Van Jacobson, Rick Hutley, Norman Lewis, David Isenberg

Panel Discussion

Does the Net Need an Upgrade?
51 minutes, 23.5mb, recorded 2007-06-21
Van Jacobson, Rick Hutley, Norman Lewis, David S. Isenberg

As the Internet is being overrun with video traffic, many wonder if it can survive. With challenges being thrown down over the imbalances that have been created and their impact on the viability of monopolistic business models, the Internet is under constant scrutiny. Will it survive? Or will it succumb to the burden of the billion plus community that is constantly demanding more and more?

At least in the words of one of the participants of this panel, the mere fact that (as a community) the subject is even being discussed at all makes this panel valuable. So with all of the millions of applications, billions of user expectations, and seemingly infinite infrastructure demands, "Does the Net Need an Upgrade?".

To answer this question, the Supernova conference, previously known for anticipating critical developments on the path to the Network Age, arranged a distinguished panel for the 2007 conference. In this compelling debate, the panel addresses the question and provides some differing perspectives. In the end, the panel answers the question, but quickly moves on to debate their answer in light of the overwhelming fear of the vast majority of Internet users.

Van Jacobson is one of the primary contributors to the technological foundations of today’s Internet, and is renowned for his pioneering achievements in network performance and scaling. Jacobson leads the content-centric networking research program at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Among his many accomplishments, Jacobson's strategy for transmission control protocols (TCP) helped solve the problem of congestion -- and is used in over 90 percent of Internet hosts today. Widely credited with enabling the Internet to expand in size and support increasing speed demands, Jacobson helped the Internet survive a major traffic surge (1988-89) without collapsing. Prior to joining PARC as Research Fellow, Jacobson led networking efforts as Chief Scientist at Cisco Systems and later Packet Networks.

Rick Hutley is global lead of the Innovations team in Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). His team is responsible for developing new solutions, architectures, and business cases to help Cisco’s key customers successfully adopt Internet-based technologies. Prior to Cisco, Hutley was chief information officer for British Telecom’s Concert Communications Company. Hutley was also director of information systems for Syncordia Corporation.

Norman Lewis is the director of Technology Research for the home division of France Telecom. Prior to this he was the director of technology research at Wanadoo UK (formerly Currently, he is an executive board member of the Communications Futures Program at MIT--a global research partnership between industry and six laboratories at MIT in Cambridge, Massachussetts.

David S. Isenberg spent 12 years at AT&T Bell Labs until his 1997 essay,"The Rise of the Stupid Network," was received with acclaim everywhere in the global telecommunications community with one exception -- at AT&T itself! So Isenberg left AT&T in 1998 to found, LLC (an independent telecom analysis firm based in Cos Cob, Connecticut) and to publish The SMART Letter, an open-minded commentary on the communications revolution and its enemies.


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