The Ubiquitous Internet: Into Eternity?

The Ubiquitous Internet: Into Eternity?

Robert van Wessel (ApexIS, The Netherlands) and Henk J. de Vries (RSM Erasmus University, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4715-2.ch005
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Abstract

We all take the ubiquity of the Internet for granted: anyone, anywhere, anytime, any device, any connection, any app…but for how long? Is the future of the Internet really at stake? Discussions about control of the Internet, its architecture and of the applications running on it started more than a decade ago (Blumenthal & Clark, 2001). This topic is becoming more and more important for citizens, businesses, and governments across the world. In its original set-up, the architecture of the Internet did not favor one application over another and was based on the net neutrality principle (Wu, 2003). However, architectures should be understood an “alternative way of influencing economic systems” (Van Schewick, 2010), but they should not be a substitute for politics (Agre, 2003). The architecture is laid down in standards and therefore discussions about the future of the Internet should also address the role of standards. This is what this chapter aims to do.
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Introduction

Van Schewick (2010) argues that the original design principles of the Internet that shaped its architecture are at risk. Network providers tend to deviate from these principles for technical and commercially motivated reasons. These deviations can negatively impact the design and development of innovations for future utilization of the Internet. This would make it much more difficult to change certain parts of the Internet’s architecture, thereby hampering the quality of application innovation at significant costs to society. Apparently, we need to address the Internet’s architecture.

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Violation Of The Internet’S Architecture

Recently, deviations from this approach have been implemented to optimize the network for specific applications and to increase the controllability of the network to make more profits. This leads to constraints for start-up companies and users to initiate innovations. In addition, it gives extra power to network providers to introduce and implement such innovations, if any (Van Schewick, 2010).

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