The Internet Of The Future
European researchers are working on a huge project which attempts to link everything worldwide to one big network. “The first problem is scale. A network capable of linking everything together will be huge, and it will take some serious engineering to create a framework and platform capable of attaining this sort of scope,” says Daniele Miorandi of CREATE-NET, the coordinator for the BIONETS project.
BIONETS aims to give several billion devices the ability to link up to one another, dwarfing the biggest networks in existence today, but, of course, there are many obstacles. The major stumbling block is the sheer diversity of the existing networks. To this end, the BIONETS project has created a standards committee to work on just this part of the problem. Certain commonalities will need to be in place in order to link up all the varied devices.
The project is complex in the extreme and involves building a system that can cope with a large and infinite scale. The designers of the system also have to keep in mind that there is a constant flux in the building and destruction of the components to be networked. Still, the researchers feel that however daunting the project may seem, BIONETS is the way for the future of the internet.
BIONETS is a European collaboration of companies such as Nokia, Telecom Italia and Sun Microsystems, and has backing by the European Union to the tune of almost €7 million. The project has focused on creating protocols to filter information, disseminate data, and provide off-site storage systems (cloud storage). Miorandi says the biggest hurdle is in coping with dynamism, or the constant rapid change of devices and services. Though the project only has months to go before completing its four year limit, Miorandi doesn't foresee that the researchers will solve the problem of dynamism. Other projects will need to take up where BIONETS leaves off.
On the other hand, the project has succeeded in solving many practical problems connected to the worldwide networking issue. U-Hopper, for instance, is a breakthrough which was designed by the project researchers to solve the problem of global networking for mobile communication. The team has also produced a whopping 100 papers during the first three years of its inception. The consortium won a best paper award at the IEEE Globecom 2007 as well as one at BIONETICS 2007.