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Netness

Renan's Law as the Reason Why Everthing Wants to be Connected

“Netness is a new way of looking at connectivity – of understanding how connectivity is changing. It is about this new world in which all points, people, things and domains are increasingly con- nected. And it is about an emerging model for optimizing connectivity and its opportunity -- in which networks are supplanted (basically absorbed) by increasingly ubiquitous fabrics and fields of connectivity.”

An intelligent understanding of the complexity of the intersection of the technological world with the political social and economic world requires a metaphysical point of view. To attain such a point of view requires metaphysical analysis. What is presented here is the culmination of more than three years of interaction with Sheldon as well as an additional year of dialog after my initial interview with him on netness. The period from December 1 2009 to December 1 2010 marked a year of intensive evaluation, writing, and rewriting on his part combined with rather intensive reac- tion on my part. As a result Sheldon and I are pleased to present an extensive and detailed elabo- ration of Sheldon’s ideas that underlie what he calls netness — and what likely will become known as Renan’s law. (I do refer to it that way.)

From the atomic to the galactic we explore the idea that things “want to be connected” and that attempts to isolate or break connectivity usually have more negative outcomes than positive.    For readers of The COOK Report, the most useful insights are the areas where conductivity of data and information extend from the extremely ubiquitous area of very small scale of things like sensors and RFID tags to ever larger and more interconnected networks. Very few people are looking at all of the following – namely sensor nets, ambient connectivity, enhanced reality, the Internet of things and the interconnection of the Internet of things with the rest of the tools we use in our daily lives. Today’s digital devices range in size from tiny 12 gram, solar-charged and IP protocol- communicable, ultra tiny “workstations’ that the Dutch are attaching to the backs of birds of the size of pigeons and larger.    They are using these to track what’s happening to the birds (as radio tags have longer been used to attract larger animals as they interact with the environment) over a sizable period of time. Other aspects involve such things as the emerging use of undersea data in- strumentation systems attached to global lightpath networks which serve as dispersed laboratories for geophysicists who take the incoming data and, with the use of grid computing, store it at one place, perform analysis of it via supercomputers at another place, and visualize the results at many other places.

We are in the midst of a new reality where the scope of on-going communications has expanded far beyond the understanding of the average citizen. We must also face the reality that the imposition of artificial breaks in conductivity and the attempts of private individuals or corporations to privat- ize and resell compartmentalized and siloed data while perhaps enriching those in control of it, cre- ate negative externalities that prevent society as a whole from understanding what is happening and from benefiting by that understanding.

As Sheldon states: “Increasing inclusiveness may turn out to be the most significant change factor resulting from netness. Recently, I’ve considered describing netness as “The Law of Inclusive Ad- vantage”. . [I would define advantage as not blocking anyone from gathering and analyzing and retransmitting data. If it is understood that no single protocol is given a monopoly, then it will be- come possible to bridge our observation of our surroundings in new ways. Sheldon defines it more broadly as not limiting potential inputs and resources.] Either way, the result is that “more points can potentially be connected – because data, content and clients are no longer held captive to net- work architectures or operating systems. If resources for connecting, aggregating and transiting the network are increased, opportunity is increased. (And of course, we hope opportunity is in- creased faster than risk is increased.)

“Driving this dynamic are a number of factors that are rarely all linked together. The first is that everything wants to be connected. The second is that the more things are connected, the better things work. The third is that more things are becoming more connected every day.The fourth is the effect optimizing connectivity has on summation.    Summation is the principle by which visibility, knowledge, performance improves as the sum total of data and perspectives grows.

The fifth is that when principles, architectures, applications, standards and practices support and accelerate inclusiveness (as opposed to exclusiveness) of actors, forces and markets – advantage [new understanding] is increased. (Hence the name “The Law of Inclusive Advantage.”

A corollary is that we cannot know for certain what needs to be connected, so everything needs to be connected.

The ultimate driver of netness is interoperability. Increasing the openness and interoperability of all chips, all operating systems, database standards, and related communications and application software – that’s the critical factor in making netness happen. It doesn’t matter if you have zillions of new “points-of-connectability” if they cannot connect and collaborate across different networks.. . . . if you want to generate the greatest opportunity and value, you must enable lateral con- nectivity as opposed to vertical integration.

The greatest opportunity is not found on the networks. It still resides in all those unconnected things that live between the networks. The big opportunity is to connect what hasn’t been con- nected. (Alternatively, by the way, the fastest way to reduce opportunity is to reduce connectivity.)”

We present Netness in 3 parts. First is the basic ideas -- pages 4 through 14; second is the intel- lectual history of the evolution of the paradigm from1965 though 2010 – pages 15 – 65; and third is an appendix of Sheldon’s language used to describe netness from 1994 through 2010 – page 66 – 79.

Sheldon’s inquiry is by no means finished and therefore he welcomes further input.

The Comcast IPv6 Trials

My last foray into the emerging IpV6 crisis was a detailed interview with John Curran published precisely 3 years ago. http://www.cookreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=102:january-2008-& catid=38:current-issues&Itemid=73

This issue offers a detailed interview with Jason Livingood and John Brzozowski - the lead engi- neers involved in carrying out Comcast’s extensive and commendable national trials of IPv6 con- nectivity. Having become a Comcast customer I have participated myself in the trials albeit at a somewhat superficial level. My participation has involved receiving a Cisco 3000 router from Com- cast with embedded code that enables me to use Comcast’s V6 portion of their website to via IPv6 RD communicate with Google, Facebook and a handful of other sites that are directly accessible at this time via IPv6.

