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In the previous chapters of this book, we have covered a broad range of networking requirements for emerging wireless scenarios along with the protocol features needed to support them. Clearly, not all of these requirements will be reflected in the general purpose architecture of the Internet, but it may be expected that many of the core capabilities will gradually migrate into main-stream networking protocols that will be in use ten to twenty years into the future. In this concluding chapter, we provide a brief discussion of the roadmap for network evolution or revolution in response to the changes in usage and technology that have been identified in this book.
Although it is impossible to predict exactly how the future Internet of the year 2025 will be realized, we can still enumerate a few alternative scenarios by which the Internet might evolve to meet the many challenges of cellular convergence and mobility. These are:
(1) Incremental evolution of IP features: This scenario assumes that the IP standardization process (e.g., IETF and ITU) will anticipate a reasonable set of future requirements and incorporate them into next-generation standards. This would be similar in spirit to IPv6, which improved on IPv4 by providing key features for addressing, mobility, and security. As discussed in Chapter 2, standards processes are already responding to emerging wireless technologies (such as IP-based cellular networks) and usage scenarios (such as multihop wireless access).
Over the next ten-to-fifteen years, it is anticipated that significant qualitative changes to the Internet will be driven by the rapid proliferation of mobile and wireless computing devices. Wireless devices on the Internet will include laptop computers, personal digital assistants, cell phones (more than 3.5 billion in use as of 2009 and growing!), portable media players, and so on, along with embedded sensors used to sense and control real-world objects and events (see Figure 1.1). As mobile computing devices and wireless sensors are deployed in large numbers, the Internet will increasingly serve as the interface between people moving around and the physical world that surrounds them. Emerging capabilities for opportunistic collaboration with other people nearby or for interacting with physical-world objects and machines via the Internet will result in new applications that will influence the way people live and work. The potential impact of the future wireless Internet is very significant because the network combines the power of cloud computation, search engines, and databases in the background with the immediacy of information from mobile users and sensors in the foreground. The data flows and interactions between mobile users, sensors, and their computing support infrastructure are clearly very different from that of today's popular applications such as email, instant messaging, or the World Wide Web.
As a result, one of the broad architectural challenges facing the network research community is that of evolving or redesigning the Internet architecture to incorporate emerging wireless technologies – efficiently, and at scale.
This book provides a preview of emerging wireless technologies and their architectural impact on the future mobile Internet. The reader will find an overview of architectural considerations for the mobile Internet, along with more detailed technical discussion of new protocol concepts currently being considered at the research stage. The first chapter starts with a discussion of anticipated mobile/wireless usage scenarios, leading to an identification of new protocol features for the future Internet. This is followed by several chapters that provide in-depth coverage of next-generation wireless standards, ad hoc and mesh network protocols, opportunistic delivery and delay tolerant networks, sensor network architectures and protocols, cognitive radio networks, vehicular networks, security and privacy, and experimental systems for future Internet research. Each of these contributed chapters includes a discussion of new networking requirements for the wireless scenario under consideration, architectural concepts and specific protocol designs, many still at research stage.
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