Networking 2.0: Addressability


Welcome back to the Networking 2.0 series. If you haven’t already, please check out the first part, Networking 2.0: An Introduction, where we note that, “with Networking 2.0, everything can have a unique network address, regardless of whether it is a person, a thing, or an entity. In the Atsign implementation of Networking 2.0, the network addresses are called atSigns.”

Addressability is a fundamental pillar of Networking 2.0 and the next phase of the Internet & Networking. Here are four key points: Reachability; Data Ownership and Control; Contextual Responses; Security and Privacy. Atsign is using these principles, and has created a toolkit to make it really easy for developers to implement.


Networking 2.0 aims to make anything addressable and connectable, regardless of its physical location or underlying communication technology (cellular, WiFi, LANs, WANs, etc.); in other words, anything that can run TCP/IP. This will enable new and innovative applications and services that require seamless communication between people and devices across different networks.

  • Reach your gateway located halfway across the world on a backhaul network without having to send someone to its physical location just to update it. With SSH No Ports, you can do just that.
  • Reach your NAS (Network Attached Storage) or home lab from outside of your home network.
  • Reach your corporate devices that are behind a private network and behind a firewall.

Data Ownership and Control

Networking 2.0 addresses give people more control over their data. They can choose who and what can access their data, and they can also revoke access at any time. This is important for protecting privacy and security in the age of AI, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • Wouldn’t it be nice to live ad-free? With Networking 2.0, your data is not visible to third parties, so they can’t mine it and sell it. No more annoying ads targeted to you based on your online behavior.
  • You control who sees your data, and for how long. atBuzz, a contacts app being developed on Networking 2.0 technology, allows you to customize who can see what particular information you want. you can completely disappear from their end of the application if you so choose! But, it relies on the fact that any two people, or entities, or devices are reachable and easily found.
  • There are millions of IoT devices, including security cameras, and it is difficult to find out who else may have access to your camera feed. With Networking 2.0, you do not have to rely on companies using APIs that could potentially leave your data in the clear for them to see.

Contextual Responses

  • Going back to atBuzz, you may choose to display your full contact information to a close friend, including home address, phone number, email, birthday, but for a newly-made contact at a business convention, you may only choose to display your email address. Addressability makes your personal interactions just that, personal.
  • Networking 2.0 allows for contextual responses in travel applications as well. For example, you may be out of the country, and logged into a geo-tracking app. You would be able to control how much information certain people can see. For a spouse, you may choose to show how you are at Piazza del Colosseo, 1 00184 Rome, Italy; for a colleague, you might just display, Rome, IT.

Security and Privacy

  • Addressability is part of a larger equation, one involving zero trust principles. Zero trust is the idea that all connections on the Internet are not trustworthy, so they must be checked, verified, and re-checked in order to prove that the connection is secure. 
  • The Networking 2.0 principle of privacy has every connection end-to-end encrypted right at the edge on the device. Only the sender and recipient of the data have the cryptographic keys to decrypt the data. In Atsign’s method, these would be atSigns communicating at the endpoints.
  • Your data is often in the clear when it passes through Big Tech’s centralized servers. In contrast, Networking 2.0 addresses have their own personal servers, ensuring that your data goes exactly where you intended, and is never open to prying eyes.

Networking 2.0 will revolutionize the way we communicate on the Internet. We encourage you to join the conversation in the Networking 2.0 LinkedIn group.

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