As we say here in south Arkansas, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, that approach has led to more than one massive mistake by a refusal to understand and embrace change.
Researchers at Stanford (among others) are also sounding the alarm. The internet may be broke… or at least at maximum capacity. Bandwidth is the new gold standard, but we may be in store for a market crash. With demand for online video through services like YouTube and Joost increasing in a ballistic fashion, the pipe is going to get clogged sooner or later. (How’s that for technical lingo?)
The Clean Slate Project is one of the many think tanks devoted to examining what may need to become the next internet. Bill Thompson over at BBC News has an interesting take on why we’ve been able to milk the net for this long. (As an aside, Bill’s entire article was captivating until his last sentence. I was dumbstruck with its stupidity, almost to the point of discounting the rest of his article. See if you feel the same way.)
Consider the following from the Clean Slate site:
We believe that the current Internet has significant deficiencies that need to be solved before it can become a unified global communication infrastructure. Further, we believe the Internet’s shortcomings will not be resolved by the conventional incremental and ‘backward-compatible’ style of academic and industrial networking research. The proposed program will focus on unconventional, bold, and long-term research that tries to break the network’s ossification.
We all still know folks on dial-up (don’t we?). Reinventing the internet may allow some of them to leapfrog technologies. It might be compared to, uh, switching from a PC to a Mac. 😉 Or even, from driving a moped to using a transporter. Beam me up, Scotty.