Intel Predicts the Future of the Web

Gretchen Gallen
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Intel Corp. has looked into its crystal ball and claims to have the seen the future of the Internet just as the web's founder Vint Cerf would have wanted it.

The Silicon Valley-based based chipmaker sees the next generation of the Internet working off a massive overlay infrastructure that would analyze and direct traffic to make it a faster, cleaner and safer web environment.

Intel Chief Technology Officer Pat Gelsinger told techies at a recent Intel conference in San Jose, Calif., that after 30 years of existence, the Internet is ready for a badly needed tune-up.

Analysts have long predicted that the overcrowding of the Internet could easily bring the web to the breaking point, but Gelsinger took that prediction to the next level, saying that for the Internet to thrive in the coming years, a new network must be built over the existing one in order to thwart virus attacks, hackers, and the increasing demand for real estate in cyberspace.

The overlay network, which Gelsinger added would be supported by Intel products, would also support the expectation that web services will eventually play a major role in the future of online transactions.

"We're running up on some architectural limitations," Gelsinger told conference attendees. "As millions more net users join from developing nations, the net could begin to buckle under the strain."

Gelsinger steered his keynote speech toward the eventual rollout of Intel's Planet Lab project, which comprises 440 network nodes in 195 locations that connect universities and corporate research labs to each other.

Planet Lab consists of security, grid computing, bandwidth allocations and accessibility provisions, among other services. The services were designed to improve the performance and availability of current Internet computing and communication.

Launched in 2002, Planet Lab is heavily backed by Princeton University, the University of Cambridge, Hewlett-Packard and AT&T.

According to Gelsinger, Planet-Lab's overlay structure is based on Cerf's original development of TCP/IP-based systems.

"If the net grows to 100 billion devices connected to it, our goal is to have a piece of Intel inside in every one of those hundred billion," Gelsinger said.

After joining Planet Lab this week, HP announced that it will begin designing and marketing HP products based on Intel's concept for the Internet's future.

Intel is also helming the widespread rollout of wireless broadband using the 802.16 standard known as WiMax, codenamed Rosedale, which provides connections faster than DSL over a 30-mile radius.

Intel's development plans for WiMax could happen as soon as 2006 and by 2007, the company aims to have WiMax included in all notebooks and low-power devices.