Is the Internet intelligent enough to handle all these smart devices
Cisco Systems have their doubts if something is not done soon. According to their forecasts by 2020 there will be 50 billion “things” on the Internet. From smart phones and computers to refrigerators, cars, medical devices and almost anything else you can imagine. The days of using a relatively dumb router to move all this data is coming to an end and according to Antonio Liotta in the July edition of IEEE Spectrum; we will see the birth of the Cognitive Net very soon that replaces a 40 year old data flow algorithm with one that allows any device or software to act as a routing engine. We are already seeing latency on certain parts of the Internet reaching 120 milliseconds which is about the limit for a VOIP phone system to handle without your phone calls breaking up, now think of all the cool new things you are getting from the net, streaming music, video, movies, Skype, YouTube, online games, cloud applications, cloud storage, cloud backup, etc. and the possibility of gridlock on the Internet in the next few years is a very real possibility.
The solution seems to be a new biologically inspired routing protocol, one that is found in nature as well as in human social networks. This is a great read for anyone interested in how something as critical to our everyday life might not last until the end of the decade without a massive change in design.
There is hope of course as everyone can probably agree the term “Too big to fail” most certainly pertains to the Internet so for the good of the collective a solution will have to be found, this is one possible answer.
As Antonio’s article mentions:
“Engineers still have plenty of work to do before they can build complex intelligence into the Internet itself. Although the change won’t happen overnight, it’s already beginning. At the edges of the network, services such as Google and Facebook are now using sophisticated learning algorithms to infer our preferences, make recommendations, and customize advertisements. Wireless equipment manufacturers are building radios that can select frequencies and adjust their transmission power by “listening” to the airwaves. Still other engineers are finalizing protocols for creating mobile ad hoc networks so that police and rescue vehicles, for example, can communicate directly with one another. Gradually, similar innovations will spread to other parts of the network. Perhaps as early as 2030, large portions of the Internet could be autonomic, while others will show the odd flash of actual insight. The future Net will exhibit a great diversity of intelligence, much like our planet’s own biological ecosystems.”
More info here