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Could 'Peernet' be separate from today's internet infrastructure?

Here are some musings I posted as a comment on the P2P Foundation blog, in response to a Post of Simon Edhouse - The Medium is the Mess... - which makes the point that we should not confuse the Web with the Internet by using these terms in a loosely interchangeable way. My thoughts are, that quite separate from both the Net and the Internet as defined by Edhouse, peer-to-peer could give rise to a different type of entity that links us up without being subject to controls except that we may wish to exercise ...

The comment

P2P may in time give rise to something entirely different from both the Internet and the Web as defined in this article. The Web and the entire Internet structure are corporation controlled and we are mere guests, much like the first people sending email and discussing on the usenet, timidly using some of the bandwidth that was there for entirely different reasons.

P2P needs to develop its own infrastructure quite independent of the hardware and even the connectivity that powers today’s internet. I see real peer-to-peer connectivity starting with consumer driven mesh networks based on WIFI or WIMax or a combination, and a gradual separation from today’s internet even for long range connectivity, which could in a first instance be driven by P2P radio bridges. Mobile device mesh networks could be part of this. As almost everyone has a mobile phone today, it would take little to hack the system these things run on to allow them to form networks among themselves, in addition to the standard connectivity into the mobile communication structure through repeater antennas.

At the same time as a real P2P communication infrastructure develops in parallel with the existing infrastructure of the net, we might also think of backing up the data that is on the internet today on a cloud of personal computers, possibly with a novel way of distributed and redundant data storage inspired by an algorithm that mimicks holographic storage of data. There is a huge potential in personal computer hard disks for hosting the parts of all-the-data-there-is and there is more than the necessary computing power on line at any given time for reconstructing that data residing everywhere and nowhere, on the cloud of networked computers.

Of course communications could be re-invented in a secure and spam-free manner. Much work has been done on identification, which may come in handy. Money could flow freely on such a network and it could be quite different from what we consider money today. There is an open money discussion hosted on this ning group which seeks to define the parameters of what we may consider money in the future.

Eventually, the P2PNet could grow so pervasive that it takes over most of the functions of today’s Internet while adding new things we never dreamed were possible.

Perhaps 'Peernet' would be an appropriate term to distinguish the future P2PNet from both the Internet and "the Net" as described by Simon Edhouse in his article.

Would 'Peernet' be desirable?

My first idea was that we might need such a net as a backup of the internet, so in case of a major catastrophe, we would not lose connectivity that today depends mostly on physical connections such as optical cables which are vulnerable and may go down in any major catastrophic event. The mainframe computers on which we depend to act as servers are not immune either. So a distributed architecture, that can re-construct its data and function regardless of the number of peers involved, seems ideal for guarding against catastrophic changes.

But not only that. With the experience we have gained from the Internet, Peernet could be designed to be spam-free and secure, and impervious to any outside interference.

It could also function as the monetary system of the future - see the open money discussions - and might have other advantages that are not yet obvious.

What do you think?

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Wi-Fi in Rural Africa

Lest anyone think Wi-Fi is inherently short range and can't be employed to construct a more widespread network, here is a story that says the contrary.
some interesting paper ( pdf )

Towards Autonomous Network Domains


also see :

TurfNet: An Architecture for Dynamically Composable Networks

through google

references for the paper :

Stefan Schmid ; Lars Eggert ; Marcus Brunner ; Jürgen Quittek ;
NEC Europe Ltd. ;
Network Laboratories
Heidelberg, Germany
{schmid | eggert | brunner | quittek}@netlab.nec.de
and ...

Scalability Analysis of the TurfNet Naming and Routing Architecture


Abstract — TurfNet is a novel internetworking architecture
that enables communication among highly autonomous and
heterogeneous network domains.
This paper examines whether TurfNet’s naming and inter-domain
routing architecture can scale to networks of the size of the
global Internet.

reference :

Jordi Pujol, Stefan Schmid, Lars Eggert, Marcus Brunner and Jürgen Quittek
{pujol | schmid | eggert | brunner | quittek}@netlab.nec.de
Thanks Dante,

this may go a long way towards permitting the formation of local P2P networks, providing the gateway protocols necessary to allow such networks to link in to the greater internet.
Thanks Sepp

I m still exploring the field , so perhaps some of you can help in sorting out or correcting / completing my current view on various seemingly directly interconnected aspects related to internet architecture / routing protocols and the various players / entities who control such routing ?

What concerns the current " internet " , If I understand properly , a network ( and entity/company? controlling such network ) can have more or less power ... ? ... which is related to the protocols ? and/or to the physical/infrastructure connections of the networks , and then the agreements between these ?

If I understand properly , there are




which itself , at a higher topology ( ? ) ,



and there is a


that allows for domain names to translate into IP

then there are various "tiers" ,
who have ... control over routing ( ? ) ... and may lead to a certain topology , within the context of the current mainstream internet protocols ,

which if I understand properly is represented by , for example ,

such visualization of the architecture / "topology" ( and control ? ) on current internet traffic :


... better understanding of a particular network's political and economic motivations in relationship to how and with whom it peers. a Tier 1 network does not purchase IP transit from any other network to reach any other portion of the Internet.


