A network that provides raw wiring from one location to another and introduces either very little or no processing to support the types of services that are running.|
George Guilder, editor of "Guilder Technology Report," called the Internet "dumb"; well-known telecom consultant David Isenberg called it "stupid." They did that to contrast the Internet with the traditional telephone network, which has been called an "intelligent network" for years.
The Internet's thousands of routers are indeed intelligent devices, but they do rote forwarding. In contrast, telephone network switches are very aware of the services being carried and help to process them.
Dumb Means at the Edge
In order to add any new type of service to the "intelligent" telephone network, switches must be reprogrammed throughout the network. In contrast, the Internet serves as an oblivious transport, taking packets in and pushing them out the other side. New services and features are added at the periphery of the network by installing new software in users' PCs and in the servers, instead of revamping the internal network.
Perhaps Too Dumb
The Internet was never designed for quality of service (QoS), which can prioritize traffic and give real-time voice and video preference over data. In order to have voice over the Internet (VoIP) that is clear enough to "hear a pin drop" and have ubiquitous videoconferencing no matter which carrier's backbone is traversed, all the routers and switches in the Internet have to be upgraded to a common QoS standard. This is a work in progress (see infranet). See IP on Everything and IP telephony.