The man who invented the Domain Name System (DNS) in 1983 thinks the Net is only in the Bronze Age of its evolution.
Dr Paul Mockapetris told BBC Online: "Ten years from now, we will look back at the Net and think how could we have been so primitive. We will wonder why it was so hard to find things."
The DNS system allows codes to be attached to information to make it easy to translate into easy-to-remember Web addresses and domains – like .com or .co.uk. The system has remained largely unchanged since its conception 21 years ago.
"Looking ahead to the next 21 years, there are much bigger steps to take in terms of access, security, and how information and people are located," says Mockapetris.
Access for all
"In the future all communication will be over the Net and we will no longer need phone numbers, just Web addresses," he predicts.
But access for all brings with it the problem of security. "Part of the challenge for the Net's next 21 years is to make sure people can be certain they are using the Net safely. Creating a model of when things are safe and not, will have to happen in cyberspace."
"We all know that walking in a dark park at night is more dangerous. The same kind of knowledge needs to be forged in cyberspace," he adds.