... Tier 2 providers are the most common providers on the Internet as it is much easier to purchase transit from a Tier 1 network than it is to peer with them

Visualizing IPv4 Internet Topology at a Macroscopic Scale :



Peering requires physical interconnection of the networks, an exchange of routing information through the Border Gateway Protocol routing protocol and is often accompanied by peering agreements of varying formality, from "handshake" to thick contracts.


Thanks for correcting , complementing or clarifying :-)

your questions are outside of my knowledge basket, so I won't try to go into them. Perhaps there are others interested in the details.

I did however just came across this post by Michel on the P2P blog, which seems very relevant to this thread.

Is Guifi.net an alternative independent internet?
Thanks Sepp

Seems that Guifi is an ad-hoc multi hop wireless network ( correct me if I am wrong? )
using similar protocols as other such movements/networks around the world.
( http://www.freenetworks.org/ )

In Germany, there is for example


In Belgium, there is for example


... etc
Seems that Guifi is an ad-hoc multi hop wireless network

I believe that's true. And yes, there are little beginnings here and there in different countries.

As they say in the article, it would be a positive development if there were a strong international co-ordination point for those open network initiatives...
I just came across this article by marc (evolving trends) that takes up the theme of linking up in a ubiquitous p2p mesh rather than following the client server and client access provider models of the current www and internet. This has been on line since March 2008, but I had not seen it before.

Towards a World Wide Mesh (WWM)


That trend is definitely continuing, although device manufacturers will only enable ubiquitous meshing if there is pressure from users requiring that capability.
A recent article that caught my attention:

Open Access Wireless is Inevitable: Martin Cooper

Open access for wireless is inevitable, and everybody wins, says Martin Cooper, co-founder, ArrayComm and father of the cell phone, in a commentary on RCR Wireless News.

The concept of open wireless networks is not new. In fact, an obligation to support “reselling” was embedded in the original FCC rules that created the cellular industry.

“Openness” is being reborn, for a number of reasons, and this time I predict that it’s going to stick. There is finally a realization that the explosion of the Internet was due, in large part, to its openness; to the fact that the applications and services that have made the Internet so valuable to us were created in a competitive environment that is friendly to entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

The CEOs of Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all endorsed the concept of open networks.

True open access to wireless network is inevitable. In contrast with the Carter decision in which the FCC mandated the open access that initiated the collapse of the wireline walled garden in 1968, wireless open access will happen without intervention by the government or the courts. It will happen for one simple reason: open access is good business…
For some years, research has been proceeding in Japan on inter-connectivity. See

Integrated Distributed Environment with Overlay Network (IDEON)


"IDEON (Integrated Distributed Environment with Overlay Network) is a working group of researchers who try to approach realization of the integrated distributed environment (IDE) through construction of overlay networks (ON).

IDEON focuses on research, development and operation of overlay networks as an infrastructure to realize free and creative rendezvous, location and routing."

And this is connected with an application being developed that will allow payments over the internet, modeled on the Japanese experience with a local social currency called WAT now (for internet use) designated i-WAT. Here is a link collection that lists the papers on i-WAT developments.

Michel, some time ago, forwarded this link:

Peer-to-peer networking takes internet out of the equation


When people working on a project get together with their laptops and PDAs, they share information via the internet and a client server. But new software developed by European researchers allows independent, ad hoc, secure networking anywhere.

The power and reach of the internet in today’s world is such that people have, in a short space of time, become over-reliant on it for many tasks both in business and personal life.

If a group of people are gathered together with their laptops in a conference room and are working together on a project, they need to use the web as a communications medium and a central server to store the data they are working on.

If the internet connection is unavailable, congested or even just unaffordable, it has a serious impact on the productivity of the group.

To overcome this, we need to move away from the centralised, rigid client-server paradigm and fixed communications infrastructure. This is just what researchers on the EU-funded POPEYE project have been doing.

. . .

The software creates a shared repository which everybody in the network can tap into, moving documents and other files to and from their individual hard drives. Because the resources of all the devices are being shared to create the repository, somebody with a small PDA will get exactly the same access to the material as somebody with a powerful laptop.

“Using peer-to-peer in this way means there is no particular node or site where everything is stored for reference,” Berthet says. “You don’t get to download files as such, but to open any file or access any data in the shared space and use it.

There is a common repository that only exists because the community exists, and it ceases to exist when the community ceases to exist.”

. . .

Everything is open source, so anybody can develop their own applications to run on POPEYE. According to Berthet, more bandwidth-hungry functions, such as video streaming, may be the subject of future research.

While the initial focus of the project was to allow people to work on collaborative projects using personal IT devices independent of the internet, the applications of POPEYE go beyond business meetings and the need for corporate infrastructural support.

“In a disaster situation, it can take days or weeks to get power and communications restored, and POPEYE could help emergency services and relief workers to share information,” Berthet offers as an example.




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