China’s Next-Generation Internet Is a World-Beater
The net’s new tiger, China, is creating a faster, more secure system that is way ahead of the West
THE net is getting creaky and old: it is rapidly running out of space and remains fundamentally insecure. And it turns out China is streets ahead of the West in doing anything about it.
A report published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society last week details China’s advances in creating a next-generation internet that is on a national level and on a larger scale than anything in the West.
At the root of the problem are “two major gaps in the architecture of the internet”, according to a report from the New England Complex Systems Institute, compiled in 2008 for the US Navy and released to the public this week. First up is the internet’s inability to block malicious traffic as a whole. While malware can rapidly replicate and distribute itself across the net, organisations can only respond to individual instances of online aggression.
China is already coming up with better defences. One of the most important aspects of its next-generation backbone is a security feature known as Source Address Validation Architecture (SAVA). Many of the existing security problems stem from an inability to authenticate IP addresses of computers that try to connect to your network. SAVA fixes this by adding checkpoints across the network. These build up a database of trusted computers matched up with their IP addresses. Packets of data will be blocked if the computer and IP address don’t match. Steve Wolff, one of the internet’s early pioneers, calls it a “model that should be much more widely adopted”.