TR: What do you predict will be possible in the future?
DVH: I believe the network of the future will support a whole new set of applications – immersive collaboration environments, resource-sharing, real-time computation-intensive simulations, HDTV-quality video on demand, and many others that probably can’t even be imagined today. These applications will lead to further fundamental changes in the way we work, the way we learn, the way we entertain, the way we govern, and the way we live. We see three key areas of work we think are required to unleash the unrealized potential of the Internet: optical networking, federated authentication, and reliable end-to-end network performance.
TR: How can we tackle the basic problem of increasing bandwidth to support all this?
DVH: The Internet2 community has taken an innovative and ambitious approach to this pressing scalability issue. By creating a hybrid model of networking that combines the current IP-based technology and optical circuit paths – similar to the traditional telephone system –we believe consumers and businesses will have the ability to demand any type of broadband service they need when they want it, how they want it, and where they want it. This type of on-demand capacity can have far-reaching effects on industries across the board, from medicine and health sciences, to the arts, to entertainment and well beyond.
TR: Do you have solutions for tackling spam and various kinds of Internet fraud?
DVH: Consumers and businesses alike are bombarded daily by spam, viruses, and other nasty side effects of the Internet. It’s almost become cliché to ask “What are we going to do about spam?” Yet the problem only seems to get worse and no one really seems to have the answers. So, whom can you trust? I see a network future with trust at the core, where communities are formed based on agreed-upon rules and frameworks, called federations.
A federation is an association of organizations that use a common set of attributes, practices, and policies to exchange information about their users and resources in order to enable secure, authenticated collaborations and transactions. In a sense, a federation is like a village, but it is not geographically defined. In Internet2, we now have global federations of scientists, artists, and students working on joint projects. I believe that in the future, trusted communities and federations will enable Internet users to receive only the information they want, and because communication must be authenticated, all unwanted information can be easily traced back to its true source, eliminating the anonymity of spammers and scammers.