Monday, March 26, 2007

Internet plumbing: Plunger needed!

When we think about the Internet and networking, we generally think about a series of wires, but we may also view it as a series of pipes. Internet plumbing? Yes, the Internet is essentially like plumbing. At least, this is the way I have always viewed the Internet and networking. Ted Stevens, a senator form Alaska was widely ridiculed for making basically the same statement last year in a speech when he referred to the Internet as a “series of tubes”. Tubes, pipes, whatever! The point that he was trying to make was that tubes get clogged.

Thinking about the analogy of the Internet being a series of pipes, we may rationalize that it will also get clogged in the near future as a result of digital video. Wade Roush of Technology Review brings to light the possibility of such a dilemma occurring in the near future in an article entitled TR10: Peering into videos future. I haven’t as of yet seen a plunger for the Internet, but maybe it already exists. Hui Zhang’s idea of an Internet plunger seems to be peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution technology. And as Roush (2007) points out, with a little luck and (P2P) file distribution technology, maybe the pipes will stay unclogged a little longer.

William Bishop (Bill)

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