First, no, I don't really think this idea sound too great. It feels like the sledgehammer way to solve things at this point. Just imagine how hard it would be to make everyone switch to this new "Internet" ( note: not even just "web" ). WWW, mail, IM's, FTP, IRC, BitTorrent, newsgroups, DNS infrastructure, all would be busted, along with developer technologies like ASP.NET. If you think IPv6 might be a hurdle and people have a hard time switching to, that's nothing compared to this. At least IPv6 is only about the IP protocol, and it also has compatibility. The rest of the low level services remain largely the same, such as the TCP/IP protocl.

Second, a large chunk of security and mobility issues are actually helped by IPv6. Along with many "other challenges" there too. ;)

A common... No, very common misconception with IPv6 is that it only shoots for expanding the address space.

The designers did that, but actually also took the opportunity to standardize on many other things while they were messing with that low level standard that help run the Internet. So people should probably think of this the next time they say "NAT makes us not need IPv6!". Among other things, IPv6 implements standards for ad hoc networking and peer-to-peer IPSec encryption.

So I think that would be a great start solving tons of long standing issues.

Personally, to a novice user, I think they associate "e-mail" closely with "Internet", and it's giving it a really bad name. Of course, e-mail isn't really "Internet" -- it's just an implementation on top of it, like newsgroups, or why not BitTorrent. However, I do agree that this particular implementation is severly broken. When they wrote the POP3/SMTP standards, there was probably not even a thought on that people using it (universities, military) would try to impersonate other users, use proxies to maliciously hide the message origin, etc. If they did, that would give the institution a really bad name. I'm talking of the time when e-mail covered like 100 connected nodes and everyone knew everyone. Then things sort of exploded and it turned into tens of millions of connected hosts, where no one should be a "trusted sender" by default. Now everyone is, at least on the protocol layer, since no built-in mechanisms exists.

Patchworks are there, and Google/Yahoo use DomainKeys for example. But not everyone supports it, Microsoft wants another standard, and so on. The best would probably be to somehow ( this is the hard part ) make companies willing to implement a completely new protocol with an "unsafe web" taken into consideration.

At least the non-interactive e-mail newsletter problem has pretty much been solved. This is an example where the design itself solves the problem. Because now, if a user wants newsletter mails, they just subsribe to an RSS feed. They get automated mails, and it's completely impossible for the website to somehow harvest your address and sign you up for more, like you risk if you give away a mail address. Because you don't give them any mail address. When you want to stop, you delete the subscription and it's guaranteed to stop. Unfortunately, this is only a solution for non-interactive updates you aren't responding to. It pretty much kills the idea with newsletters though.

There are other patchworks that avoid new standards for e-mail too, like throw away web services such as Mailinator.com. However, in a perfect world, we'd be able to use our one and only real addresses, and know we didn't put it in danger, because your ISP would be able to look at the mail header be able to approve the origin. Right now, the big problem is knowing the letter origin because it's so easily faked or circumvented with mail proxy chains or plain home user zombie hosts pumping out spam.

Hmm, not sure if anyone cares to read all this but thanks if you did

All those services run at a higher level than what they would be replacing (HTTP is application layer for example, you could replace all the bottom layers and they would still work)

Although i agree (i think) with your stance on IPv6, the integrated IPSec is the main reason (they can't wiretap you if every packet to a certain destination is encrypted), and we can finally be rid of NAT.

I agree that the internet has it's shortcomings, and IPv6 deserves a greater push, but there is not a fundamental problem. Problem lies in two areas: DNS - Registrars are not strict enough when it comes to the identity of the domain holders. Also too easy to register for fraudulent purposes. SMTP - The protocol is insecure by design. Needs to be a new standard protocol that uses CAPTCHAs instead

I don't think IPv6 is as backwards compatible as you think. That's the main problem. An IPv6 packet will not be recognized by an IPv4 router at all. There is no way for an old router to check e.g. the version flag and treat it accordingly. What people are trying to do today is encapsulate IPv4 packets in IPv6, loosing of course all the benefits IPv6 has to offer, just so two IPv4 hosts can communicate over a mixed IPv4/IPv6 network.

A. Kaladis / nw_raptor said,
I don't think IPv6 is as backwards compatible as you think. That's the main problem. An IPv6 packet will not be recognized by an IPv4 router at all. There is no way for an old router to check e.g. the version flag and treat it accordingly. What people are trying to do today is encapsulate IPv4 packets in IPv6, loosing of course all the benefits IPv6 has to offer, just so two IPv4 hosts can communicate over a mixed IPv4/IPv6 network.
Ideally we'd replace those, or at least upgrade the software to become dual-stack.

