writes: "For years, Cisco and Juniper have been stuck in the "smart fringes, dumb core" view of routers and the Internet. If Larry Roberts and his new company, Caspian Networks, have their way, all those promises you've heard about the Web being the new entertainment medium may play out. "Smart" routers will be able to pick out different types of packets (text, voice, media, etc.) and intelligently sequence them to their destination more efficiently. Broadband that can really stream high-quality multimedia. Worldwide, high-quality IP-based long-distance telephone. Even faster dialup connections."
While the Wired reporter doesn't question the greatness of these new routers, what it means is that the backbone companies gain greater control over what traffic they will and won't permit, what they'll speed up and slow down, etc. This is likely to increase their profits at the expense of the health and dynamicism of the overall network. ("You're a residential customer, you can't serve data, only consume it!") These are the issues we've looked at before here