Two basic architectural principles of why Internet is so disruptive

Ever thought why we are experiencing a disruption in technology and digital media where new internet based products and services changes markets and business environments. This is because of the inherent nature or feature of the internet.

First of all, if we try to define disruptive innovation, John Naughton described it as “ a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors”

So on the Internet, Disruption is a feature due to its network design and virtual DNA.

When engineers, Vinton (Vint) Cerf and Robert Kahn worked on the early Internet network, the ARPAnet, they faced a simple but profound design problem of how to create a network which seamlessly links other networks. So they came up with two components/principles which define what is the Internet that we experience today.

  1. There must be no central control
  2. The network should not be optimized for any particular application

No central control: If you allow central control of a network to any organisation or government, then innovation will proceed at the speed deemed suitable by the controller, rather than being open or by the inventiveness of outsiders.

Neutrality towards applications: The design lesson here is that if a network is optimized for one application, it may be sub-optimal for a new application. Example: In earlier days, Phone line system was designed for voice calls (human connections) but not for computer to computer connections. So in order to make Internet agnostic to its applications, they did just one thing: deliver data packets from one end to another. It is entirely indifferent to what data type is in the packets. It can be voice, email, picture, porn video, gifs anything!!..If anyone has an idea for a new app that could be achieved using data packets, then networks will perform it.

So these two principles are the cornerstone of Internet’s architecture and this is what makes the Internet so disruptive by harnessing the power of data networks which again transform our information and media environment.

Dreams and reality are made from networks of data packets who nobody controls.

Reference source: From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg


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