IGF 2021 – Day 2 – Town Hall #20 Introducing Study about Internet’s Technical Success Factors

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> MICHAEL KENDE: IGF sent a note in the Chat saying we are live and should go ahead. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: All right.  Let's start, then.  I am assuming they are not going to replay the video. 

So good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to everyone.  Thank you very much for joining us and a very warm welcome to the launch of the study of the Internet's technical success factors at the IGF 2021.  I am Joyce Chen, and I am from APNIC, which is the Asia Pacific regional Internet address registry. 

The study was jointly commissioned by APNIC and LACNIC.  APNIC is the regional Internet registry for Asia Pacific and LACNIC is the Latin American and Caribbean regional Internet address registry. 

We decided to engage Analysys Mason, who are with us today, to conduct this study.  We would welcome your comments and feedback on some of the study's findings during today's session.  First let's warm up with a quick menti question.  If you allow me, I will share my screen.  Give me a second.  What I would like you to do is to go to menti.com, and then when you are on the page, you can type the code 4217 7963.  What we would like you to do is to answer the question in your own words how would you describe what has made the Internet successful.  I would give a few seconds for people to get into the page.  That is menti.com, and you can key in the code that you see on the screen, which is 4217 7963.  And tell us how would you describe what has made the Internet successful? 

We are starting to have some answers coming in.  People are thinking about the connectivity.  4g is one of them.  Of course, we also have 5g, eventually 6g.  Some people have pointed out openness that comes out very large.  Internet content definitely.  Collaboration.  Distributed governance.  I like that answer very much.  I see some people have put in the protocol, CCTIP that has made it easy for people to connect.  It is flexible, universal.  I see some people have put down resilience or the Internet itself is resilient.  In the pandemic, we have seen how resilient it has been.  It hasn't disappointed us during this one or two years that we have had to work from home and having to cope with the pandemic. 

I see some people answered affordable.  I think that's very important as well in ensuring that people have access to the Internet.  And the IGF also has a main session on meaningful access and connectivity that you can look forward to in a different session.  So together with distributed governance, I also see multi‑stakeholder model. 

It's interesting that somebody put universal acceptance as well.  There is also another session that will come up in the IGF that talks about universal, and I think universal acceptance will be one of the issues brought up at the main session.  So permissionless innovation.  I like that very much.  And we do hear that quite a fair bit.  Without it and without the Internet being open the way it is, it would be hard to see all these new technologies and emerging technologies coming up on the Internet. 

I see the answers have started to slow down.  I thank you very much for putting thought into this.  It is just a warm‑up. 

It is now my pleasure to introduce Oscar Robles to share his ideas on this subject. 

>> OSCAR ROBLES: Thank you very much for letting me join this.  Let me tell you my observations on making this Sid. 

Sometimes we find that the Internet technical community members have asked themselves if the Internet is fit for its purpose or if the Internet up‑to‑date deviates from its original design.  So it is not uncommon to listen to other stakeholders criticizing the Internet, proposing new networks assigned on the fly, or even suggesting new protocols on the fly, which evolve from one day to another day, fitting everyday findings and critics from real experts.  So we wanted to make this a serious effort to understand the conditions of Internet success and make sure not to change that. 

Naturally, the first question was whether or not the Internet has succeeded.  And the next and most important exercise was to identify what has driven its success, what elements, what protocols, what system, what practices have brought this success.  This is the report of the findings.  I believe this is a great exercise that needs to be thought to everyone in the Internet industry, the telecom industry, government official regulators, but also we, the Internet technical community to become aware of these elements, to know exactly how it should evolve without compromising its scalability, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience. 

Thanks.  Thank you.  And hopefully it will be a productive study for you as well.  Thank you. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thank you very much, Oscar.  Next it's my pleasure to invite Paul Wilson. 

>> PAUL WILSON: Thank you very much, Joyce.  Thanks, Oscar.  Thanks to everyone who is attending, including, of course, our colleagues at Analysys Mason, who we'll hand over to shortly.  Like Oscar, APNIC approached this challenge or opportunity to get together and to conduct a study, conduct an investigation into something that we were hearing about a lot over the years, and we took this challenge because I think the question of the Internet's success and what's made it successful is really, really important.  The question of Internet Governance has been around 20 years.  It was about 20 years that multi‑stakeholder was discovered and the Internet was an issue that people started to care about.  I think alongside that was a threat that maybe the Internet's success was a passing thing or that it was under threat, that something could go wrong, that improvements were needed.  But I think we have to remind ourselves that it's been 20 years of astronomical Internet growth that has continued, while the same discussions have continued and continued in quite a few cases.  It's not that common, but in quite a few cases to still threaten or to worry that the Internet's success could be short lasting. 

