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Hardcover | Out of Print | 586 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 29 figures | June 2010 | ISBN: 9780262013970
Paperback | $35.00 Short | £27.95 | 586 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 29 figures | August 2012 | ISBN: 9780262518048
eBook | $24.00 Short | August 2012 | ISBN: 9780262266222
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Internet Architecture and Innovation


Today—following housing bubbles, bank collapses, and high unemployment—the Internet remains the most reliable mechanism for fostering innovation and creating new wealth. The Internet’s remarkable growth has been fueled by innovation. In this pathbreaking book, Barbara van Schewick argues that this explosion of innovation is not an accident, but a consequence of the Internet’s architecture—a consequence of technical choices regarding the Internet’s inner structure that were made early in its history.

The Internet’s original architecture was based on four design principles: modularity, layering, and two versions of the celebrated but often misunderstood end-to-end arguments. But today, the Internet’s architecture is changing in ways that deviate from the Internet’s original design principles, removing the features that have fostered innovation and threatening the Internet’s ability to spur economic growth, to improve democratic discourse, and to provide a decentralized environment for social and cultural interaction in which anyone can participate. If no one intervenes, network providers’ interests will drive networks further away from the original design principles. If the Internet’s value for society is to be preserved, van Schewick argues, policymakers will have to intervene and protect the features that were at the core of the Internet’s success.

About the Author

Barbara van Schewick is Associate Professor of Law and Helen L. Crocker Faculty Schoar at Stanford Law School, Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, and Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering in Stanford University's Department of Electrical Engineering.

Table of Contents

  • Internet Architecture and Innovation
  • Internet Architecture and Innovation
  • Barbara van Schewick
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2010
  • Barbara van Schewick
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • For information about special quantity discounts, email .edu.
  • Set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Van Schewick, Barbara.
  • Internet architecture and innovation / Barbara van Schewick.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01397-0 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Internet. 2. Computer network architectures. 3. Technological innovations. 4. Business—Data processing. I. Title.
  • TK5105.875.I57V378 2010
  • 004.6'5—dc22
  • 2009037130
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • for Steffen, Lukas, and Daniel
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments  ix
  • Introduction  1
  • I Foundations 
  • 1 Architecture and Innovation  19
  • Architecture  19
  • The Relationship between Architecture and the Economic System  23
  • The Relationship between Architecture and Innovation  28
  • II The End-to-End Arguments and the Original Architecture of the Internet 
  • 2 Internet Design Principles  37
  • Modularity  38
  • Integrated Design  44
  • Layering  46
  • Modularity and Layering in Network Architectures  50
  • The End-to-End Arguments  57
  • 3 The Original Architecture of the Internet  83
  • Introduction to the Original Architecture of the Internet  83
  • The Internet and the Layering Principle  88
  • The Internet and the End-to-End Arguments  90
  • Some Misconceptions about the End-to-End Arguments and the Architecture of the Internet  103
  • III Architectural Constraints on Innovation 
  • 4 Architecture and the Cost of Innovation  115
  • Costs of Change in Modular and Integrated Architectures  118
  • Costs of Change in the Original Architecture of the Internet  137
  • 5 Architecture and the Organization of Innovation  165
  • Architecture and Organization in Modular and Integrated Architectures  166
  • Implications of the Link between Architecture and Feasible Governance Structures  195
  • Architecture and Organization in the Original Architecture of the Internet  201
  • 6 Architecture and Competition among Makers of Complementary Components  215
  • Architectural Differences—Application Awareness and Application Control  217
  • Effect of Ability to Discriminate or Exclude  218
  • Effect on Pricing Strategies  273
  • Conclusion  280
  • IV The End-to-End Arguments and Application Innovation 
  • 7 Network Architectures and the Economic Environment for Application Innovation  285
  • Potential Deviations from the End-to-End Arguments  286
  • The Four Network Architectures  287
  • Analysis  289
  • 8 Decentralized versus Centralized Environments for Application Innovation  297
  • Effects of Differences in Innovator Diversity and in Control over Innovation  298
  • Effect of Differences in Control over Deployment  349
  • Overall Effect of Architectural Differences on Application Innovation  351
  • 9 Public and Private Interests in Network Architectures  355
  • Public Interests in Network Architectures  355
  • Network Providers' Private Interests in Network Architectures  371
  • Conclusion  377
  • Notes  393
  • References  495
  • Index  551


“This is an important piece of policy work and anyone who cares about the Internet ought to give it a read.”—Fred Wilson, A VC blog
“...Internet Architecture and Innovation is an important work: it supplies a key piece of the broadband puzzle in its consideration of broadband transport as a necessary input for other businesses…van Schewick’s fundamental premise rings true: only neutral networks promote competition and innovation.”—ars technica


“This is a tour de force on the topic of the end-to-end principle in the design of the Internet.”
Daniel E. Atkins, W.K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information, Professor of Information and EECS, and Associate Vice-President for Research Cyberinfrastructure, University of Michigan
“This is an important book, one which for the first time ties together the many emerging threads that link the economic, technical, architectural, legal, and social frameworks of the birth and evolution of the Internet.”
David P. Reed, MIT Media Laboratory
“This isn't a flash in the pan piece. This book will be an evergreen in a wide range of academic and policy contexts more than an introduction to how technology and policy should be analyzed, it is, in my view, the very best example of that analysis.”
Lawrence Lessig, author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace