Sir Timothy Berners-Lee on how Internet works


At a hearing before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said some good words on for example Separation of Layers.

C. Separation of Layers When, seventeen years ago, I designed the Web, I did not have to ask anyone’s permission. The Web, as a new application, rolled out over the existing Internet without any changes to the Internet itself. This is the genius of the design of the Internet, for which I take no credit. Applying the age old wisdom of design with interchangeable parts and separation of concerns, each component of the Internet and the applications that run on top of it are able develop and improve independently. This separation of layers allows simultaneous but autonomous innovation to occur at many levels all at once. One team of engineers can concentrate on developing the best possible wireless data service, while another can learn how to squeeze more and more bits through fiber optic cable. At the same time, application developers such as myself can develop new protocols and services such as voice over IP, instant messaging, and peer-to-peer networks. Because of the open nature of the Internet’s design, all of these continue to work well together even as each one is improving itself.