So the Internet's success is absolutely nontrivial.  It's a different success than what we saw 20 years ago, and there are different issues being discussed and raised these days, but it's successful nevertheless.  And amid all the changes, we thought it was very important to look at the Internet today and why the Internet today continues to be successful.  What are the threads that have come through all of these years and that mean the Internet is successful in spite of all the threats, in spite of all the promised issues and problems?  Because, of course, to change the Internet is a big, big enterprise, and some fundamental changes are proposed from time to time that need to be, obviously, very well justified if we are going to take trouble to do them.  IPv6, for instance, is something that's been necessary for 20 years, and it is happening, but the fact that it's taken so long to deploy IPv6 as a needed improvement to the Internet's addressing system kind of illustrates that changing the Internet these days is nontrivial.  It's a big enterprise, a big ask, and I think we should all be sort of very clear on what it is that we are dealing with and what successes we might be overlooking or not understanding in order to embark on these sorts of discussions.  So the idea of the study, I think, is to throw some really recent thoughts and recent findings to this issue because no doubt the discussions and the speculations about the Internet, its success, and whether the success will continue, et cetera, et cetera, are going to go on themselves for as long as the Internet itself does. 

Long answer, but there you are, Joyce.  Thanks for the invitation.  I will hand you back. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks very much, pall.  I do see we have friends from our remote hub in Nigeria.  Welcome.  It's very good to see there are people who are physically attending the meeting. 

So now I will pass the time, the partner of Analysys Mason, to share their findings on the study. 

>> MICHAEL KENDE: I will start presenting.  My name is Michael Kende.  As Joyce said, I am here with my colleague, Amund Kvalbein and Julia Allford.  Together we will do this short presentation and take your questions.  We were also joined in the work by David Abecassis, who unfortunately couldn't join us for this presentation. 

Just a brief introduction.  I think for many the success of the Internet is something that's taken for granted just because of the scope, scale, presence in our lives, resilience, and all the factors we are about to talk about, it's something we may take for granted.  But for us this project was really an excellent actual to think deeply about what led to the success, what led to the success that Paul and Oscar just described as well.  And what might threaten it in the future.  So would really like to thank APNIC and LACNIC for the opportunity to present it.  And if you go through the report online or there's a short website and also a report, and I think Pablo shared the links for that.  You will see that we really had the privilege of interviewing many members of the community, leading members of the community, for the report, and we took some quotes.  I would like to thank all of them.  I noticed Olaf from ISOC was on the call.  He was one of the people we interviewed.  I may have missed others who are on this call, but certainly we very much value their inputs and participation. 

So for now I would like to present some of the highlights of the report or start it out. 

If you could switch pages. 

Overall we identified four dimensions to the Internet's success that are outlined in this diagram on the left.  The four are that the Internet has successfully scaled to the increased demand from new users and usage.  Those are kind of horizontal arrows.  It's been flexible to new network technologies.  Pointing downwards.  It's adopted to new applications.  Just a huge variety of applications that is the upward arrow.  And the whole of it has been resilient to the shocks and changes, including adapting to all of our increased usage during this pandemic, including today's conference, which we can attend remotely if we weren't able to get to Poland. 

Julia will go into a little more detail each of these points, but overall they help explain how the Internet grew from its roots as a dial‑up access network over copper telephone networks to encompassing fiber to the home and 5g, and as Joyce said, 6g in the future.  How it's gone from simple communications with text emails to videoconferences like this one, and ultimately how it grew from a U.S.‑based research and academic network to the global phenomenon that it is today. 

     Next slide, please.

     The four dimensions at the right really grew out of some guiding ideals that led to these design principles in the middle.  These guiding ideals on the left were built in by the designers of the Internet, the founders, and they really shaped the technology, the organization, and the operational development of the Internet.  I will just go through these briefly.  The openness.  The Internet is open in many, many ways, including it's open when new standards are developed or existing standards are updated.  They are open to anyone to participate through the standards organizations.  The resulting standards and protocols are open for anyone to adopt and use.  It's open to new networks that can join the Internet and back part of the Internet. 

