Whether you go online to chat with a friend, send mail, check the weather, or study, it feels like there’s one wire connecting you directly to the website that your viewing.
However, the infrastructure of the Internet isn’t dependent upon the best Internet Service Provider offering the highest connectivity speeds, more so, the Internet is unified by ‘network agreements.’
What is an Internet Network Agreement?
Comparable to a network of networks, Internet Service providers and Network operators unify the Internet by making agreements for the benefit of its continuity.
Because the Internet isn’t owned by anyone, any network that forms an agreement to follow a specific set of protocols can do so because the Internet is decentralized.
When an entity or an asset is decentralized, it means that it doesn’t belong to a central authority.
What is Internet Decentralization
The Internet is the biggest phenomenon of communications decentralization that there has ever been socially and politically.
Whilst anyone can publish information on the Internet, online networks such as social media channels are not decentralized.
However, the decentralized Infrastructure of the Internet means that we can all equally interwork which makes it possible for Internet users to take control of their Internet traffic.
What is the Internet Protocol?
The control of Internet traffic is based upon a set of rules for addressing and routing data on the Internet called ‘Internet Protocol’, or IP.
Every digital device that connects to the Internet has its own unique IP address.
What are Data Packets?
When content is transmitted from a device to another device over the Internet, it doesn’t travel in one big block, instead, it gets segmented into tiny packets of data.
These data packets contain information about the location the content is heading (via the IP address) and the route that the data packets will take to get to their destination, like a GPRS.
Even if one route is down, your data just takes a different path and can still find its way to the receiver.
When the data arrives at its destination, the receiving device puts that data packets back together and the Internet users receive the full volume of data in one piece.
However, let’s say, you use one Internet Service Provider, and your friend uses a different Internet Service Provider, how does your data get from one network to another?
What is an Internet Exchange Point?
Today, many more Internet networks are exchanging Internet traffic through a platform called an ‘Internet Exchange Point’.
An ‘Internet Exchange Point’ is a physical Infrastructure (like a Datacenter) where many different types of organizations remotely interconnect their Internet communications technology to route Internet traffic.
By connecting to an Internet Exchange Infrastructure via a remote port, each network can connect to other networks and route Internet traffic, in an agreement called ‘Remote Peering’.
Who can Peer at an Internet Exchange Point?
Any network that wants to peer with other peering networks can connect to an Internet Exchange Point.
Typically, Internet service providers direct Internet traffic across their routes, however, in recent times, as more and more traffic traverses the Internet, Content Delivery Networks, which peer with ISPs route Internet directly to their customers.
Content Delivery Networks
Content Delivery Networks also connect to Internet Exchange Points so that people who own websites can navigate their traffic quicker, however, there are growing companies that use Content Delivery Networks to overcome other challenges.
Why do we need an Alternative way to Distribute Internet Traffic?
The concentrated volume of Internet traffic, not only mitigates mission-critical business communications but theirs a host of underlying challenges that companies today are battling.
This isn’t to say that a new Internet would control digital ad’s or targeted content, but what it would mean is that an alternative method of distributing Internet traffic, rather than the traditional way of routing Internet traffic, would make it possible to control the Internet traffic that comes from your Network.
“CDN Browsing is a promising approach recently proposed for censorship circumvention. CDN Browsing relies on the fact that blocking content hosted on public CDNs can potentially cause the censors collateral damage due to disrupting benign content publishers.” (digitallibrary.acm.org)
By leveraging a content delivery network to route Internet traffic, website owners optimize and control their own computing and technology policy.
“The internet was invented to anticipate the aftermath of nuclear war, which thankfully never happened. But the information war that its technological, happens every day, even if you can’t log in to Twitter to see it” (theatlantic.com)