Xerox PARC — which became famous for inventing now-common technologies like the mouse, Ethernet and even GUI windowing environments — says its next big project is all about putting content at the center of the network.
PARC is working on a networking technology called Content-Centric Networking (CCN), which emphasizes a network’s content over its nodes. In other words, you don’t need to know about the network or where stuff is, you only need to know what you’re looking for. PARC believes that the services and products we have now are but a patchwork solution that wasn’t made with that in mind.
While the folks there may be right that TCP/IP or other networking protocols do concentrate on the nodes or source-to-destination type messaging, that doesn’t mean that the content sharing we do today doesn’t work. The other touted CCN application is self-created autonomous networks a la Facebook, etc. But is content and sharing-oriented networks really where it ends? Or is just another stepping stone along the way? Probably the latter.
If there’s anything that I would love to see organizations like PARC working on, it’s security. As ground-breaking as TCP has been as the foundation of the Internet, it’s not inherently secure, nor are the applications built on it, and it either needs a major overhaul or replacement. Meanwhile, applications and user environments need to get more transparent security because users simply aren’t going to want to know how to implement it effectively.