The simplicity, the second one, Internet is built from very simple protocols.  It wasn't meant ‑‑ it was meant as a general‑purpose network, not something to do a specific task.  Which has enabled it, by putting together all of these simple protocols as building blocks to be able to solve very complex tasks and to continue to evolve and adapt. 

Finally, the decentralization.  There's no central authority that owns, operates, or controls the Internet.  That's led to the multi‑stakeholder model that I believe Paul mentioned and is clearly one of the drivers behind the Internet Governance Forum and other ways that we get together to think about the governance of the Internet.  And those three ideals led to the three design principles in the middle. 

     Next slide, please.

     And these design principles are the layering at the left, which separates the applications from the networks with the Internet Protocol as the central stable building block.  And sometimes this is portrayed as an hourglass with the applications at the top, the networks at the bottom, and the Internet Protocol in the middle.  And this fundamental design principle has led to the other principles.  If we go to the bottom, the network of networks.  Each network operates independently from other networks.  It allows new networks to join, as I said.  It allows existing networks to adopt new technologies.  All of it independently from the others, and all of it without permission from anyone to join. 

Then going to the top, the end‑to‑end principle, in which the intelligence of the Internet is largely in the end devices at the edge of the network, not in the core of the network, meaning that applications can be developed by anyone, made available, and all of us can access them or download them and use them, again, without permission, without changes to the fundamental networks because of the layering principle. 

And just finally, one strength of all of this is that ‑‑ I document a few of these ‑‑ that these principles can be violated without threatening the success of the Internet, those four success factors.  That's another strength. 

Now I will turn over to Julia to go into a bit more detail about the four dimensions of success that result from these design principles.  Thank you. 

>> JULIA ALLFORD: Thanks, Michael.  So the first dimension of the Internet's success is in its ability to scale.  So on this slide here, we have a figure generated from ITU and World Bank data, which shows the number of Internet users over time split by RIR region and overlaid to the global population.  The rapid growth of the Internet's user base is clearly visible, from an estimated 2.6 million in 1990 to 3.9 billion, more than half the global population, a mere 30 years later.  This is just one observation of how the Internet has scaled.  And this growth is ongoing.  Even in regions where is per capita Internet adoption is nearly a hundred percent, there's still exponential growth of the network in terms of the number of devices connected.  And you can find more such observations in our report.  In particular, we found that remarkably, despite more users and more traffic per user, resulting from more time spent online and more data‑intense applications, connection speeds are increasing.  This demonstrates that the Internet has scaled in such a way that it not only met growing demand but improved user experience. 

The Internet's technical architecture, operational and business models each contribute to the scalability.  In particular, the layering and end‑to‑end principles that Michael mentioned have allowed networks, applications, and services to scale independently of each other in order to keep up with demand.  Additionally, the number of networks and their capacity has had to increase dramatically in order to meet that growing demand.  And it is the network of networks principle and the openness ideal that has allowed for increased capacity and an interdomain routing system based on a simple algorithm that scales as well.  Interestingly, we note that the growth in capacity, particularly subsidy capacity, is driven by the needs of large companies who offer applications and are now themselves investing in supply.  With regards to the scalability of the routing system, in the report we demonstrate this by showing that the average path length stays virtually constant as the Internet grows, and the long‑term trend in churn rates does not seem to exceed the growth in the routing table size. 

The second dimension of success is the Internet's flexibility, that is, its ability to run over a variety of underlying network technologies.  Here we have an example from Australia.  The figure shows the number of Internet subscriptions over time according to the access technology used.  We can clearly see the evolution from analog, through DSL, to mobile and fiber.  Despite the wide‑ranging characteristics of each technology, which make them suitable for varying geographies, economies, and people, the Internet has been able to run over each.  That flexibility to accommodate new technologies stems from the layering principle, which separates the routing of traffic from the underlying technology.  And network of networks principle allows each network to run independently, as long as they run IP. 

The interconnection model also adds flexibility, allowing networks to connect with each other and exchange traffic directly or indirectly.  In order to facilitate traffic exchange and make it efficient, Internet Exchange Points have emerged around the world.  In our report, we note that IXPs have a generative impact on traffic levels.  The average traffic per member network increases over time, showing how more content is delivered through an IXP as it grows, resulting in increased usage. 

