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Content Is King: Can Researchers Design an Information-Centric Internet?

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map of the Internet

This image depicts a partial map of the Internet based on data from 2005. Each line is drawn between two nodes, representing two IP addresses.

Credit: The Opte Project

The Internet needs to be transformed from a network that emphasizes where data is located to one that focuses on the nature of the data itself, according to former Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) research fellow Van Jacobson. While at PARC, Jacobson led the organization's Project CNNx effort to overcome the current Internet architecture’s shortcomings as a media distribution platform. "The goal of content-centric networking is to get out of this phone-call world and instead ask the network for what you want," Jacobson says. If the Internet focused more on content than addresses, it could better accommodate modern speed and security needs.

"The interesting thing about allowing routers to use bits in the packets that are not addresses [is] that you can configure a network or network of networks around something other than formal address structures," says Google vice president and ACM president Vint Cerf.

The information-centric model (ICN) proposes that users retrieve information from locations closest to them, a more efficient process than the current approach of routing information requests throughout the Internet. One such ICN project is the University of Cambridge's Publish Subscribe Internet Technology project, which supports a variation of the "publish-and-subscribe" model.

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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