An analysis, conducted earlier this year, showed that Hong Kong boasted the world's fastest internet speeds. But right outside its borders, an economic beast is building a newer version so powerful and efficient, that it's expected to surpass anything currently being used in the west.
With a population so vast, the Chinese government foresaw that it would need a network infrastructure that can accommodate its one billion plus population. The solution they devised, called China Next Generation Internet, is an ambitious 5-year project designed to address two of the biggest flaws with the world wide web: malicious traffic and space limitations.
A study recently published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society reveals how these various advancements, currently under development, would work.
Unlike the networks being used, China's NGI will feature an integrated security system, known as Source Address Validation Architecture (SAVA), that authenticates all users that attempts to plug into the network. This is achieved by setting up checkpoints throughout the data pipeline and using the information collected to build a database (basically a white-list) of trusted computers based on their IP addresses. Any computer that doesn't check out against the database will have their data packets blocked. In time, the network could build up a strong immunity to viruses and other malicious gunk.
The other problem NGI would allow Chinese netizens to get around is the finite number of computers that can log in because of Internet Protocol Version Four (IPv4), a numeric computer ID system that caps the number of computers capable of accessing at less than 4.3 billion slots. NGI will be based on a newer standard called IPv6, which expands the potential internet space almost indefinitely. While the western world is working to switch over to the new system, the world's second largest economy has already been putting the architecture in place to accommodate the new standard.
"China has a national internet backbone in place that operates under IPv6 as the native network protocol," Donald Riley, an information systems specialist, told New Scientist. "We have nothing like that in the U.S."
The big advantage of operating on IPv6 is that it allows the network to function more efficiently, and thus faster.
"IPv6 simplifies and speeds up data transmission by handling packets more efficiently, and removing the need to check packet integrity," Tri Nguyen of networking firm ZyXEL told PC World. "This frees valuable router time that can be better-spent moving data."
An early glimpse of this coming future can be found through 3TNet, which has already been providing high-def TV programs over the country's shiny new internet.