The ability of the Internet to adapt to new applications and uses is the third dimension of success.  Yes, that one.  Here we have two illustrations of how the Internet has adapted recently.  The increasing popularity of https on the left, and on the right the increased an introduction of QUIC.  However, the adaptability of the Internet is apparent throughout its history, not just in recent years.  As the early Internet grew, it transformed.  It was no longer just a means of accessing computer power and sending files, but communicating, socializing.  Over time, the Internet has become the primary vehicle for delivering many services that existed long before the Internet ever came onto the scene ‑‑ from voice schools to banking, reading the news to watching movie, grocery shopping to booking hotels, services have converged on the Internet, and it has adapted accordingly. 

As it grew, two application platforms emerged over several decades and helped drive the uptake of the Internet.  The first was the World Wide Web, which emerged in the early 1990s, and the second was mobile app stores, which became popular in the late 2000s.  The introduction of these platforms has been a large proponent of the Internet's growth and diversification.  But the layering and end‑to‑end principles are what are central to supporting this wide range of applications. 

As requirements have evolved, the end‑to‑end protocols of the transport layer, in particular, those that control the flow of traffic, have evolved accordingly.  From a fairly stable critical mix in the 1990s and 2000s, to the more recent changes driven by the widespread adoption of TLS and end‑to‑end encryption, both of which are evidenced by the growth in websites using https and QUIC, as shared on the screen.  Additionally, the general nature of IP allows applications to independently develop innovative offerings.  The openness of the Internet also means that anyone can innovate and provide new applications, and those can be made available to inin else to adopt.  As a result, and in the context of the end‑to‑end principle, applications and protocols in the end systems can treat the Internet as a non‑discriminatory entity that will move traffic regardless of its content. 

In our report, we also discuss how the changes in applications over the years and the growing geographical scope of the Internet have led to new business models and investments on the part of Internet companies, providing content and applications in order to help deliver content. 

The fourth and final dimension of success is the resilience of the Internet.  The Internet has proven resilient in the face of shocks and changes.  Here we present just one observation of that resilience.  Resilience to increase traffic as a result of the pandemic.  This plot shows the average international traffic, split by RIR region, over time.  And you can see a clear spike in the growth rate in 2020 as a result of remote working and schooling.  So the spike in growth rate due to the pandemic as a result from remote working, schooling, increased social video calls, and more free time to spend online.  And yet, despite this large uptick in demand, the Internet continued to operate and offer sufficient service, as further demonstrated in the report, where we show that connection speeds only minutely changed briefly and we have other examples as well of how the service remained sufficient, despite increased demand. 

The Internet has been resilient throughout its history and not just during the pandemic.  The very growth of the Internet in terms of the number of users and their usage and the emergence of new networks and applications, as discussed previously on previous slides, is, in fact, an indirect confirmation of resilience.  Over the years, concerns have been expressed about the possible collapse of the Internet, whether that's due to uncontrolled congestion, the collapse of the routing system, or a range of security threats, but the Internet has stood firm.  For example, one thing we discuss in the report is how, despite difficulties, the transition IPv4 to IPv6 is taking place.  This is something that Paul mentioned earlier.  And we show that there is a notable increase in IPv6 usage in recent years. 

The Internet's resilience stems from simplicity and from decentralized operation.  So these go back to the guiding ideals.  The simplicity of the core protocols, the resilient topology of the Internet, and the network of networks have all played important roles in achieving this resilience.  Within the network of networks, the entire responsibility for maintaining network operation is distributed across individual autonomous operating entities.  This distributed responsibility fosters resilience in multiple ways ‑‑ diverse equipment, diverse operational practices, and in the fact that planning and decision‑making is across all levels.  Although an individual network can fail for a number of reasons ‑‑ cable cuts, security threats, et cetera ‑‑ the Internet topology has evolved in such a way that there is no single central point of failure that can disrupt the whole Internet. 

Finally, as Michael mentioned earlier, the Internet has been resilient to violations of the design principles.  One such example that we discuss in the report is the fact that DNS essentially bends the layering principle. 

I will now hand over to Amund to talk through the next slides. 

>> AMUND KVALBEIN: Thank you very much, Julia. 

