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The Future of the Internet

By Stanford Continuing Studies Program

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The Internet today has evolved a long way from its humble beginnings as a federally funded research project. As a society, we find ourselves increasingly dependent on the Internet for our daily routine; and yet, the future of the Internet remains a matter of vigorous political, economic, and academic debate. This debate centers around ownership: who will own the infrastructure, and who will own the content that the network delivers? Unfortunately, most of this debate does not involve a substantive discussion of the “architecture” of the network, or the role that architectural design will play in shaping the ownership of the future global network. This course provides a non-technical introduction to the architecture of the Internet, present and future. Students will be taken on a tour through the inner workings of the network, with a view toward how these details inform the current debate about “network neutrality” and the ownership of the future Internet.

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