Christopher Yoo on the Internet’s changing architecture

Christopher Yoo

February 12, 2013 · 2 comments

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.



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  • dullgeek

    I’ve been a fan of your podcast for a while. And while audio quality has been consistently low, it’s usually tolerable. However, this podcast may have been the low point. I found it incredibly difficult to understand the guest, right in the middle of him talking about specific technical details that really mattered to the conversation.

    Any chance you could make some changes to avoid this kind of thing in the future? Perhaps avoid using cell phones for interviews? 

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Yeah, definitely. For a technology podcast, you are surprisingly lo-tech when it comes to audio. I realize it is free, but it doesn’t have to be so cheap.