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How will the Named Data Networking project affect Internet architecture?

Expert Kevin Beaver discusses the possibility of the Named Data Networking architecture taking over the Internet and the challenges that may ensue should it come to fruition.

I read about a new Internet architecture called Named Data Networking, or NDN, that was designed to address the growth of mobile technology. How does NDN work? Will it really replace TCP/IP? Are there any security implications enterprises should be aware of should it be used in our environments?

The taxpayer-sponsored Named Data Networking project backed by the National Science Foundation aims to reengineer how the Internet works.

The "named data" feature uses data names instead of IP addresses to deliver information. The overall goal of the project is to create a more secure and bandwidth-friendly Internet environment for us to benefit from. Key components of NDN include adaptive traffic routing and forwarding, data-centric security and cryptographic authentication.

So will NDN replace the TCP/IP-based Internet as we know it? I'm no wizard with a crystal ball, but I suspect the odds of that happening are about as good as someone coming up with a truly usable replacement for passwords. However, I could certainly see this technology being beneficial in niche areas such as academia, government agencies and certain cloud environments given their available bandwidth and greater focus on security.

As for security implications, like most other emerging technologies, those remain to be discovered. Even though NDN is intended to be secure from the ground up, there are criminal hackers out there who are smarter than those developing NDN -- and they'll no doubt get their way if and when NDN hits the mainstream. Perhaps we will see an entirely new set of security threats and vulnerabilities that we can't yet imagine.

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This was last published in April 2015

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