Quick guide

One of the great revolutions of all time occurred in December 1948 when William Shockley, Walter Brattain, and John Bardeen at the Bell Labs produced a transistor that could act as a triode. It was made from a germanium  crystal with a thin p-type section  sandwiched  between  two n-type materials. Rather than release its details to the world, Bell Lab oratories  kept its invention secret for over seven months so that they could fully understand its operation. Unfortunately, as with many other great inventions, it received little public attention and even less press coverage (the New York Times gave it 4Ĺ inches on page 46).
Isn't that interesting?


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Routing Protocols

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Okay. That was routing protocols . This chapter, as much as any other, should give you a more in-depth knowledge of how the Internet  works. So, as a bit of fun, letís do a little bit of crystal ball looking, and try and predict where the Internet will evolve in 10 or 20 years in the future.

      Most people are well aware of the disappearing computer, well, in fact, it has almost disappeared. The only reason that we still see computers, it that they still require large screens, and keyboards, and floppy disks, and so on. The actual physical size of the electronics is small. For example a high-performance microprocessor  has a silicon  size of less than one inch square. The next step from the disappearing computer is the disappearing Internet , where the interface to the Internet is invisible to the user.

      So what are the things that are holding back this development:

∑         The Internet  and its addressing  structure were  never  really  designed  to  be  a  global infrastructure and is constraining the access to resources and information .

∑         Information  and databases tend to be static , and fixed to location.

∑         Difficult to group individual objects into larger objects.

∑         Difficult to add resources to the Internet  (requires an ISP and a valid IP  address ).

∑         Search engines are not very good at gathering relevant information . On the WWW , typically users get pages of irrelevant information, which just happens to have the keyword which they are searching for.

∑         Resources are gathered around local servers .

∑         Resources are tied to locations with an IP  address .

∑         IP  address es are not logically organized.

∑         Infrastructure of the Internet  requires complex routing.

So where are we now, and where will we be in the future:



Computers use IP  addresse s, which require complex routing

Virtually every object in the world can be addressed

Location of resources is tied to networks

Resources and objects can move

Movement of resources requires specialist   configuration

Automatic tracking of resources

Difficult to add objects onto the Internet  (normally requires an IP  address  and a network adaptor)

Easy to add objects onto the Internet  (done automatically)

Difficult to address resources, which tend to be fixed in their location

Objects  become real, and do not have a fixed location

In the future many objects will have their own address, and can thus be addressed over the Internet . This will require that each object has a unique ID, that will map to a network address (which is built up from a geographical addressing  structure). This is similar to the way that each network adaptor has a MAC  address , which is mapped to a network address (its IP  address ). The MAC address does not contain any information  on the location of the object, but the network address does.


© W. Buchanan, 2000