The Chronicle of Higher Education (sub. reqd.) has a great article on the future of the Internet and the Global Environment for Network Innovations or GENI. It contains quotes from many participants of the new Computing Community Consortium (CCC) that CRA helped launch.
The article talks about the problems with the current state of the Internet:
Identity theft, viruses, and attacks on Web sites are on the rise a few weeks ago the country of Estonia was practically shut down, digitally, by deliberate attempts to jam government computers. Spam, which was less than 50 percent of e-mail traffic back in 2002, is now close to 90 percent, according to Commtouch Software Ltd., an Internet-security company.
Moreover, the Internet has great difficulty coping with the sharp increase in mobile devices like cellphones and laptops, and handling bandwidth-hungry traffic such as video, now demanded by an increasing number of users.
GENI and its possibilities are discussed in great detail:
The people pushing for change are the very people at universities and colleges who built the Internet in the first place. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California, among others, have joined Mr. Peterson in the GENI planning process. Industry players such as chip-maker Intel are also on board.
In late May of this year, the science foundation awarded Cambridge-based BBN Technologies the job of planning GENI, giving them $10-million to spend over the next four years. The company has deep roots in the old Internet: It built the first network segment connecting four universities back in 1969.
Chip Elliott, the BBN engineer who will be running the GENI project office, thinks the project calls for two approaches. “First, if you don’t like conventional Internet protocols, try something completely different. Second, do it on a large enough scale, with enough users, so that your results actually mean something.” People associated with GENI say that “large enough” means access for experimenters at several hundred universities and, eventually, a user community in the tens of thousands.
Thousands of users will provide a crucial dose of reality, say planners. Over the years, there have been many papers published on new Internet design, and simulations run on networks such as PlanetLab. “But you don’t know how an Internet design will behave until a large group of people actually use it,” says Ms. Zegura, who will co-chair a GENI science council charged with rounding up ideas from the research community. “They will do things that you don’t expect, just like in the real Internet, and then you’ll see how robust your idea is. That’s where the rubber meets the road.”