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The Beginnings and Prospective Ending of “End-to-End”: An Evolutionary Perspective On the Internet’s Architecture

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  • Paul A. David

    (All Souls College, Oxford & Stanford University)

Abstract

The technology of “the Internet” is not static. Although its “end-to- end” architecture has made this “connection-less” communications system readily “extensible,” and highly encouraging to innovation both in hardware and software applications, there are strong pressures for engineering changes. Some of these are wanted to support novel transport services (e.g. voice telephony, real-time video); others would address drawbacks that appeared with opening of the Internet to public and commercial traffic - e.g., the difficulties of blocking delivery of offensive content, suppressing malicious actions (e.g. “denial of service” attacks), pricing bandwidth usage to reduce congestion. The expected gains from making “improvements” in the core of the network should be weighed against the loss of the social and economic benefits that derive from the “end-to-end” architectural design. Even where technological “fixes” can be placed at the networks’ edges, the option remains to search for alternative, institutional mechanisms of governing conduct in cyberspace.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/io/papers/0502/0502012.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0502012.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 10 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0502012

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. David, Paul A & Steinmueller, W Edward, 1996. "Standards, trade and competition in the emerging global information infrastructure environment," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 817-830, December.
  2. Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason & Hal Varian, 1994. "Economic FAQs About the Internet," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 75-96, Summer.
  3. Paul A. David, . "Path Dependence, its critics, and the quest for 'historical economics'," Working Papers 00011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  4. David, Paul A & Shurmer, Mark, 1996. "Formal standards-setting for global telecommunications and information services. Towards an institutional regime transformation?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 789-815, December.
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