Understanding Internet Architecture, a Need for Smarter Networks, TCP and UDP Differences

Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Sept 11, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm not going to do justice to Wesley Fryer's long discussion of network architectures. But I do want to key on a theme in the title (and found throughout the article) that suggests that the network can somehow be 'managed' to be more efficient. I think that is a fallacy. In general, the most efficient systems involve 'stupid' networks and 'smart' objects (rather than 'smart' networks and 'stupid' objects). Let me give some examples: the road system is a stupid network, as compared to the rail system, which is a smart - but inefficient - network. Or, consider airline baggage, which (stupidly) moves through the smartest network in the world, and still ends up in Omaha. As compared to the (smart) people who travel on the (stupid) concourses, which almost never do. The more you try to built 'smart' into your network, the more you build the potential for error, corruption, and bottleneck.
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