The new architecture will enable cutting-edge technology, but Western countries fear more control over Internet services. Parts of the new technology are already under construction, and those elements are ready for testing, Huawei said.
Recently, the Financial Times reported that China proposed to the United Nations radical changes to the way the internet works, a proposal that claims to enable cutting-edge technologies such as holograms and self-driving cars, but critics say it would also incorporate authoritarianism into the architecture that underpins the internet. . Huawei, together with state-owned enterprises China Unicom and China Telecom, and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MT), have jointly proposed a new standard for core network technology called “New IP” at the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Part of the technology for the new network architecture is already under construction with the help of several countries and companies, Huawei said, but would not name the countries and companies involved. The company also said that these elements will be tested in early 2021. In a presentation and an official standards proposal obtained by the Financial Times, Huawei described the existing internet infrastructure that underpins global networks – known as TCP/IP – as “unstable” and “far away”. Far insufficient” to meet the requirements of a digital world by 2030, including self-driving cars, the ubiquitous Internet of Things and “holographic sensory teleportation”.
Instead, China’s proposal recommends that ITU take a “long-term view” and “take responsibility for the top-down design of future networks”.
Huawei said the new IP was developed purely to meet the technical requirements of the fast-moving digital world, and it did not incorporate any type of control into its design. The company said it was leading an ITU group focused on future network technologies. “Research and innovation on new IP is open to scientists and engineers around the world to participate and contribute,” the spokesperson added.
ITU is currently headed by Chinese telecom engineer Houlin Zhao, who was nominated by China in 2014. But a forthcoming paper for NATO by cybersecurity firm Oxford Information labs warns that the new IP will enable “fine-grained control on a network basis” and that China’s approach “would lead to an attack on the Internet and even potential users. More centralized, top-down control, which will have implications for security and human rights.”
Standards approved by the ITU, which consists of nearly 200 member states, are often adopted by developing countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and the Chinese government has agreed to provide infrastructure and surveillance technology under its Belt and Road Initiative, according to experts. Huawei and other co-developers are planning to advance the standardization of the new IP at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) major telecoms conference in India in November.
How is the new IP different?
The structure of the Internet was designed half a century ago to operate like a postal system. To solve the problem of sending information around the world, engineers break up information into small packets that can be passed between computers until they reach their destination.
Each packet is tagged with the address (or IP) of the computer it wants to reach, and when it receives those packets, it reassembles them in the correct order.
This process – which happens at the speed of light – is called “Transmission Control Protocol” or “TCP”. Add in a system that recognizes your PC, and you get TCP/IP.
John Norton wrote in “A Brief History of the Future: The Origins of the Internet”: “You could say that to the wired world, TCP/IP is like DNA to the biological world.”
According to a document shared with the Financial Times, Huawei described the new IP as a “more dynamic IP addressing system”. Their engineers describe how the Internet is increasingly divided into several separate networks, such as networks for private communications and those for satellite transmissions. “The interconnection between these networks is a challenge because their addressing mechanisms are incompatible,” the paper adds, adding that more efficient addressing systems are needed for emerging technologies.
The new IP will provide this, allowing devices on the same network to communicate directly with each other without having to send information over the internet.
Concerns about new IPs stem from the level of control governments or operators have over IP addresses. Critics say the new protocol will require the network to have a “tracking function” responsible for authenticating and authorizing new addresses added to the network, who is on the other end, and packets of information sent over the network.
In its presentation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Huawei also made it clear that the new IP will have something called a “shutdown order,” a central point in the network, according to a source who was present. Communication with a specific address can be effectively cut off. He described the feature as a “fundamental departure” from the current network model, which acts as an “agnostic postman who simply moves boxes.”
The proposal has raised concerns in Western countries including Britain, Sweden and the United States. The countries believe the system will fragment the global internet and give state-owned internet service providers fine-grained control over citizens’ internet use. According to ITU’s Western representative, it has already received support from Russia and possibly Saudi Arabia.
“Below the surface, there is a huge battle going on about what the internet will look like,” said a UK representative to ITU, who requested anonymity. “You have two competing visions: one that’s very free, open, and .
Internet technology originated in the United States. There are 13 root servers supporting the operation of the Internet. One primary root server is located in the United States, and 9 of the 12 secondary root servers are also located in the United States. The United States controls the world’s domain names and IP addresses, taking advantage of its monopoly resources, owning 50% of the IP addresses.
China accounts for 20% of the world’s Internet users, but only 5% of IP addresses. In the United States, one person can be assigned 6 IP addresses, but in China, 26 people share one IP.
The IP technology of Huawei’s new network architecture has given China new hope for redefining the network, but it is conceivable that it will face many obstacles. If it can take this opportunity to fully complete the upgrade to the next-generation Internet, it will completely end the US-led Internet hegemony30 years of history.
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