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Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Internet was founded on the concept of a distributed network. If someone blew up servers in one place, the network would still function and data could still get where it needs to go. Now all websites are on specific servers, so you can easily take down a single website through virtual or physical means.

 However, if we take a cue from BitTorrent, which is the next generation of distributed storage, and implement that idea across ALL network resources, the web would be invincible.

 The problem with netbooks is that they have it backwards. Instead of being a dumb terminal that relies completely on a remote server for its storage and computing power, each netbook could be a node in a distributed version of the web. If each user had a cache of bits and pieces of websites they visit, pictures they peruse, videos they view, etc., they could connect with their fellow users and combine their collected fragments into a complete file. Thus the content providers would be relieved of their storage and bandwidth burden and could maintain a much smaller infrastructure to coordinate the transfers (trackers) and distribute the official versions and updates (seeders).

 BitTorrent transfers alone saturate almost half of all Internet traffic. Why? Because it’s the fastest way to download something! If all web traffic was distributed like that, your neighbors could be sharing the websites you visit in one or two hops! You could stream music in parallel. Slashdotting anything would be impossible because the barrage of requests wouldn’t even make it out of your office building!

 A distributed web would not only give the users faster connections and the providers an ease in hardware, it would make it easier for smaller organizations to have bigger followings without the monetary barriers of maintaining scalable server infrastructure. Eventually the entire Internet will be one giant cloud of independent users and nodes in a frenzy of information sharing. First step: down with netbooks!