''How should the Internet look in 15 years?'' Stanford researchers scheming to rebuild Internet from scratch
17/03/2007
Sure, the Internet is just one notch down from the air we breathe on the list of things we can't do without these days, but Stanford University researchers say the 'Net could be a whole lot better.

By Alpha Doggs on Thu, 03/15/2007 - 11:57am

''How should the Internet look in 15 years?'' asks team leader Nick McKeown, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, in a statement. ''We should be able to answer that question by saying we created exactly what we need, not just that we patched some more holes, made some new tweaks or came up with some more work-arounds. Let's invent the car instead of giving the same horse better hay.'

Stanford researchers will present their ideas for a more secure and application-friendly network at an event called Clean Slate Design for the Internet at the school on March 21.

Among McKeown's cohorts on the effort is electrical engineering Professor Bernd Girod, a pioneer of Internet multimedia delivery. Vendors such as Cisco, Deutsche Telekom and NEC are also involved.

The researchers already have projects underway to support their effort: Flow-level models for the future Internet; clean slate approach to wireless spectrum usage; fast dynamic optical light paths for the Internet core; and a clean slate approach to enterprise network security (Ethane).

Stanford says the project complements the National Science Foundation's Global Environment for Network Innovations ( GENI ) effort to build a better network research platform (http://www.geni.net/ ) as well as the Future Internet Network Design program for (http://find.isi.edu/ ) developing new Internet architectures.

Overview

We believe that the current Internet has significant deficiencies that need to be solved before it can become a unified global communication infrastructure. Further, we believe the Internet.s shortcomings will not be resolved by the conventional incremental and .backward-compatible. style of academic and industrial networking research.

The proposed program will focus on unconventional, bold, and long-term research that tries to break the network.s ossification.

To this end, the research program can be characterized by two research questions: "With what we know today, if we were to start again with a clean slate, how would we design a global communications infrastructure", and "How should the Internet look in 15 years." We will measure our success in the long-term: We intend to look back in 15 years time and see significant impact from our program.

In the spirit of past successful inter-disciplinary research programs at Stanford, the program will be driven by research projects .from the ground up..

Rather than build a grand infrastructure and tightly coordinated research agenda, we will create a loosely-coupled breeding ground for new ideas. Some projects will be very small, while others will involve multiple researchers; our goal is to be flexible, creating the structure and identifying and focusing funds to support the best research in clean-slate design.

The program will collaborate with, and be funded by, approximately seven industrial partners with interests in networking services, equipment, semiconductors and applications.

This Whitepaper describes how the program is structured, and identifies five key areas for research:

1. Network architecture

2. Heterogeneous applications

3. Heterogeneous physical layer technologies

4. Security

5. Economics & policy

We expect these areas will evolve and perhaps change completely as the program progresses.