It might cost a lot, and take a while, but it's inevitable, so we should start planning.

The_Decryptor said,
Ideally we'd replace those, or at least upgrade the software to become dual-stack.

It might cost a lot, and take a while, but it's inevitable, so we should start planning.

Start planning? People have been doing this for some time now! It just isn't that easy to replace every old piece of equipment and test the new one.

Never said it'd be easy

Was a pain to configure my router to work with it, but when i finally got it working it was cool (although annoying as it never detected when my DSL connection went down, so every so often the IPv6 tunnel would die and I'd have to restart it)

NEWS HEADLINES:

U.S Government officials are urging to reconstruct the internet because of WAR ON TERROR.

The most compelling reason NOT to restart is privacy. If we were to restart the gov'ts are BOUND to put back doors into them.

Exactly, this sounds more like the government wants to redesign it so they can rule with an iron fist and put into place the necessary functions that would make it possible. We would probably lose all forms of privacy and it would pave the way for taxes and other forms of charge.

It's already been proven the internet is a very strong network as it is that would take some major event to bring it down. I think it could even continue to work in areas after an ELE. The internet is not ultimately controlled by any individual or organization and that is probably why they want to get rid of it.

Exactly, welcome to the DRM-Patriotnet. Where everything is designed for the RIAA and MPAA's peace of mind, and where every packet is scanned by the government to weed out any possible turrists.

ANova said,
and it would pave the way for taxes and other forms of charge.

No please say we wont get taxed to use the internet as well, it costs enough for a connection anyway

and i dont fancy the idea of "them" having control of what we do. at first it sounded like a good idea, but now i think things are best left alone.

Precisely. It'd be a good idea, if the structure etc was made and implemented by people without an agenda to push, without giving anyone the option of bribery/blackmail. Of course, this doesn't have a chance in hell, and if it happens we'll have government backdoors (call me a conspiracy theorist here, but there's pretty good evidence for existing NSA wiretaps in major backbones in the US) and whatever large corporations want.

The only reason the internet is as free and useful as it is now, is because the companies didn't see how profitable it could be until it was too late (luckily). I say we keep the one we have... we don't need another series of tubes!

Primexx said,
The most compelling reason NOT to restart is privacy. If we were to restart the gov'ts are BOUND to put back doors into them.

Too true. Leave it alone, me thinks.

Esvandiary said,
The only reason the internet is as free and useful as it is now, is because the companies didn't see how profitable it could be until it was too late (luckily). I say we keep the one we have... we don't need another series of tubes! :rolleyes:

That's a very good point. And I think you're right.

But really I just quoted you to express a good laugh toward your 'series of tubes' reference.

So... hah!

I think the internet should remain how it is, since if they try to make a new one they will try to regulate it...

You have a source for this? Sounds like you're just spreading FUD. This "new Internet" is only new by technology, not by how it's run or managed.

I think this is the way to go. And no, I don't think they would stop the internet while they're working on it. just work on it behind the scenes for however long it takes (though it shouldn't take too long.)

Just take a look back and see how overpopulated and dirty the internet really is. Isn't it time we finally gave it some spring cleaning?

Yeah, lets stop the current Internet for a couple of months while the "new" version of Internet is in construction.

I can only imagine how the economics for that would work....

TruckWEB said,
Yeah, lets stop the current Internet for a couple of months while the "new" version of Internet is in construction.

I can only imagine how the economics for that would work....

read the full article. It states the networks could run side by side. So once the new network is up and running, and organised migration could take place over to it, meaning in theory very little downtime.

Rytis said,
Internet2 anyone?

no i think that's still based on the technology, it just has increased speeds over internet1. however if it was to go out of it's small market of universities and such to a broader group such as the public domain then the security risks that plague the normal internet would plague it as well.

they are talking about a fundamental redesign that better integrates all the techonolgy and standards.

Probably like the NCP -> TCP switch.

What they are saying has been obvious for many years now. The Internet is a best-effort network created decades ago. Back then there were no real time applications and of course not as many users. Back then the switch from NCP to TCP caused pretty much chaos. Switching from IPv4 to IPv6 like that (set a date as a deadline, switch off everything and power on with the new protocols) nowadays is seen as impossible (too many users etc).