Internet Fragmentation: What’s at Stake?
This article tries to examine if one can take the 'One Net' for granted, since the world becomes increasingly fragmented with social and geopolitical tensions. Furthermore, the author seeks to discover what is at stake if the global interoperable network is under a threat of fragmentation.
- Tatiana Tropina
- 16 December 2022
- Read the whole article here
This article explains that the Internet is a mesh of various networks and autonomous systems that communicate with each other. What brings these networks together into ‘One Net’ is their interoperability. They ‘speak a common language’ in the form of Internet protocols and unique identifiers (IP addresses and domain names). They also use a single Domain Name System (DNS), a database that translates domain names to IP addresses. The author explains that at its technical layer, the Internet would only ‘fragment’ if it lost its interoperability: for example, if connected devices or autonomous systems were to use incompatible protocols or if other unique identifier arrangements were to compete with the currently prevailing system. As long as the Internet uses the same universally accepted standards, it does not splinter in its technical layer.
Moreover, this article also explains how both authoritarian and democratic states alike are trying to exercise more and more control over the global network. This ‘fragments’ governance and regulatory approaches, leads to significant divergences in the experience of Internet users, and diminishes the value of ‘One Net’ as a tool for communication, empowerment, and innovation.