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Internet Infrastructure and Routing Technologies

Niagara Fall
(Niagara Fall, Canada - Wei-Jiun Su)



Preparing for the All-IP Future



- Internet Architectural Principles

The Internet, and consequently its backbone networks, do not rely on central control or coordinating facilities, nor do they implement any global network policies. The resilience of the Internet results from its principal architectural features, most notably the idea of placing as few network state and control functions as possible in the network elements, and instead relying on the endpoints of communication to handle most of the processing to ensure data integrity, reliability, and authentication. Please refer to [Architectural Principles of the Internet (RFC 1958)] for more details. 

The Internet and its architecture have grown in evolutionary fashion from modest beginnings, rather than from a Grand Plan. While this process of evolution is one of the main reasons for the technology's success. The days are gone when service providers rolled out multiple transport networks to support different services. You’re not just providing a service, you’re building a platform to feed the insatiable appetite of a new breed of customers and devices. With IP traffic to reach 4.8 zettabytes by 2022 you need to be ready. A modern transport network is converged and capable of concurrently supporting: fixed and mobile consumer broadband, enterprise, small and medium businesses, retail and wholesale business models, real-time immersive experiences, and IoT connectivity and value-add. 

In addition, the high degree of redundancy of today's network links and sophisticated real-time routing protocols provide alternate paths of communications for load balancing and congestion avoidance. The Internet backbone is of multiple, abundant networks owned by numerous companies. It is typically a fiber optic trunk line. The trunk line consists of many fiber optic cables bundled together to increase the capacity. The backbone is able to reroute traffic in case of a failure.


(Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications)

- Internet Infrastructure

The Internet backbone is a conglomeration of multiple, redundant networks owned by numerous companies. It is typically a fiber optic trunk line. The trunk line consists of many fiber optic cables bundled together to increase the capacity. The backbone is able to reroute traffic in case of a failure. The data rates of backbone lines have increased over time. Fiber-optic cables are the medium of choice for Internet backbone providers for many reasons. Fiber-optics allow for fast data speeds and large bandwidth; they suffer relatively little attenuation, allowing them to cover long distances with few repeaters; they are also immune to crosstalk and other forms of electromagnetic interference which plague electrical transmission. 

  • [CNN Labs]: What the Internet looks like: The undersea cables wiring the ends of the Earth. The information age is powered by thin fiber-optic cables buried in the sea bed, spreading between continents to connect the most remote corners of the planet. These great arteries account for practically all of our international web traffic, and each one has been logged by Washington research firm Telegeography in its interactive Submarine Cable Map 2014. (click here to find out more).
  • [Vox]: 40 maps that explain the Internet: The internet increasingly pervades our lives, delivering information to us no matter where we are. It takes a complex system of cables, servers, towers, and other infrastructure, developed over decades, to allow us to stay in touch with our friends and family so effortlessly. Here are 40 maps that will help you better understand the internet — where it came from, how it works, and how it's used by people around the world.
  • [DataCenter Map]: Global Internet Exchange Points (IxPs) - "On the map below you can see an overview of internet exchange points (IXPs) around the world, zoom in and click on a city marker to see the internet exchange points available in the city." 

    - The Internet Has Changed The World

    It’s difficult to quantify how the Internet has changed the world. The Internet has changed business, education, government, healthcare, and even the ways in which we interact with our loved ones - it has become one of the key drivers of social evolution. The changes in social communication are of particular significance. The Internet has removed all communication barriers.

    The Internet also has changed our ideas of time and space and distance. It has created new communities, bringing together people from all over the world. Of course, the existence of the Internet also means anonymous online trolls can flood social media with hateful comments, and overseas bots can post negative and untruthful tweets about politicians and celebrities to incite anger, dissension and even violence. 

    And while enterprises of all sizes use the Internet to streamline their supply chain management operations and connect customers more closely with their brands, they also have to deal with hackers stealing customers’ financial information, or competing corporations and nation states planting negative online comments or using the Internet to spy on their product plans or financials. Privacy, or the increasing loss of it, also is a problem thanks to the Internet – or more accurately, thanks to the way we use the Internet. 


    - Using The Internet To Get Smarter

    As the years have passed, the Internet has been getting smarter, You’re no longer just going somewhere. It’s watching you go somewhere, and it is learning about you by what you purchase and what you search and what you ‘like.’ With everything you do online, you leave a trail of information. Your digital self is more you than your physical self now. And it’s pushing information at you based on what it knows about you. Companies are using all of that personal information to strategically target individual users with specific advertisements and marketing. 

    Companies have a lot of opportunities to siphon information about our likes and dislikes, our political leanings, our hobbies, and our 2 a.m. shopping sprees because our laptops, tablets and smartphones have become something of an extra appendage. We’re rarely unconnected. The thought of it makes many people anxious and feel at loose ends. Surveys have shown that while many people scroll online news sites, Twitter and Facebook over their morning coffee, others can’t even wait until they get out of bed to check to see what’s happening in the world or what memes are being posted. We’re addicted. We’re so connected that entire businesses - AirBnB, Uber, GrubHub and online mega giant Amazon – exist totally online.


    - Future Internet - Future Advances and Emerging Issues

    As the internet turns 50, the technology is only picking up steam and continuing to reinvent many aspects of our lives, from the way we do business, and the way we find dates and jobs, to the way we run for political office. The spark of the Internet was lit in 1969, but the Internet really began to transform our lives in the late ‘90s to early 2000s. The next 50 years may bring pervasive connectivity, brain-computer interfaces and walled-off areas of the Internet.


    [More to come ...]



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