So, so far we have been talking about the success of the Internet, and there is no doubt a lot to talk about.  The Internet has, indeed, been very successful.  As Oscar mentioned in his introduction, we still hear frequent critiques of the Internet or people who point out the apparent lacks of the Internet.  And there are, of course, also such things to point out.  There is no doubt that there are several technical challenges facing the Internet also today.  In the box here, we point out three of those.  We could point out more.  One such challenge is security.  Security is, of course, a major issue for individual users of the Internet, but it is also an issue on kind of a systemic or architectural level, perhaps in particular related to DNS, such as DNS spoofing or cache poisoning, denial‑of‑service attacks, but also to routing with hijacking as one example. 

Quality of service or the lack of strict service guarantees is a recurring topic throughout the history of the Internet there have been, of course, decades of proposals and attempts to implement quality of service in the Internet across different networks and domains.  And finally, there's been a lot of talk about the inability to adapt or adopt new protocols.  As has been pointed out several times here, IPv6 is perhaps the prime example of that, where a lack of local incentives has made adoption very slow; whereas, it's clear that the Internet as a whole needs this change to happen. 

Now, many of these challenges, they are addressed through evolution, through different standard bodies who are addressing all of these challenges that we see here.  For instance, in the security domain, there's DNSSEC, there's DNS over http.  For the routing challenges, there is route original validation, which is now being deployed using RPKI.  And for quality of service, there is also, of course, a lot of work addressing that.  Now there's the Deterministic Networking Working Group in the IGF, who are working on protocols that will give performance guarantees within networks and also in time across networks. 

So there is this evolutionary part or there is this evolution going on in the Internet constantly, as there should be.  From time to time, there are also proposals for more radical changes to the Internet architecture. Departures from the Internet as we know it today.  Such examples historically would include active networking for those who remember that, and also named data networking in more recent times. 

Of course, the Internet must continue to evolve to meet these changing demands.  And we argue in our report that plasticity or the ability to change and adapt is a part of the reason for the success of the Internet. 

As Paul mentioned earlier, the Internet is now embedded in all parts of society, and we believe that a fundamental change to the Internet architecture is difficult to implement in practice, as shown by the time it has taken to adopt IPv6, and that a market‑driven transition to a radically new architecture is unlikely at this stage.  We also believe that any attempt to force such a transition to a radically different architecture might have unwanted side effects in terms of scalability, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience, which is what this report is all about. 

And as a concluding note here, as the Internet develops, we believe it's important to look at what has driven the Internet's success so far and to be careful with changes that break with the guiding ideals ‑‑ openness, simplicity, and decentralization.  They have been central to the Internet's success so far, and we believe they are still relevant and important, as well as the design principles that we have highlighted and that Julia highlighted for how they drive these different dimensions of success. 

So with that, we conclude our presentation of this report.  The report is available, as has been mentioned, and there is a link in the Chat.  So please have a look, and we welcome any feedback and hand over back to you, Joyce. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks very much for sharing the findings of the study.  We do have one question at the moment, and that's from Marco.  I don't know if Marco wants to just take the mic and ask the question.  Otherwise, I am happy to read it out as well. 

>> Dear colleagues, thank you, Joyce.  It's Marco.  I work for (?) full disclosure.  I was curious when you showed the slide whether you counted the EU internal market as one or whether you still consider the traffic between 20 sites international.  I was a bit surprised at the large equivalency, but given that there is a bunch of small countries in Europe, it makes sense, but only if you ‑‑ yeah, so is the EU counted as one or as individual countries?  Thank you. 

>> JULIA ALLFORD: Hi, Marco.  We did it on an individual basis per country. 

>> Thank you.  That explains why there is such a large chunk. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thank you for your question, Marco, and thanks, Julia. 

I do see in the chat these are good technical economic factors for individual protocols, but I think there is a social system angle that might need more attention.  Anybody would like to speak to that point? 

>> MICHAEL KENDE: I can address it.  Thanks for the comment, and I notice there was an agreement further down.  Yeah, I was just about to say what Paul put into the chat, that the study was looking at the technical success factors. 

We did highlight right up top that people trove all of this and are continuing to through all of the contributions at IGF, ITF, all of the various venues and our own personal efforts, you know, that there is a lot of personal contribution.  But as Paul just noted, we did want to focus on the technical success factors. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks, Michael. 

We have a question from Jim, I think, or a comment.  Jim? 

>> Thanks, Joyce.  This is an excellent piece of work, guys, so congratulations for putting this together. 

