Designed For Decentralisation: Understanding the Internet

Date and Time: 
6 November, 2010 - 10:00 - 10:30

Two particular points make the structure of the Internet unique. Firstly,
there is no single backbone through which all information is routed. Instead,
it consists of thousands of aggregated independent networks, which work
together to make their content accessible. There is no central controlling
network or organisation therefore; the Internet's design precludes traditional
power hierarchies.

Secondly, it uses 'packet-switching' for transferring chunks of data. This
gives computers the ability to connect to several targets simultaneously, and
contrasts sharply with traditional 'circuit-switching' networks. The packet-
switched technique creates a symmetrical network, where the intelligence is
peripheral, and where each point can assume any role.

The decentralised structure of the Internet is a key part of its success, and
has had enormous consequences for society. The emergence of the global network
has redefined methods of politics, communication, and business. Both the growth
and impact of the Internet are the result of its fascinating distributed

Room 2
Divide and Re-Conquer