Lovelace lecture 2006

Internet routers: past, present and future

Speaker: Prof Nick McKeown, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University.

The original internet architecture consisted of computers connected by links and routers. The so-called "end-to-end principle" calls for the routers to be simple and fast, allowing innovation to take place at the edge.

In this lecture, Nick McKeown describes the history of internet routers, technically and commercially. They have come a long way since the early days when Cisco was established to build and sell routers.

He will describe the technology that goes into routers and attempt to discern where things went wrong: why did routers become so tremendously complex?

Prof McKeown thinks it will change; in the next decade, he believes, the core of the internet will become much simpler, with optical technology dominating the switching and routing.