When does the Internet "Disappear"

Truly ubiquitous technologies and networks are invisible. Think of electricity in a developed country, compared to electricity availability in a developing country. Think of wastewater systems, drinking water systems or road networks and refueling stations.

The point is that when a technology or network truly becomes ubiquitous, it is simply taken for granted, and is not something any human being needs to think about before doing anything that assumes the existence of the infrastructure.

Wi-Fi once was anything but ubiquitous. Today it is approaching, but is not at, the ubiquitous stage, as most people, when out and about, still cannot be sure they have such access, where they presently are.

So consider the statement that “the internet will disappear,” as Eric Schmidt, Google chairman, recently said at the World Economic Forum, speaking about the impact of the Internet of Things.

“There will be so many IP addresses; so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” Schmidt argued. “It will be part of your presence all the time.”

That is a functional example of true ubiquity. Between likely fifth generation mobile network capabilities (seamless device access to all available networks), increasing Wi-Fi density, small cells, broad interconnection, roaming and authentication agreements and apps, increased ability to use spectrum effectively, business models for sensing functions and Moore’s Law, the IoT and untethered access is going to be much closer to such ubiquity, in many markets and regions.

Ubiquity and "invisibility" are directly related. Indeed, ubiquity "causes" invisibility. The triumph of the Internet will be that it is taken for granted.
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