Intel outlines plans for Internet overhaul
9 September, 2004
by Robert Dutt
It's about time to upgrade the Internet with new capabilities that
will help future-proof the ubiquitous network, Intel's CTO said
Speaking at the company's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco,
Gelsinger pointed out the example of PlanetLab, an already-developed
network that sits on top of the network, as a way to make sure the
Internet survives challenges ahead. HP and Intel, which have worked on
PlanetLab for two years, are now in the first steps of getting the
"We think the work we're doing today is the foundation of the Internet
of tomorrow," Gelsinger said.
And he had some high-profile support in his argument, in the form of
Vint Cerf, one of the key figures in creating the Internet. Cerf
described the Internet as "still pretty primitive," calling our current
situation "in the Stone Age when it comes to serious network."
In particular, Cerf said the Internet suffered from a capacity problem
that will only get worse as a proliferation of mobile devices hit the
network in the next few years. In addition, there are bandwidth issues
-- more devices on the network means more capacity will be required,
and will likely worsen the problem of "flash crowd," localized,
temporary traffic jams that can bring the Web crawling to a halt.
There are also many different qualities of service offered by
Internet-connected machines, meaning that response times of Web sites
and other services will vary more greatly. And while he still advocates
private-sector fixes to many of these problems, he said that there has
to be a governmental, or intergovernmental, interaction to tackle tax
and crime problems on the Internet.
Gelsinger's solution to many of these problems can be offered through
PlanetLab, which embeds a layer of services on top of those offered by
the Internet. Those services include event processing and monitoring,
intelligent network mapping, content distribution to optimize
distribution of information, and support for more-efficient Webcasting.
"The solution is creating an overlay network that allows us to
abstract and look past much of the complexity," Gelsinger said.
The PlanetLab Consotrium also includes AT&T Labs, Cambridge
University, France Telecom, NEC Labs, Princeton and UC Berkley, as well
as HP, Intel, the Internet2 organization, and national next-generation
networks in the education field in countries including Canada, Brazil