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Internet Evolution

Question 5: Impact on The Future of the Internet

Any other observations or interpretations of these reports in terms of impact and import for the future of the Internet that you would like to share?

Geoff Huston: IPv4 address exhaustion is occurring at a very interesting time. It’s hard to expect the carriers to spend large sums of money supporting a dual-stack infrastructure if the net result is to cement their role as a commodity bit-carriage operator. I would not be surprised to see the carriers, particularly in the lucrative mobile-data sector, use this situation as an opportunity to create novel application-level gateways that, in effect, act as toll gates on the wire and allow the carriers to meter the applications and the user’s traffic.

Jon Crowcroft: Time to study the end-user properly.

Kenjiro Cho: We also observe similar trends in Japan.[1]

Bill St. Arnaud: There is no question that the Internet is maturing in terms of protocols, technology advances, and deployment. Most of the innovation is coming outside of the traditional Internet community as, for example, in content networking, and is being driven by the huge leverage of a large installed base. A large part of this ‘alternate’ innovation is being driven by the need to get around today’s major obstacles blocking deployment of innovative applications, namely incumbent telephone, cable companies, and wireless companies. If they had made sufficient investment in the last-mile infrastructure then many of the innovations like content networks, caching, and so on may not have been required.  But as a result, only companies with deep pockets have the wherewithal to develop solutions that counter the regressive forces of the telcos and cablecos. Unfortunately that leaves smaller, innovative players out in the cold and makes life more difficult for them.

[1] Kenjiro Cho.  “Broadband Traffic Report: Traffic Shifting away from P2P File Sharing to Web Services”.  IIR, vol.8, pp25-30. August 2010. http://www.iij.ad.jp/en/development/iir/pdf/iir_vol08_report_EN.pdf

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