Full Stack Web Developer

Peer to Peer Internet

Stream of thought: With the advent of things like portable storage devices that can act as a wifi hotspot and political and corporate movements to control information over the Internet (i.e. SOPA, ACTA, and PIPA), I predict that in roughly 2 to 6 years, we will have the ability to create our own, personal and public world wide networks. There will be a clear divide in how people share and gather information.

Instead of logging into your ISP, you will instead log into a local wifi hotspot that has synched data with other local wifi networks and previous users who have connected.

1. A business man who has just flown in from the Netherlands will refresh the Toronto, Ontario hub with his European hub information once he logs into a local cafe. His bulk upload will get spawned across hundreds, if not thousands, of portal mobile Wi-Fi devices in the greater Toronto area and then on to the rest of North America.

2. A commuter from Barrie will have her preferred bulk of network data synched to her phone while she goes about her day. At the end of the day, all of her sports and entertainment network information will get commuted to Barrie where her personal network of 10 friends will synch up to her, and 5 of their friends will synch, and so on and so on.

Figure 1: Client-server vs peer-to-peer distributed systems

Figure 1: Client-server vs peer-to-peer distributed systems from Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony using SIP by Kundan Singh and Henning Schulzrinne

This type of Peer to Peer (“P2P”) syncing activity will work much better in condensed areas of mobile Wi-Fi networks – like major cities. Commuters will help to spread out access to information, but once there is a need, people will find their own ways to get what they want. To help these remote areas and to bridge oceans, the amature rocket scene will get to the point of launching satellites through support from sites like Kickstarter or a more international startup support company. I predict this won’t happen until 2020 or 2022 due to technology requiring to become much smaller and cheaper for building the rockets and satellites. There is also the likely chance that hackers will take advantage of international backbones and hop-on and off when it’s required.

Storage for this P2P Internet data will be limited only by the number of users who share connections and how many terabytes of storage they have in their mobile phones, tablets, and portable hard drives. Public and trusted data will be transferred in much the same way we share files with torrents. You will be able to throttle how much you seed, but the more you seed, the more trust you gain among you community of connections. Gatekeepers of the data will decide which of their users can  access their stock and what and at what speeds. Some gatekeepers may even charge a monthly subscription in order to strengthen and/or widen their distribution.

One of the biggest changes to bring about P2P Internet will be when portable devices that can act as a hotspot, can also act as web servers. This will bring a level of usability to P2P sharing that has kept the average user from participating in P2P sharing, but it will still take the masses a few years to give up their corporate monitored & controlled ISP with restrictive caps that allow only the rich to access their entertainment. We have already seen this come about with online video streaming services like Netflix, Boxee, and Hulu.

Technologies like Cloud computing and CloudFTP will give innovative web minds the ability to pave the way to remove the need for ISPs, backbones, and hubs that are ultimately controlled by the government and corporations – not by the customers paying for it.

Protests and scandals will help on the surface to battle control, but the real change will come out of no where and it will be ubiquitous.

Mom and Dad will be surfing on Walmart’s preferred network of sites, but the tweens will be downloading and buying movies, music, games, and all software off of user-trusted sharing local networks. Yes, it sounds much like the current landscape of Peer to Peer sharing, but this will be off ‘the grid’. ISPs won’t be able to track anything because it’ll be over Wi-Fi or god knows what new kind of over the air transfer tech will be around in 2018. Increased global control over the Internet and the need to escape DRM and pay artists directly instead of helping their labels get fatter will drive this movement.

Check out some of these sources and let me know if you think they are in tune with these predictions:

Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies, O’Reilly, Edited by Andy Oram

Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony using SIP