A Journey through the Four Dimensions of Internet Success

21/04/2022

By Oscar Robles – LACNIC CEO

The Internet has been continuously “attacked” through different actions. These include regulations that impede the development of innovative business models to favor the connectivity of ignored communities, or regulations that pretend to solve real problems but whose real intention is to be an instrument of control and coercion, or the voracity of global conglomerates that, driven by their eagerness for more, undermine people’s trust in the Internet.

A few months ago, we developed an Internet study together with APNIC, our sister organization in Asia Pacific.  In this study, we sought to identify which technical principles established in the original design of the Internet remained in today’s Internet and to what extent. Not only did we find that all of these principles are present in some form or another, but that they have been fundamental to the success of the Internet for more than 50 years.

We identified that these technical principles had an impact on four dimensions: Flexibility, Resilience, Scalability, and Adaptability. In other words, the vast majority of the decisions made in the original design of the Internet had a significant impact on one or more of these dimensions. They were conscious and crucial decisions for the development of the Internet, rather than left to chance.

By defining an architectural model based on layers, networks can be agnostic to the technology used in users’ devices or even the medium to connect them in the last mile. Thanks to such an impressive flexibility, the Internet has been able to connect different networks and a wide range of technologies. The fundamental protocols (TCP/IP) are essential to enable applications that were defined 40 years ago to coexist today along with new applications based on the Internet of Things (IoT) or blockchain applications. During the pandemic, we have also witnessed how traffic behaved (real-time video) and how the adaptability of Internet protocols made this possible.

Although the Internet was not originally designed with robust security mechanisms, its design has allowed increasingly more secure mechanisms to be introduced in different elements of the network (in DNS, routing, navigation, information storage, etc.) that allow the Internet to maintain its operational capacity despite the challenges that its infrastructure suffers every day, thus showing extraordinary resilience.

Finally, it is a technology that has shown unparalleled growth: no other technology has managed to connect as many people or as many devices in the history of mankind as the Internet, thereby demonstrating its scalability. In the early days of the pandemic, we were even able to witness different growth rates throughout the network and, in a matter of days, it reached a growth peak no other technology has been able to experience, especially at this stage of maturity.

Therefore, it is important that those of us who participate in the development of the Internet, either through the organizations of the technical community, in regulatory entities of these technologies, or in companies that bring connectivity to the different areas of the region, ensure the proper implementation of this development. Also, ensure that this Internet continues to be the only one that has demonstrated sufficient Flexibility, Adaptability, Resilience and Scalability to meet the diverse needs of society.

To learn more about this topic, we invite you to participate in the panel “A Journey through the Four Technical Dimensions of the Internet” at LACNIC 37, on Tuesday, May 3.

Please, click here for more information.

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