Christopher S. Yoo, the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the new book, The Dynamic Internet: How Technology, Users, and Businesses are Transforming the Network, explains that the Internet that we knew in its early days—one with a client-server approach, with a small number of expert users, and a limited set of applications and business cases—has radically changed, and so it may be that the architecture underlying the internet may as well.
According to Yoo, the internet we use today barely resembles the original Defense Department and academic network from which it emerged. The applications that dominated the early Internet—e-mail and web browsing—have been joined by new applications such as video and cloud computing, which place much greater demands on the network. Wireless broadband and fiber optics have emerged as important alternatives to transmission services provided via legacy telephone and cable television systems, and mobile devices are replacing personal computers as the dominant means for accessing the Internet. At the same time, the networks comprising the Internet are interconnecting through a wider variety of locations and economic terms than ever before.
These changes are placing pressure on the Internet’s architecture to evolve in response, Yoo says. The Internet is becoming less standardized, more subject to formal governance, and more reliant on intelligence located in the core of the network. At the same time, Internet pricing is becoming more complex, intermediaries are playing increasingly important roles, and the maturation of the industry is causing the nature of competition to change. Moreover, the total convergence of all forms of communications into a single network predicted by many observers may turn out to be something of a myth. Policymakers, Yoo says, should allow room for this natural evolution of the network to take place.
- The Dynamic Internet: How Technology, Users, and Businesses are Transforming the Network, Yoo
- The Changing Patterns of Internet Usage, Yoo
- Network Neutrality and the Economics of Congestion, Yoo
- Cloud Computing: Architectural and Policy Implications, Yoo