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New “Network 2030” Group Asks: What Comes After 5G?

The ITU focus group wants to make sure the backbone of every network can support future demand for data

4 min read
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Illustration: iStockphoto

If you listen to the hype about 5G, with its promises of self-driving vehicles and immersive virtual reality, it doesn’t take long to realize how much data the coming generation of wireless will require. But have engineers been so preoccupied with delivering low-latency networks to feed data-hungry applications that they’ve forgotten about the rest of our vast, tangled telecommunications network? 

That concern has sparked some researchers to start thinking about where all that data will go after it travels from your phone to the nearest cell tower.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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