The Projects

The Institute operates by supporting projects that maintain and improve the Internet Infrastructure. This page summarizes major Institute projects and prospective projects.

All Institute projects follow open-source and open-access practices.

Continuing missions

These are projects for which we don't yet have operational planning or project owners. We will do more of them as the Institute scales up.

  • Support the standardization process by funding work on open-source reference implementations of RFCs and other standards. Speed up deployment of needed protocols such as DNSsec and IPv6.
  • Emergency response to service collapses and compromises. What happens on discovery of a security or DoS vulnerability in a core service? So far, responses have been effective, but ad-hoc. So far, we've been lucky.
  • Continuing attention to the roads, bridges, and chokepoints. Someone needs to be auditing for architectural and implementation vulnerabilities over the whole Internet so they can be fixed before they become acute problems.
  • Bridge funding and services to under-resourced infrastructure projects, and help in finding them sustained funding from slower-moving organizations.
  • In theory, the Internet is a self-healing network that can survive the loss of even major nodes. In practice, we don't know a lot about how to recover if an earthquake or a bomb were to take out a major exchange point. We need disaster planning, and no one is doing it.

Hathi

Hathi is a project to develop a decentralized social-network-oid communications medium catered to the needs of people and projects who need to communicate in order to get things done, rather than the more typical goals of talking with family and friends or “shouting at the world”. While many communication mediums already exist and are in use (IRC, mailing lists, Discord, software forge forums, etc) they all have problems including outright forgetting discussion history (IRC), difficulty finding history that does exist (mailing lists), and dependence on the beneficence of third parties (Discord, forge forums).

In a forgotten age of the world Usenet filled this gap, but evolving technology and its inability to use cryptography for authentication or privacy resulted in a slow lingering death. Now Usenet exists mostly as a geological strata of archives, with a topsoil made from tremendous quantities of pirated media. A replacement is needed, Hathi is being developed to be that replacement.

Bufferbloat

The performance of the Internet is seriously compromised by poor queuing and buffering strategies in TCP/IP stacks and network routers today. The symptoms of this problem mimic network undercapacity, and include both extreme latency spikes and wild utilization swings that lead to poor VOIP, gaming, and interactivity when competing with others using the same network.

The bufferbloat project , over the past 3 years, has made significant inroads on the problem, with new algorithms entering wider deployment and a standardization effort now taking place within the IETF. Much remains to be done. There need to be more comprehensive simulations and tests developed, large scale studies conducted, and while the now-developed solutions exist for cable, fiber, and DSL, wireless and wifi technologies need some detailed rework and rethinking in order to make them fast and efficient once again. And the developers need to be able to afford endless meetings to push the standardization process forward so that the algorithms are available by default, for all, on 2.4 billion machines or more.

The severity of this problem and the difficulty of getting mitigation efforts properly funded to completion was a major impetus to the foundation of ICEI.