GENI: Experiment with the Internet of the Future

I was born into the age of the internet, and I took it for granted. I looked at the potential of the internet in terms of, “What can I build on top of it?” The dirty details of what held this big network together was someone else’s problem.

As web developers, we tend to build new apps based off the starting point of HTTP. We rarely care about the transport and routing protocols that sit below us. Why should we? We’ve got money to make and worlds to change!

What if we could have a say in the way the internet’s routers forwarded packets? What if the networks that we built our apps to leverage were 250 times faster than what was available now? What could we build that just isn’t feasible today?

There’s a big project going on that’s sponsored by the National Science Foundation called GENI. The purpose of the project is to provide a whole range of tools and testbeds for simulating the future internet “at scale” — that is, a way for experimenters so set up isolated models of new internet architectures and applications running on them.

The reason I’m writing about this is because I’m working with Mozilla to document the GENI project and make it easier for developers to start using and exploring GENI. This has largely been an academic project — but it’s almost ready for developers to start hacking away. (Aside: Check out the Mozilla Ignite App Challenge if you’re full of ideas and interested in prizes)

Oh, and the reason it interested me in the first place?

The realization that the internet is still very much in it’s infancy, and there’s a wild new frontier for developers to explore. 

This is the first post in a series on GENI. I’ll have a lot more on the philosophy behind the project, some very cool example projects I’ve come across, and tips on how you can get started.

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  • Peter Rawsthorne

    Great post  Kenny… I also am looking forward to building a bunch of experiments on the GENI network.

  • katzgrau

    Thanks Peter!