Arnold Kling articulates a vision for the architecture of electronic communications:
The Packet Express is the network that delivers Internet packets. It consists of communication lines (including radio spectrum) and routers..It appears to me that Packet Express is going to consist mostly of the fiber-based Internet backbone and wireless relay stations.
Thingies are devices that receive digital envelopes from Packet Express and convert the messages into human-usable formats. Thingies will replace telephones (including cell phones), televisions, personal computers, stereos, car radios, and other legacy electronic devices.
The simplicity and flexibility of this architecture comes from the fact that Thingies all process the same sort of packets. Packet Express does not need to know whether it is delivering television programs or phone calls in its envelopes. The Thingies that open the envelopes can figure it out.
The ultimate realization of this architecture will mean that Packet Express is ubiquitous, and any Thingy can connect. Wherever you might be, if you have a phone-Thingy, you can make a phone call. If you have a TV-Thingy, you can watch a movie or TV program.