The internet, Web 1.0, is so incredibly powerful that even now, almost 20 years later, we have only begun to explore its potential. Web 2.0, with its YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and blogs galore is even younger and shows even more potential.
Now, thanks to the work of the WIP project, we may be on the brink of a new internet, a new world wide web. One where users can spontaneously create their own networks, in minutes, and with any kind of data device – mobile or fixed, handheld or deskbound. It means completely reinventing the internet, retooling its underlying technology, creating new operating principles and defining wholly new communications protocols so that it all works with any technology.
“When the internet first emerged, it assumed devices would be fixed in place and linked by wires,” remarks Marcelo Dias de Amorim, a researcher with the WIP project. “But that’s no longer true. A large number of devices are mobile and equipped with wireless communication capabilities.”
Many of the fundamental assumptions of the original internet have been superseded and many other pillars of the web are simply ad hoc (even bootstrap) solutions to discrete problems. It all appears rather accidental.
WIP wants to change all that, reinventing the internet and its underlying methods in what they cheerfully describe as disruptive technology. It is revolutionary, radical, but is it realistic?DIY networking
An example helps illustrate the concept. You live in an apartment building. You find neighbour’s wifi connections and invite them to join a new ‘building network’ with a few clicks. Now you can share and communicate with everyone.
You all have internet connections via an ISP, ranging from 1, 2 and 5 megabits/second (Mbits/s). You decide to pool your money and rent a fibre-optic line that handles voice, data and TV for the whole building. Suddenly you all have 10Mbit/s connections.
Another scenario. You go to a gig with some friends, set up an ad hoc network, and you can all communicate via text, voice or image for the rest of the day, all for free.
It’s a radical concept that must overcome some major design flaws of the current internet. One simple example: an IP address governs the routing of information and the identity of the recipient. “That works fine in wired networks, but what happens if the user moves. Their address has changed, not the identity,” reveals Dias de Amorim.
“But if separate values are used for identity and routing, then this isn’t a problem, even if the user is walking through a park. We’ve successfully separated the two functions.”
That is just one of dozens of challenges the WIP project has responded to during its research. It is a radical rethink of the current state of the art, but can it replace the internet?
“That’s not what we’re saying,” says Dias de Amorim. “It does address the basis of networking, but it can happily plug into the internet itself… That said, if everybody, or even the majority, is using WIP to create internets, then WIP is the internet!”
The project is not quite there yet, but it has made enormous progress. The project split the multitude of technical challenges into three grand strands: user applications and interface, routing protocols, and physical technology innovations. They fit hand in glove to allow users to set up the network, allow the protocols to communicate with any device, and allow the devices to keep up with requirements. It is plug-and-play networking for grown-up applications.
Remarkably, WIP is already in testing phase, using laboratories especially set up for the task, with many of the components of the system. Over the next year, it will finalise some elements and integrate them all together. Finally, it hopes to seed the technology in promising communities to kick-start its adoption.
And then we may see the beginnings of Web 3.0.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences