Now read this ... Steve Deering gave a brilliant talk at the 51st IETF meeting called Watching the Waist of the Protocol Hourglass . (PDF) Fundamentally it's about end-to-end networking, which relies upon a very simple, ubiquitous protocol to run the internet. A protocol that's called (believe it or not) the Internet Protocol. IP is very important. Then, when you're done reading the incredible slides, go over to this page and watch the video! 22 minutes, Real , MPEG-1 .