Stories by Johna Till Johnson

Carriers clueless on net neutrality

I've written several pieces pointing out that the issue of net neutrality is more nuanced than either proponents or opponents want you to believe. But with their characteristic cluelessness, providers have pretty much succeeded in reducing the debate right back down to a sound bite -- and positioning themselves on the wrong side.

Videoconferencing's never-ending entrance

While the U.S. feds and carriers are taking turns taking the heat for warrantless wiretapping (and a pox on both their houses, say I), I'm beginning to wonder why we ordinary Joes and Janes don't spend more time watching each other. Or more accurately, wondering when we're going to start.

Social networks and the wisdom of crowds

There's a lot of buzz lately about the concept of social networking. You've got to admit the phrase is pretty silly. First off, it's redundant: Networks, by definition, are already social -- they connect humans. Plus, what's the opposite -- "antisocial networking"? Going online to tell everyone how much you hate them?

Is it truly necessary to upgrade to IPv6?

In economics, someone who hoards resources to drive up the price is rather whimsically referred to as a troll. I was reminded of that recently when one of my colleagues suggested that perhaps the US government's interest in IPv6 is part of a plot to drive up the market price of IPv4 addresses.

Get ready for multimegabit mobility

Wireless data technologies have been coming of age for at least the past couple of decades. Remember CDPD? And it wasn't so long ago that Wi-Fi was new and exciting. Wireless data technologies seem to periodically "arrive" every decade or so -- without ever managing to have a truly significant impact on more than a core group of users.

Airing a sensible global telecom policy prescription

Every now and then, life brings you a pleasant surprise. I got one last week when a senior executive at a telecom equipment vendor made a prescription for global telecom policy that -- drum roll, please -- actually made sense.

Net neutrality? Google, go first!

You've got to admit that when it comes to public relations, Google totally rocks. The company's goofy name has become the generic term for "search the Web" -- a branding coup your average Madison Avenue marketing wizard would kill his grandmother for. And the company's motto ("Don't be evil") and ostentatious eco-friendliness successfully promote the image of a wacky company that just wants to be your best buddy.

Security services could be expensive

Would you trust a carrier with your security services? Surprisingly, the answer may well be "yes." More than half of the companies I work with say they're using managed or carrier-based security services. Typically, these are basic services such as firewall management or IDS/IPS. And pretty much nobody has fully outsourced security management; typically these "commodity-management" services operate in conjunction with in-house security.

Virtualized reality gets physical

Unless you've pulled a Rip Van Winkle under the router racks, you've probably noticed that "virtualization" is one of the biggest buzzwords around these days. Seems like everything's gone virtual: servers, storage, security, communications, the workforce (not to mention reality).

Selling IT to business

In <a href="http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=794248485&eid=-44">recent columns</a>, I've discussed the need for business to align with IT. Yes, you've got that right -- my point is that successful businesses need to ask how they can best leverage IT as a strategic asset.

Aligning business with IT: Practical steps

<a href="http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=1407711803&eid=-44">Last week</a> we talked about the need for business to align with IT. That is, it's business' job to start by asking the question, "How can we use technology to deliver products better, faster, more cheaply and more in line with our customers' needs?"

Aligning Business with IT

How many times have you heard that IT needs to be aligned with business? If there was a mantra of the past decade, surely this was it. And who can argue with the concept that IT and business need to be in alignment to ensure that IT investments pay off in the form of tangible business benefits?

Addressing the challenges in a virtual workplace

We've talked quite a bit recently about the inexorable shift toward the virtual workplace and reviewed the technical requirements for supporting one. Now it's time to look at the challenges.

MPLS explained

The key thing to remember about MPLS is that it's a technique, not a service -- so it can be used to deliver anything from IP VPNs to Metro Ethernet services, or even to provision optical services. So although carriers build MPLS backbones, the services that users buy may not be called MPLS. They could be called anything from IP VPN to Metro Ethernet -- or whatever the carriers' marketing departments dream up next.