I think you are right in identifying the key technical factors, but I think there are some issues that may have been brought up in that one report.  I think for example, you may say more about commission information to be one of the drivers.  The fact that nobody has had to go along and get a license to start Google or to start Facebook or to start eBay, they just did it, I think that's a very important factor in how the Internet is growing and become such a successful thing across the world.  We've got to realize, of course, that business models have changed and now we have things like the cloud that we didn't have 20 years ago, and that would have been unthinkable if we didn't have the Internet. 

We also see that the multi‑stakeholder model is also a crucial part of the Internet's success because everybody who has got a stake in how the Internet evolves and becomes successful has got a chance to participate and a chance to be heard.  It's not happening behind closed doors in a membership with high values to entry. 


>> MICHAEL KENDE: I can take that one as well.  Amund, I see a question further down that would be great for you to address. 

We didn't specifically use the word "permissionless innovation," which, among other things, was in kind of a fundamental document from ISOC a few years back.  But the principle exists in several places, the openness of the Internet and the end‑to‑end principle that allows the adaptability of new applications is really where we thought about that idea.  We didn't specifically mention the companies that you did were able to enter, but the idea that the World Wide Web was able to come in, help drive the growth, as Julia said, and then the app stores and all of the websites that built on top of that.  So we indirectly, I think, address that. 

And likewise, there is a little section on organizational factors that come out of the three guiding ideals that includes multi‑stakeholder governance, kind of up front in section 2, and in particular the decentralization of the lack of ownership really paved the way for this multi‑stakeholder model because, you know, there's no one network that controls the Internet.  There's no one that has to give permission.  So there's this multi‑stakeholder model that has taken its place of a particular owner.  So we did cover that, and we did talk about that a little bit as a contributing factor in terms of the organization and development of the Internet. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Before we get to William, I see your hand is up.  Maybe we could have Wim to ask your question that was in the Chat, if you would like to take the mic. 

Sorry, I am not hearing the sound from the room.  Just one second while we sort out the technical issues. 

This is the problem when we have a hybrid format for the meeting, but I am so happy to see the participants in the room, if just for a few seconds. 

No, still cannot hear you. 

We can do this.  We can do this. 

Perhaps while we are waiting to sort out the audio issues, let's turn over to William in the meantime, if that's okay, and we will get back to you, Wim. 

>> Hi.  Can you hear me okay?  I was wondering, you talk about decentralization of the Internet and how this is one of the major factors on why it has been able to scale in such a way.  Yet on an application level, we see an increased centralization of major technical players.  I was wondering, did you, by chance, look into how the centralization of gatekeepers, for example, may affect the decentralization on a technical level as well, such as regarding which technologies are adopted and perhaps how this may affect scalability in the future? 

>> AMUND KVALBEIN: Yes, perhaps I can try.  It is a good question.  Thank you for that.  We did spend quite a bit of time in the work discussing on these issues, and we have also reflected a little bit on it in the final section of the report.  I think you are right that there is such a trend, and there is this, as you put it, centralization at the application layer.  And of course, that influences the Internet. 

Now, as we see it, we have not so far seen a development where that has slowed down or has limited the availability or the access to the Internet as such.  We have seen that these very large Internet players, they have taken a role in the further development of the Internet, as you, yourself, mentioned, they are active in developing new protocols.  QUIC, as mentioned here earlier, is an example of a protocol developed by Google, by one of the very large players.  And, of course, there is ‑‑ there is a risk, perhaps, that as a lot of traffic moves internally into these very large networks, they can adopt different protocols, different ways of doing things internally in their networks, and that that would somehow contribute to a separation of what is the public network and what is internal networks.  So you can always speculate about these things.  So far we have not really seen that happening, as far as we can see, but we would be interested, of course, to hear any other views on that. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Paul has his hand up.  Do you want to comment on this? 

>> PAUL WILSON: I would just comment that the permissive environment of the Internet, which allows permissionless innovation, can allow things to layer on top of the Internet that start to look like they might, themselves, break Internet principles.  What we would really need to worry about is whether that influences the way the Internet itself works. 

Until about 2019, we heard a lot about the death of peering being something that would ‑‑ or the death of transit, sorry, as an emergent trend which comes from the proliferation of CDNs and so forth getting in the way of and making transit connections redundant.  But COVID has shown us that transit and end‑to‑end connectivity is absolutely as strong as it was ever intended to be because we are all using it now and across the world peer‑to‑peer, end‑to‑end communications has had this incredible resurgence. 

