TABLE 2-2 Maturity, Structure, Characteristics, and Impacts of Some Networks

Sample Network

Relative Maturitya (High, Medium, Low)

Network Structureb

Technology Intensityc (High, Medium, Low)

Network Scoped

Representative Societal Impacts/Benefits

Societal Impact of Catastrophic Failuree (High, Low)

Catastrophic Failure Description

Number of Nodes

Topology Complexity

Scaling

U.S. electric power distribution grid

High

High

Low

N

Medium

National

Electric lighting, appliances, and electronics

High

Continent-spanning blackout

Air transportation network

High

Medium

Medium

N**2

High

Regional/ national/ global

Rapid global transport of people and cargo

Low

Major weather-related delays

Integrated circuits (chip level)

Medium

Medium

Medium

N**2

High

Local

Ubiquitous computing and other electronic devices

Low

Device failure or recall

Cellular network and public switched telephone network

High

High

Low

N

High

National/ global

Instantaneous mobile worldwide communications

High

Surge-caused outage during a crisis

Sexual networks (e.g., those leading to or spreading HIV or sexual diseases)

N/A

Low

Low

N

N/A

Mostly local, but with modern transportation can be regional, national, or global

Large segments of population afflicted with AIDS in underdeveloped world

High

Onset of global pandemic

Internet data-link layer (router) topology

High

Medium

High

N**2

High

Global

Enabler of Web and electronic commerce

Low

Major denial-of-service attacks

Applications layer Internet topology

Medium

Medium

Medium

2**N

High

Global

Support for group-forming networks

Low

Computer viruses, spyware, and identification theft

Bank of America financial and banking network

Medium

Medium

Low

N**2

High

National/ global

Cashless retailing and electronic currency exchanges

High

Global disruption of electronic financial transactions

Wal-Mart-like business supply chain

Low

Low

Medium

2**N

Medium

National/ global

Just-in-time supply and inventory control

Low

Stock items not in stores

Small (50,000 or less) town governments

High

Low

Medium

2**N

Medium

Local

Roads, water, sewage, zoning, police

Low (as individual governments)

Loss of local order, e.g., looting

aThe network’s position on a scale starting from first generation (at emergence, a low state) and ending with a high state of maturity, by which time the network has gone through multiple subsequent iterations.

bNetwork structure is characterized by number of nodes, topology complexity, and scaling. The number of nodes ranges between low (<1,000), medium (1,000 to 10,000,000), and high (>10,000,000). Topology complexity describes the diversity of interconnections from varied and complex to simple and uniform. Scaling means economic or social value of that network as a function of N (the number of nodes). A linear value of N means that service is aimed at individual users. N**2 is the value that results from person-to-person transactions, and 2**N, the value that results from the establishment of group affiliations (Rheingold, 2002, p. 58).

cNetwork topology that is enabled by or highly dependent on modern computer-to-computer communications technologies. The high, medium, and low ranges are determined by the approximate number of computers in the network—for example, high range indicates >106 computers in the network, medium is 106 to 103, and low is <103.

dGeographical scope of the network: global, national, regional, or local.

ePotential consequences for society at large of a failure that is extremely destructive yet highly improbable. High range means >$100 million and low means <$100 million.



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