The web has been a tremendously successful application within the Internet ecosystem. There are many reasons for this success, but one key reason is likely a result of the use of open source technology. Specifically, the web is built on an open protocol (HTTP) running on an open source application (Apache) on an open source operating system (Linux) running on common, -off-the- shelf hardware. This ecosystem is ideal for innovation—any application developer can test and introduce changes into any of these software domains as appropriate for their specific application. The better changes get rolled into the ecosystem and become available for all downstream developers to use. This pay-it-forward ecosystem is likely a primary reason for the success of web applications.
The web and the Internet run over a network (routing) infrastructure that has clearly provided the foundation for making the web and Internet successful. However, the network ecosystem is not as open as the web ecosystem and this could be stifling innovation in the network space. This paper explores how we can make the network ecosystem more open and provides insights into the value this openness provides to both the network operator and the application developer.