I have now been to enough meetings regarding the Future Internet network design that I can write something that makes some sense. Here are some thoughts:

“Learn from P2P Systems”:

One thing that it is clear to me is that there are several lessons to be learnt from P2P systems. In fact, I would argue that most of the innovations in networking space during the last years have come from P2P systems (new routing algorithms, swarming protocols, NAT traversal, overlay naming, etc).

Why? well, I guess because people got tired of waiting for THE network to support IP multicast, anycasting, content-based naming, full host reachability, etc. Users got frustrated to hear that to test their ideas they had to change all routers in the world, build a new infrastructure overlay, or yet, convince all ISPs in the Internet. Instead, users realized the power of deploying new services with a simple piece of software that turned their personal computers into network elements. And voila, there you have it, some of the most successful and scalable systems ever deployed, Skype, BitTorrent, and more to come.

The beauty of P2P systems is that one can deploy hugely scalable services completely bypassing ISPs and without the need for end2end multicast, in a similar way that the Internet created a network that could route packets without having to go through the centralized control of phone operators. Going forward, such highly distributed systems are likely to have a big impact in other parts of the network, e.g. enterprise networks or datacenter networks.