The decades-old design of the Internet is in need of a fundamental overhaul, and Intel and Hewlett-Packard believe they can make it more adaptable and intelligent.

Intel Chief Technology Officer Pat Gelsinger said in a speech Thursday at the Intel Developer Forum that the companies want to commercialize an experimental version of the Internet that they have been working on for two years. They would retain the basic plumbing of the Internet but overlay it with an intelligent network to better handle ever-growing traffic, the demands of voice and video transfers and the threats of viruses and worms.

While this isn’t Intel’s bread and butter, the company would benefit because its computer chips would be at the heart of any solution. However, it could be years before this intelligent network is ready for commercial use.

Dubbed Planet Lab, the effort involves an alliance of Intel, HP, Google, France Telecom, NEC and AT&T as well as 150 universities and several industry consortia. To endorse its effort, Gelsinger pulled out a heavyweight: Vint Cerf, the co-creator of the Internet and an executive at MCI. Cerf described his efforts three decades ago as an attempt to unite a series of disparate networks into the single Internet. By creating a standard means for connecting the different networks together, Cerf and his colleagues were able to make the delivery of e-mail akin to mailing a postcard.

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