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Researchers take internet back to the drawing board

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The internet as it stands has numerous shortcomings, so researchers at Stanford University have gone back to the drawing board in an effort to design a better system of communications.

In an overview of the project, the researchers explain: "We believe that the current internet has significant deficiencies that need to be solved before it can become a unified global communication infrastructure.

"Further, we believe the internet's shortcomings will not be resolved by the conventional incremental and backward-compatible style of academic and industrial networking research. The proposed program will focus on unconventional, bold, and long-term research that tries to break the network's ossification."

By taking a clean slate approach to the problem, and looking at developing architecture for the net that would be applicable in 15 years time, the researchers aim to create the blueprint for a more secure and faster network capable of supporting improved applications. Leading suppliers such as Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, and NEC are also involved in the project.

The five main areas of research are: network architecture, applications, physical layer technologies, security, economics, and policy. These components are expected to evolve, or even change completely, as the program evolves.

Early research components of the project include research into more efficient use of wireless spectrum and a clean slate approach to enterprise network security, dubbed Ethane, Network World reports.

A whitepaper on the research, which explains the structure of the program in more depth, can be found here. Stanford researchers plan to explain their early idea at an event called Clean Slate Design for the Internet at the university on 21 March.

Stanford boffins said the aims of the project complement those of the National Science Foundation's Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI platform and the Future Internet Network Design (FIND) program. ®

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