I remember when we first made that quantum leap from having a wired Internet connection to a wireless one. Certainly, there are some sacrifices in terms of latency, speed and reliability, but the convenience was undeniable. We graduated from wireless-A to wireless-B, moving on to wireless-G, dual-band wireless-N routers, and now we have wireless-AC. The thing is that all of this network infrastructure is still based on the old TCP/IP protocol and that’s 40-year-old tech. Researchers at Aalborg University, along with folks at MIT and Caltech, have working on a better solution.
In effect, they want to get rid of the old TCP/IP way of doing things and replace it with a much smarter system. The post from Aalborg University explains how the new system would be based on math and it would get rid of the old “packet” principle:
“With the old systems you would send packet 1, packet 2, packet 3 and so on. We replace that with a mathematical equation. We don’t send packets. We send a mathematical equation. You can compare it with cars on the road. Now we can do without red lights. We can send cars into the intersection from all directions without their having to stop for each other. This means that traffic flows much faster.”
This will improve efficiency and increase speed, but they say that the “smarter” nodes would be able to receive packets in any order, rather than being stuck with sequential delivery. They say it’ll be more secure, as it’d be more difficult for the bad guys to eavesdrop on your traffic. You’d also get rid of the transmission delays in TCP/IP that result from lost packets, because the rest of the packets can just keep on moving along at seemingly random paths.
There’s still work to be done, of course, but by moving beyond traditional TCP/IP, these researchers and their equipment manufacturer partners were able to achieve speeds five to ten times faster than normal. Given our push toward consuming even more data-hungry media, like 4K video, a faster Internet would definitely be appreciated by everyone.