So the bad thing would be if the apparent death of transit had actually resulted in the death of end‑to‑end.  Then that would be where one of those apparent behaviors actually does affect the infrastructure.  It's an example where it hasn't done.  So again, the centralization of Facebook, for example, doesn't necessarily mean anything in a technical sense for the centralization of other services on the Internet.  Or if it does, that's what we should be probably talking about.  Thank you. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks, Paul.  Also, I think you have a comment, then we will get to Wim. 

>> OSCAR ROBLES: Thanks, Joyce.  A couple of comments here.  We aim to look for technical decisions and how the technical developments have made the Internet success.  So we have become aware that if we ever need to fix something, we don't change in a non‑conscious way these fundamentals.  So of course, there are many elements ‑‑ commercial, social, economical elements ‑‑ that may be relevant for this success.  But those are not part of this original design.  And this is what we hear very often, that let's try to come up with this new technical standard, whether those are countries, whether those are companies.  So trying to answer the question made by Wim, he would have made it in a couple of seconds, but let me jump ahead.  I think this is the first stage, the first stage of future challenges.  We need to make people aware of these fundamentals so we don't mess with those in the future, whether this is for political reasons or this is for trying to fix current challenges to the Internet technical capabilities.  Thank you. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks.  And thanks, Wim, for your question.  Let's get to you now. 

>> It's pretty weird to ask a question when I just heard the answer, so thank you, Oscar.  First of all, hi from Katowice.  It's really great to sit in this meeting.  It's a pity for everybody online that you are not here because the experience of this hybrid is completely different than what you would expect from the use in a normal meeting with remote participation. 

Second, congratulations for the study because I think it's very clear and put in very clear terms, explains the success.  And that brings me also to my question.  Well, what now ‑‑ what are now the biggest threats you see that could make this evolution, this continuous growth, the success of the Internet will not continue? 

I think one answer was already given by Oscar, and I think I fully agree that probably one of the threats is that there is not the understanding of how it actually works.  However resilient it is.  Based on that, there is not sufficient trust.  If there is not sufficient trust in how things work, people will look for other solutions.  But do you see other risks or threats we need to, well, look out for and try to answer?  Thank you. 

>> AMUND KVALBEIN: Yeah, this is Amund.  Perhaps I can start off with one, and please others join me as well.  Because in this area, of course, I think everyone has thoughts to contribute. 

One such issue, we have seen that the Internet works, works well at scales.  We don't see a collapse in scalability.  We don't see collapse in these other dimensions that we have discussed.  Of course, there are ‑‑ there is the issue of safe use of the Internet for all.  I mean, to keep the Internet as a place where it's safe to be and where people should have the ability to access information openly and freely, but also to be not put in harm's way.  I am thinking of all the economy that has moved to the Internet and all the attacks, all the threats that are coming from there.  And in response to all these threats, of course, since the Internet has become so important, governments also take a legitimate interest in the Internet and in ways to regulate it and to keep their citizens safe and to shield them from harm.  So this balance between this, in some cases, at least, legitimate need from the governments and the openness of the Internet.  Because as the governments try to make their influence, to have their jurisdiction also in the Internet domain, of course the risk is that they will be too strong, basically.  They will take measures that are unproportional and that kind of limits the openness and availability that has been so central to the Internet's success.  So recognizing this at least sometimes legitimate requirement of a government to have some say in this; whereas, on the other side, keeping this openness and distributed nature and the multi‑stakeholder model of the Internet, that is at least important, I think. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks, Amund, for your answer. 

Do you have any follow‑up questions or comments, Wim? 

>> No, thank you. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks very much, and lovely to have you in Katowice. 

So I am just mindful of time.  Oh, sorry, Oscar, go ahead. 

>> MICHAEL KENDE: You are on mute. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: You are muted. 

>> OSCAR ROBLES: In these other challenges, in the last part of this story, we have mentioned some of those challenges.  Centralization is, of course, one of the things that we have seen as a challenge to these fundamentals.  So make sure to write those ideas.  Probably you have several others.  But those are the ones that we believe are the most relevant challenges in the near future. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks, Oscar. 

