A Brave New Internet?

Loraine Lawson

There's a plan afoot to scrap the existing Internet and build a brand spanking new one.


The Internet as it stands may be rough, rowdy and quite possibly held together by duct tape, but, somehow, I doubt it will go gently into that good night.


Basically, there are those who want to unplug the old Internet, force an upgrade and start afresh with a new infrastructure that's more flexible, secure and mobile. I think that effort would fall as flat as New Coke.


As much as some may wish we would just jump into the new Internet with both feet, most realize what will probably happen is a more gradual evolution to the new Internet architecture.


The NewsFactor Network piece predicts organizations, as they need to replace equipment, will install dual systems, allowing them to tap into both the new and existing system, at least until the new Internet reaches critical mass.


It's an interesting problem. I'm not so sure businesses will rush to run dual systems unless advocates of the new and improved architecture can demonstrate a real business value. I also wonder how this will affect the individual users -- will we have to run dual systems at home?


I suspect what will really happen is that, once again, universities will be where the new protocols and systems establish their footing. They'll be followed closely by high-tech firms and big business. Internet2 -- thankfully, they're not calling it Internet 2.0 -- is trying to shortcut this process by bringing these organizations together from the beginning. Even so, universities and government outnumber corporations by more than 3:1.


In this scenario, eventually, the rest of us will have to catch up.


Perhaps a more immediate question is whether the Internet -- new or original -- will end up being more segmented than it is today. Particularly as more Asian users come online, some have predicted more pages will be written with non-Latin characters. This could lead to a divided Internet.


I like to envision a time when we'll have a pristine, very corporate and professional Internet using what appears to be the near-universal business language: English and Math. This is where we'll see the new Internet, with its promise of security and greater agility.


This Internet won't even bother to converse with the nitty-gritty Internet we all know and love. It could be a two-tiered system: the pristine, new-and-improved Internet for Official Use Only and the original Internet, now an underground, unorganized, somewhat seedy playground for our time off.

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