In Extending the Internet: The Peernet OpenMesh, Robin Good pulls together the strings of an evolving idea.
It started out with “Backing up the Internet in a P2P ‘cloud’“, a discussion around the concept of making the internet more resilient to all kinds of interference, and perhaps even providing an alternative way of interaction that isn’t based on the web (client/server) model.
The idea evolved from “let’s build a separate P2P infrastructure” to “users could help bridge the last mile and in the process construct a ubiquitous wireless mesh”. This seems doable, especially with open source mesh communication and relay protocols and hardware coming on line at a fairly rapid pace. Will it catch on to become the next big thing? No telling yet, but the time seems right.
With hardware and protocols chugging along, the big question becomes: What kind of P2P interaction software will become the the killer-app that helps P2P catch on everywhere?
For now we have Skype and BitTorrent with a fairly large user base each. But for the breakthrough to ubiquity, we might need something of more immediate and intimate applicability, something that touches everyone’s lives.
Will social networks (such as Ning) morph into P2P apps? Will the killer be a financial app that takes the wind out of the banks’ sails, perhaps a P2P implementation of the Ripple protocol or will it be a thousand local currencies blending into a glorious mesh of economic interaction as advocated by the people at Open Money?
Perhaps there is no need for the killer-app – it could well be that we’ll end up with a million networks that perennially evolve and struggle to find a common interface and – hopefully – find it in the Peernet.
For now, take a look at what Robin put together in his Extending the Internet: The Peernet OpenMesh