Web Experts Investing $100 Million to Beef Up the Internet

Nov 14, 2011 9:00 AM PST

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two early Google investors are predicting an explosion of Internet transactions in an online world 100 times faster than today’s and are investing $100 million of their own money to beef up the network against possible catastrophes.

According to reports, Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, and David Cheriton, a computer science professor at Stanford University, and founder of Arista Networks — both who were among the first to invest in Google – said the Internet could be facing a disastrous traffic jam and their company is working on a data-routing switch that can fix problems without shutting down the network.

The pair cited the partial failure of Amazon Web Services' cloud-computing platform earlier this year that brought down some Internet operations, including the Quora and Reddit websites as a warning sign.

Another concern about the future Internet’s reliability centers on its vulnerability. More transactions could also mean more system attacks.

Reports said that the common 1-gigabit-per-second connection for servers is quickly evolving into 10-gigabit connections, thanks to improvements in chip design and software. Even faster speeds are already in use for specialty functions, and a standard for a terabit-per-second connection, 1,000 gigabits, is expected in about seven years.

The net architects' Santa Clara-based Arista Networks is building a system that’s designed to run on inexpensive chips — a major departure from the way networking has previously been designed.

"We think of the Internet as always there," Cheriton told the New York Times. "Just because we've become dependent on it, that doesn't mean it's true."

Bechtolsheim said that the Internet is so complex that it’s impossible to design the global network without dangerous bugs that could shut down commerce and allowing attacks by foreign powers.

But he noted that because of the improved chips that are now used in computers, phones and cable television boxes, “we could build a network that is a lot more software-enabled, something that is a lot easier to defend and modify."

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