NDN2020 Keynote Speakers sharing backgrounds and views.

Having our great keynote speakers talking about great topics is.. great. However, we believe that there is so much more to it than just delivering a great talk. Hence, we have asked our speakers for some upfront insight into their worlds.

Opening Keynote   “The Rise and Fall of the Internet”

Australian Internet pioneer Geoff Huston makes a case for revisiting the spirit which led research communities to establish networks.

Geoff Huston is the Chief Scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), where he undertakes research on topics associated with Internet infrastructure, IP technologies, and address distribution policies.


Widely regarded as the preeminent researcher on IPv4 exhaustion, he is routinely referenced by international agencies and frequently quoted by the ICT media.

Geoff has also presented at a number of global technical and government forums, including:

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • The International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
  • The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
  • The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • His research was recently quoted in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publication, The Internet Technical Community Issues Memorandum on the Future of the Internet in a Global Economy published in 2008.

He has also been recently quoted in a number of news features for ComputerWorld, ZDNet, CommsDay, MISAsia, PC Authority, The Register, and CIOL Cybertimes.

Nordic inspiration for Australia

The NORDUnet 2020 conference is an appropriate venue for a message of reintroducing some of the original academic networking spirit:

“I was the founder of AARnet back in 1989 and the network approach that I used, which gained the widest possible acceptance in the Australian academic and research community, was modelled on the approach taken by NORDUnet at the time. It was pragmatic, it was efficient and it worked. I think the Scandinavian academic and research network community is still working along the same principles of pushing forward in networking technology with the same pragmatic perspectives.”


“The internet is now just a new generation of a worldwide cable television platform!”

Participants will need to buckle up for a fast takeoff at the 2020 version of the NORDUnet conference. Opening keynote speaker Geoff Huston, founder of AARnet (Australian Academic and Research Network), is not impressed with recent global communications events:

“The internet was a product of the academic and research sector. This sector quickly embraced the possibilities of cheap efficient digital communications, and enthusiastically jumped in rapidly adopting electronic mail for personal and group communications and also enthusiastically populating this new space with digital content. For a sector that was built on the concepts of collaboration and sharing knowledge the internet was the ideal solution, and many national academic and research communities took the steps to construct their own national and international networks to provide these advanced services while containing costs.”


“But the Internet and the computer industry was not stopping there. Computer mainframes became personal computers, which became laptops, which became mobile devices. The computer industry has embraced the consumer market and annual sales volumes of these products are now in the billions of units. But mass market popularity has changed the utility model. Email has been replaced by social media, and digital content is overwhelmed by video streaming.”

Just a last mile feeder


Still, one should be careful not to confuse the use of the communications network with the network itself, Geoff Huston emphasizes:


“Things have changed radically over the past decade. It used to be that the network carried the user to the content. For example, if you used Facebook you were interacting with a server in the United States. But no longer. The content platforms were unhappy with the costs, unhappy with the delays, and unhappy with the lack of control, so they started building their own distribution networks. These private content distribution networks now carry the vast bulk of traffic, and the public internet is now little more than a last mile feeder network connecting users to the replicated content that is hosted in their local data center.”


Geoff Huston is an inaugural member of the Internet Hall of Fame. In the late 1980’ies he led efforts to get Australia online, soon leading to the establishment of AARnet.


“Some thirty years ago we started with a model of the public telephone network where any connected handset could establish a connection with any other connected handset, and we built a computer network in its image - any connected computer could establish a connection with any other connected computer. This Internet no longer exists. These days clients connect to locally hosted content. The Internet as an open public global communications platform has all but disappeared.”