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The Internet Ecosystem

(United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)


Evolving From Decentralization to Centralization: Back to a Decentralized Future



Evolution Drives Specialization


The Internet is our digital information superhighway which we use so ubiquitously Today.

The Internet, a global network of networks, is a remarkably complex technical system built on the creative contributions of scientists around the world from the 1950s to the present. Throughout its evolution, the Internet and other networks have been promoted by governments, researchers, educators, and individuals as tools for meeting a range of human needs. The Internet ecosystem continues to grow dramatically in a fertile environment of user demand. Most of the growth stems from quality sensitive applications.

Internet Ecosystem is the term used to describe the organizations and communities that help the Internet work and evolve. These organizations share common values for the open development of the Internet. The Internet Ecosystem term implies that the rapid and continued development and adoption of Internet technologies can be attributed to the involvement of a broad range of actors; open, transparent, and collaborative processes; and the use of products and infrastructure with dispersed ownership and control. 

The continued, relentless growth of the Internet, combined with shifts in users’ preferences and behavior, will present opportunities as well as problems for all species in the Internet ecosystem. As the environment of users changes, the content providers, access providers and transit providers that inhabit the ecosystem will have to change, too. This will require a new model for sharing the management, the provision of content, the transmission of data and, especially, the costs. The new model will arise from natural evolution and not because of planned, coordinated action or artificially engineered development.


Internet Organizations


  • [Internet Society (ISOC)]: ISOC is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, and policy. It is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.
  • [The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)]: The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an organized activity of the Internet Society (ISOC).
  • [World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)]: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.
  • [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)]: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which are key technical services critical to the continued operations of the Internet's underlying address book, the Domain Name System (DNS).
  • [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)]: The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is a department of ICANN responsible for coordinating some of the key elements that keep the Internet running smoothly. Whilst the Internet is renowned for being a worldwide network free from central coordination, there is a technical need for some key parts of the Internet to be globally coordinated, and this coordination role is undertaken by IANA.


Projects and Programs


  • []: The future of the world economy is a knowledge economy — the Internet, its backbone. 
  • [NSF Future Internet Architecture Project]: "The Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for advancing knowledge across the spectrum of human endeavors.  It has evolved from a small scale network of networks to become integral to our lives and vital to the operation of all critical sectors of our society. The continued success of the Internet, however, is increasingly threatened by the ever-mounting sophistication of security attacks and by the lack of performance reliability of Internet services. As our reliance on a secure and highly dependable information technology infrastructure continues to increase, it is no longer clear that emerging and future needs of our society can be met by the current trajectory of incremental changes to the current Internet......" 
  • [The European Union - Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE)]: "The FIRE initiative creates an open research environment which facilitates strategic research and development of new Future Internet concepts, giving researchers the tools they need to conduct large-scale experiments on new paradigms."




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