So just to round up this section of the Q&A, I do have one last question to our three special guests from Analysys Mason, which is during the course of your doing research for the study, and knowing that a lot of the factors have been brought up today isn't really something new or, you know, groundbreaking in that sense, did you learn anything that was new or surprising to you as you were conducting this study? 

>> MICHAEL KENDE: I think for myself, certainly we had a multidisciplinary team.  Amund is more on the technical side.  I am an economist.  So I think we learn from each other to take a full view.  But I think the real advantage was to put all the pieces together, to start from, you know, the beginning, the guiding ideals, and we had the privilege of talking to some of the founders, Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf to really get an amazing view of their views at the beginning that we incorporated into the three guiding ideals.  Taking that through these design principles into the success factors.  I think that, for me, anyway, was the real learning of bringing all of those points together and thinking about some of the future threats that we just ‑‑ that Amund just spoke about. 

>> AMUND KVALBEIN: Yeah, just perhaps to second that, Michael.  One kind of personal experience for me from to go this, I have a background in networking research, in academia, and you know, there's a lot of focus ‑‑ was, at least, ten years ago when I was still active in that area ‑‑ a lot of focus on, you know, new architectures.  You know, kind of radical proposals, novelty.  Things have to be new.  We don't have to rest.  We can't rest on past success.  We need to do new things. 

So for me, this study has kind of been kind of an eye‑opener on that.  There is a significant value in how things are working today.  Of course, we should keep innovating, we should keep developing and proposing new solutions, but there is also some value in stepping back and looking at what has made this a success and that that can kind of guide new proposals for novel innovations on the Internet that at least make sure not to destroy what is already very valuable. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: That's great, Michael and Amund.  I don't know if Julia would like to share any thoughts, whether you found anything new or surprising for yourself as you went through this journey of conducting the research. 

>> JULIA ALLFORD: I mean, I am much newer to researching the Internet than Amund and Michael both are, so I found a lot of it was quite novel to me.  But all very interesting, certainly.  So yeah. 

>> JOYCE CHEN: Thanks very much to all three of you. 

Now, in our last few minutes before I close the session, I would like you to go back to menti.com.  I will share the link in just a short bit.  Give me a second to share my screen.  Here we go.  So go to menti.com and use the code 4217 7963. 

And then answer the question:  How do you see the future of the Internet?  What to you think it would look like? 

I think that's a great way to end the session and to think about how we have the eye on the future.  And I think there was also some discussion around this as well, so would love to hear your thoughts around this.  So go to menti.com, use the code 4217 7963. 

We see the answers slowly coming in as people look into their crystal gardens.  Someone put in walled gardens.  I think that's something we are already beginning to see and we might be able to project in the future.  Lots of small, local, secure Internets.  Inclusive.  I like that.  Hopefully we will continue to be more inclusive and more diverse.  The Internet will continue to evolve to fit new needs and addressing new challenges.  I think it's very well equipped to do that, as we have heard today. 

More accessibility in rural areas.  I think that is work already being done and will continue to happen.  I don't know if any of you see at one point, perhaps, one day we will have everybody who is connected online. 

All right.  I am going to scroll down and see what other answers are.  Future of the Internet is promising, if it remains open.  I like the optimism.  More logical centralization of key architectural functions.  At the same time, increased topological decentralization of their deployed realization.  I see some people who are seeing more and more centralization, you know, more walled‑off networks, but then yet at the same time, I see some people who are also feeling that it's more positive.  We can always work towards being more open. 

Interesting comment that we are only halfway.  Lots of innovations, but hopefully still open for everyone.  It's true, there are always surprises.  It used to be once every few years, but we are looking at once every few months cycle now, and even faster, I think.  So there will always be new surprises coming up from the Internet.  Still resilient, interoperable, global, secure.  IPv6 only.  Yes, let's aim for IPv6 only future. 

So I thank all of you for your participation in today's session.  You can continue to put your answers in, and we will continue to collate them as they come in.  I also want to have special thanks for Amund, for Michael, for Julia for joining us today, as well as Oscar and Paul for giving the opening remarks.  Of course, thank you to all of you for your engagement, participation.  It's not very easy because we are in a hybrid mode, but I do hope that you find the study meaningful.  I will put the link again to the study in the Chat, and I hope that you will take some time to read the study and to go through the points.  We would love to have your comments and feedback, so do stay in touch.  Thank you, everybody.