I'd much rather write about what was new and neat about networking in 2010, but the sad truth is I think the many of the most important networking stories in 2010 were about regulations rather than innovations.
That said, there was some "good news" about networking in 2010 as well. Number one with a bullet in my book was:
The root of all evil, and the endless Net Neutrality fights, is money. Who pays for all that bandwidth we're using? Is it the content providers? The ISPs? Oh sure, you can argue about it being about freedom of speech, but really the way I see it, the players are all far more concerned about making the most money with the least amount of moo from the cows... ah paying customers.
In 2010, all we saw was the FCC try to take a stand, which as far as I can tell, no one likes. Not mind you that it matters, the incoming Congress, not the FCC, will decide who, if anyone, gets to call the Internet's regulatory shots.
Once upon a time, we used the Internet. Now, we live on the Internet. All those complicated real-life questions of censorship and freedom of speech are being fought over every day on the Internet. 2011 will see more of the same.
5. We're running out of Internet Addresses
I wrote a lot about IPv4 and IPv6 in 2010. I'll be writing a lot more in 2011. The clock is running ever faster on the Internet running out of IPv4 addresses. Like it or lump it, we need to start switching to IPv6. Fortunately, more of the major ISPs, such as Verizon, are supporting IPv6. Unfortunately, we're still a long, long way from IPv6 being universally supported.
When I think about 2010 as a whole, I believe it was a year where we got a lot of neat stuff like all these new browsers and I use Internet video all the time now myself. At the same time, though the Internet's technical and regulatory foundation has gotten more rickety than ever. 2011 will be a critical year for the Internet. We're either going to fix some of its fundamental problems, or we're going to see sporadic wide-range system failures.
We all know something about power brown-outs, even if we haven't experienced one personally. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that we'll see Internet brown-outs in 2011. There will be too much demand for not enough bandwidth, there will be even more DDoS attacks, and some new sites won't be able to go up due to a lack of Internet addresses. This is not going to be fun.