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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul A. David, 2005. "The Beginnings and Prospective Ending of “End-to-End”: An Evolutionary Perspective On the Internet’s Architecture," Industrial Organization 0502012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0502012
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/io/papers/0502/0502012.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pierre Garrouste & Stavros Iaonnides, 2001. "Evolution and Path-Dependency in Economic Ideas: Past and Present," Post-Print halshs-00274526, HAL.
    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. 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.
    4. Paul A. David, 2007. "Path Dependence, its Critics, and the Quest for ‘Historical Economics’," Chapters,in: The Evolution of Economic Institutions, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    JEL classification:

    • L - Industrial Organization

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