This article describes the various means by which the old V4 Internet will be connected to the V6 Internet.    It gives somewhat detailed information on what to expect as more sites converge to the six content as well as conductivity–neither of which by the way is backwards compatible.    After the last IPV for block is given out by IANNA in 3 to six months we will have another six months or so until the last V4 addresses are put in use. Also we can expect during 2011 the emergence of some kind of market for IP V4 addresses.

During 2011, as the world effectively runs out of IPV4 addresses, the Internet will begin to face the problem where in 2012 the Internet will be having new users but will not have IPV for addresses with which to accommodate them.    As you will see from reading this article these new users will face a sub par experience. They will be able to get to v4 content but their experience is expected to be slower and more bumpy than those attached to the network directly with IPv4 address.

The V-6 trials focus primarily on two areas. One on making sure that the rather large number of hardware and software components that have to operate in a combined V6 and V4 world do so in a way as fault free and compatible as possible. There is a lot of integration and testing involved. Something that Comcast certainly appears to have well in hand. The other major area is the effort on the part of Comcast and everyone else to prepare for new customers with V6 only connectivity in such a way that these newcomers will experience the least drawbacks of connecting to an Inter- net in major transition as possible. At this point I think it is fair to say that no one knows exactly how all of this will work out. The Internet will inevitably go on but there are concerns of fragmenta- tion, less smooth behavior and possibly increased cost.

There is one other element of which I was unaware that has been cause for some concern between Comcast and Google. And that is that Google more than two years ago announced an IPv6 Trusted Tester program set up to enable the globe’s largest ISPs to interconnect with Google’s own IPv6 network. Users of ISPs who have not become trusted IPv6 testers with Google will not see Goo- gle's services as available via IPv6. If they are both IPv4 and IPv6 capable they will continue to see Google via IPv4. If they are IPv6-only users, they will not see IPv6 addresses from Google name servers in response to domain name lookups referencing Google services. However, in response to Google searches conducted using IPv4 connectivity, they may well receive URLs containing domain names that are bound to IPv6 addresses. These lookups are not controlled by Google. When they click on these choices they may or may not succeed in reaching the destination via IPv6, depending on whether IPv6 is supported by the user's ISP and the various access devices local to the user and the destination and path in between are in fact IPv6 capable.

Vint Cerf has stated that he agrees with Comcast that this white listing process is not indefinitely scalable but states that it will last as long as Google considers IPv6 to be in a test phase. It is not clear to me why Comcast is so concerned about the white listing process that they have issued an Internet Draft complaining about it while also not identifying Google as the only known content provider with the process in place. Consequently I deal with this disagreement by presenting text that was part of the original Comcast interview and following it up with another section of text that contains what I have been able to ascertain to be Google’s position during the last few days.

On December 1 Jason Livingood filled in the missing context: “This is not just Comcast's interest here or this would not have been adopted as an official working group item of the IPv6 Operations working group at the IETF following IETF 79. The important part of the draft was not to call Google out on the carpet but to shine a light on a new practice that, if it became more widely adopted, could have troubling implications for the Internet. So the document attempts to look at all sides of the issue, including what motivates whitelisting, and this was based on guidance from some IAB members as I was developing the document as well as my own personal style.”

The concern here is that temporary arrangements have a way of achieving permanency. So there needs to be a clear path to removal of whitelisting. Also, when the world's top search engine and highly respected Internet company applies whitelisting, other domains are likely to follow that lead, and a few have announced they are considering the same "temporary" measures as Google. As one of the attendees said at the IETF meeting, there can be a small amount of IPv6 transition pain now or a large amount later (when people try to figure out how to remove whitelisting).”

“I have no doubt that whitelisting was what Google needed to do to get IPv6 running on their site, and that they'd not be as far along as they are without it. And I have a lot of respect for the pre- paratory work they have done so far, which is important, and must be carefully planned for such a major site. So for them it was surely an important tool to prepare for IPv6. The key question now is how much longer this will remain in place, whether others will follow their lead, and ultimately what this will mean to the universal accessibility of content over native IPv6 -- which will impact the speed at which the Internet transitions to IPv6.”

Contents


Netness Part I: The Basic Ideas                               4

Connectivity Fields and Entangled Users                                       6

Everything Should Be Interoperable and Hence Connectable        9

Netness Part II: Maturation of the

Paradigm The Path to Recognition           15

“Stolen Knowledge”                                                                    17

JSB’s Law                                                                                    20

2002 Markets and Netness - Impact on Transparency               29

2003 Florida the Difficulty of Reaching the State of

Nirvana where Everything Works Together                                34

2004 Can Netness Create Virtue as Well as Value?                    37

2005 - 2006 Wibiki                                                                     39

2007 Nico Baken                                                                        40

2008 eComm and Cook-In                                                         45

Late 2008 Back to Portland                                                      46

2009 Netness and Quantum Mechanics                                    53

Moore?s Law versus Netness                                                    56

Appendix: Descriptions of Netness                                 65


Comcast: IPv6 Trials                                  80

Executive Summary                                    95