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The Internet Ecosystem

(The Internet Ecosystem - The Internet Society)

Evolving From Decentralization to Centralization: 

Back to a Decentralized Future



- Overview

Today, the Internet is the key to almost every social or economic activity. It is a real value creator that reshapes economies and societies. This trend is irreversible, and the Internet's important role in global society and economy will continue to increase.


- Internet Organizations

The Internet, a loosely-organized international collaboration of autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and procedures defined by Internet Standards.  

Nobody really owns or controls the Internet. Rather, participation in the Internet derives from voluntary participation in Internet Standards. Many Internet providers not only adhere to these standards, but make access to their networks available to the public. It is the voluntary interconnection and cooperation of these providers that forms the global Internet.

This is a list of Internet organizations, or organizations that play or played a key role in the evolution of the Internet by developing recommendations, standards, and technology; deploying infrastructure and services; and addressing other major issues.  

  • [International Telecommunication Union (ITU)]: .ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs.). Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, the ITU allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.  Every time you make a phonecall via the mobile, access the Internet or send an email, you are benefitting from the work of ITU.
  • [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.
  • [The Internet Architecture Board (IAB)]: The IAB provides long-range technical direction for Internet development, ensuring the Internet continues to grow and evolve as a platform for global communication and innovation.


(Salem, Massachusetts - Harvard Taiwan Student Association)

- The Operation of The Internet (Today)

The operation of the internet falls to six organizations, working in concert (and occasionally, at odds with one another). 

Some, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and The Internet Society, concern themselves with ensuring (and improving) access to the internet around the world, as well as helping to make sure that such access is fair and open. Other organizations, such as the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), deal with the physical and virtual infrastructure of the internet, making sure that resources are organized effectively (and efficiently) while supporting the seemingly endless expansion of the internet itself.  

Rounding out the six are the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a volunteer organization dedicated to the betterment of the internet through positive review of, and influence on, its design and resources, and, of course, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the companies who bring the internet into the homes, public spaces, and workplaces around the globe.


- Global Evolution and Challenges Years To Come

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. 

Currently, even in the hands of six massive interrelated organizations, the Internet’s complexity and ever-expanding presence make maintenance, innovation, and logistics an ongoing challenge. These six power players are on the job today, but as technologies advances and legal and ethical issues multiply, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be running the show - in public and in private - in years to come.


- Research Projects and Programs - The Next Generation Internet

The Next Generation Internet offers new functionalities to support people’s needs and to address global sustainability challenges.  

  • []: 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."




[More to come ...]

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