The Internet could soon be made obsolete by the grid. The lightning-fast replacement will be capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds. At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, the grid will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from
Britain to in less than two seconds. The power of the grid will become apparent this summer after what scientists at Cern have termed their red button day. Japan
The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the web, could also provide the kind of power needed to transmit holographic images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players, and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call. It has been used to help design new drugs against malaria, which kills 1m people each year. Cern, based near
Ironically this meant that scientists at Cern where Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet in 1989 — would no longer be able to use his creation for fear of causing a global collapse. This is because the Internet has evolved by linking together a hotchpotch of cables and routing equipment, much of which was originally designed for telephone calls and which lacks the capacity for high-speed data transmission. By contrast, the grid has been built with dedicated fibre optic cables and modern routing centres, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data.