Does the Internet need a do-over?

The Internet is maxing out, isn't viable over the long run and is being flooded by rich applications and thousands of gadgets. If the Internet were air traffic control you wouldn't fly.

The Internet is maxing out, isn't viable over the long run and is being flooded by rich applications and thousands of gadgets. If the Internet were air traffic control you wouldn't fly.

That's the gist of a Computerworld report. Computerworld argues that the Internet needs a clean slate and researchers are increasingly targeting projects to oblige the idea.

According to the story, Nick McKeown, a computer scientist at Stanford University, says the Internet is “broken” in at least two places — security and mobility. He has created a prototype network called Ethane, which centralizes security.

Says McKeon:

“Ten years ago, we were saying the Internet would change the world,” he says. “In a decade or two, we’d be doing air traffic control and remote surgery over the Internet. But if air traffic control were on the Internet today, I wouldn’t fly. Same with telesurgery.”

The story also notes that the National Science Foundation is spending $300 million to $400 million to fund a clean slate so researchers can try out radical ideas.

"The Global Environment for Networking Innovation, or GENI, will be a giant test laboratory stretching across the U.S., complete with wired and wireless computers, routers, switches, management software and subnets of wireless, cellular, sensor and radio devices. It will include a fiber-optic backbone and tail circuits to some 200 universities."

The NSF is also focusing on a project called FIND, or Future of Internet Network Design.

These Internet Petri dishes, which have 15-year time horizons, are much needed, but some private sector help will be necessary. The problem with getting the private sector involved is that few companies have a 15-year time horizon. In most cases, 15 quarters is too long to wait. Meanwhile, it's unclear why a company would spend heavily on a clean network slate with the Net neutrality issue lingering.