Hualin Qian: Yeah, my part for the glob­al Internet is very lit­tle. [laughs] Only intro­duc­ing the Internet to China. We had fin­ished our first Internet con­nec­tion to the United States in 1994. That brought China to the Internet. 

Intertitle: Describe one of the break­through moments of the Internet in which you have been a key participant?

Qian: In my coun­try, I head­ed a team work­ing on the Internet. But for the world, I did­n’t do much. The only thing I did is the inter­na­tion­al­ized domain names, that’s not only ben­e­fi­cial for China but also for many oth­er coun­tries, espe­cial­ly non-English speak­ing coun­tries. That’s also good for them. We had quite a lot of research and activ­i­ties in China on that, work­ing with China, Japan, Korea, and then with oth­er peo­ple on that. 

Intertitle: Describe the state of the Internet today with a weath­er anal­o­gy and explain why.

Qian: Yeah, it’s look­ing sun­ny. I think it’s good. Up to now it’s still good. Although there are quite a lot of chal­lenges, but peo­ple have to deal with those challenges.

Intertitle: What are your great­est hopes and fears for the future of the Internet?

Qian: For the future of the Internet I think we have to solve two prob­lems. One is improve its archi­tec­ture. The sec­ond is improve the secu­ri­ty. The archi­tec­ture is not very nice for the Internet. People are work­ing on that. Many projects like in the States, GINI, a software-designed net­work, and OpenFlow. Those tech­nolo­gies are try­ing to improve the qual­i­ty of the archi­tec­ture, the topol­o­gy. Essentially it’s switch­ing or rout­ing. The old Internet is based on the rout­ing sys­tem. Switching is locally-used. But many efforts have been made to strength­en the switch­ing sys­tem, the switch­ing part of the net, to reduce the effect of the rout­ing part. For exam­ple [NPS?], SDN, those things try to use switch­ing to replace part of the rout­ing. So in my opin­ion, all the trou­ble is com­ing from the rout­ing sys­tem. Because of the rout­ing we can­not con­trol the qual­i­ty of the ser­vice. The delay and pack­et loss can­not eas­i­ly be controlled. 

And the sec­ond thing is the secu­ri­ty issue. More and more peo­ple’s dai­ly life relies on the Internet. Especially the finan­cial— They use e‑banks, they use ecom­merce, and those things. The pay­ing sys­tems are not very safe because at many many points, you can steal the infor­ma­tion from end users. Especially mobile phones be con­nect­ed to the Internet and doing pay­ments, then maybe the mes­sage can more eas­i­ly stolen by some oth­er peo­ple. Because in China, there are many forged base sta­tions. So they can col­lect the sig­nal from every mobile phone. Of course many com­put­ers may be ruined by oth­er peo­ple, con­trolled by oth­er peo­ple. That’s very dan­ger­ous. These issues should be improved in the future. 

Intertitle: What action should be tak­en to ensure the best pos­si­ble future?

Qian: Now I don’t think we have good solu­tions to the two parts I just wor­ried about—architecture, and secu­ri­ty. We don’t have good ide­al solu­tions up till now. Many peo­ple are doing research projects all over the world. But none of them are ide­al. And even when they have some solu­tion, there’s still a big obsta­cle because the deploy­ment is very dif­fi­cult. People are using the Internet every day. To have a big change to the net­work, may affect peo­ple’s dai­ly life. So that’s very dif­fi­cult to do. And of course the same thing in the secu­ri­ty issue. People can­not absolute­ly make a safe sys­tems. It can­not be done.