Is the Internet Broken? Web Veteran Says No - InformationWeek

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Government // Enterprise Architecture

Is the Internet Broken? Web Veteran Says No

David Clark, senior research scientist at MIT, says he believes the Internet is crumbling under the weight of security problems and it must be rebuilt. Mike Nelson, IBM's director of On Demand Business and former director for technology policy at the FCC, disagrees.

Technology Review magazine recently ran a provocative cover story titled, "Is the Internet Broken?" The article expressed the ideas of David Clark, senior research scientist at MIT, who says he believes the Internet is crumbling under the weight of security problems and it must be rebuilt.

"We might just be at the point where the utility of the Internet stalls--and perhaps turns downward," Clark stated. His vision for a new Internet architecture contains four components: security in the form of authentication, spam and virus blocking; protocols that allow Internet service providers to better route traffic and offer advanced services without compromising their businesses; provision for future computing devices to connect to the Internet; and technology that makes the network easier to manage and more resilient.

To get a perspective from outside academia, we turned to Mike Nelson, IBM's director of On Demand Business and former director for technology policy at the FCC. An MIT grad, Nelson previously served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"The Internet isn't broken; I would say it's very robust," Nelson counters. On the other hand, "We're all figuring out what we can do to keep the Internet going. There are a few standards that will make the Internet more reliable."

First is IPv6, a network layer standard that will ensure there are enough IP addresses for billions of new devices. Second is IPsec, a framework of network security protocols. Third is DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions), which will add security to the DNS used on IP networks, bolstering authentication.

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