Brad Feld

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The Internet Is Broken

Jan 08, 2006
Category Technology

I still read a handful of print magazines (you gotta do something in the bathroom) – one my favorites is Technology Review (MIT’s Magazine).  This month’s cover story was The Internet Is Broken and is a fascinating (and probably important) article about the cost the Internet’s basic flaws which result in the need for a “clean-slate approach” being advocated by MIT’s David Clark (an Internet old-timer and chief protocol architect from 1981 – 1989.) 

Clark believes there should be four basic elements that he’d like to see designed into the “new Internet architecture.”

  1. Security: The Internet should authenticate the people and computers you communicate with and keep spam and hazards like viruses from ever reaching your PC.
  2. Mobility: Assigning Internet Protocol addresses to small and mobile computing devices such as sensors, phones, and embedded processors in cars would allow them to connect to the network securely.
  3. Protocols: Better traffic routing agreements between Internet service providers would allow them to collaborate on advanced services without compromising their businesses.
  4. Instrumentation: All pieces of the network should have the ability to detect and report emerging problems – whether technical breakdowns, traffic jams, or replicating worms – to network administrators.

The article is bound to be controversial, but covers a lot of ground, including discussing a proposed $300 million effort from the NSF to create a new Internet infrastructure.