The beginning of a new year normally is a time to reflect; it's all the more so when the network industry is facing (along with the rest of the economy) a major financial crisis. We are of a generation that has taken network growth for granted, that has seen the Internet reshape culture and that has come to believe that "more bits" paves the road to the future. It just might be that this comfortable view is the greatest threat we face, because networking is going to change one way or the other.
Stories by Thomas Nolle
In the world of content distribution networks, A is for Akamai. What about the rest? Is B for BitGravity, or maybe BitTorrent because of the potential impact of peer-to-peer technology on CDNs? Is C for content? I don't think so. I think it's for carrier or maybe cloud -- and in either case, the "C change" is potentially a major one for the CDN world.
There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in every industry, if you define "interesting" as the kind of thing that a practitioner of the space will jump for joy at the prospect of reading.
An interesting thing happened in 1999. The unit price of a long-distance voice call to consumers, which had been falling since the early 1980s, finally crossed over the cost curve and long-distance voice became a loss leader. This eventually led to the acquisition of the long-distance giants by the regional Bells. It was certainly one of those pivotal events in telecom history, but another 1999 event might be even more important.
There has been interest in carrier Ethernet for a decade or more and -- let's be honest --more than a little hype, too. In the early days, the focus was on how Ethernet was going to displace SONET and Synchronous Digital Hierarchy as a low-level optical technology.
Let's say you're the new CEO of Yahoo. You're running an outfit that's maybe one of the oldest brands in the portal marketplace, but your company has been eclipsed in revenue and stock performance by upstart Google. You, the new CEO, are on the hook to fix the problem. What do you do?
The Internet is poised on the edge of a content explosion. For years now there has been a group of companies that grew up to help with Internet content delivery with products called (no surprises here either) content delivery networks.
Things are supposed to happen in threes, and the trio the networking space has been focusing on is the "triple play" of voice, data and video service. But a new triple has emerged, one that's potentially a greater influence on the industry -- and for some at least it's not a good influence.
The first Broadway show I saw was "Camelot," and in it Robert Goulet, as Lancelot, stood proudly on the stage and proclaimed, "C'est moi!" -- It is I! That marked the beginning of the end for Camelot. Today, an unlikely company is singing its own proud song, and maybe it will mark the end of routing's magical age.
For some, Cisco Systems recent acquisition of Procket's intellectual property seems to signal that the network giant has no strategy. What it really signals is that Cisco has too many strategies and that at least some in the company are trying to fix the problem. The question now is whether they can succeed.
Early this year, a CIO received complaints from end users at corporate headquarters about the performance of some key applications.
Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has become one of the hot new technologies - a darling of IP and ATM vendors, espoused by edge and core players alike. It even has its own forum, a sure sign of success in this marketplace. But MPLS may be at a fork in the road to dominating the future of networking, and it may have already taken the wrong turn.
There's probably no issue about the Internet that provokes as emotional a debate as the matter of "free" content or distribution of material. As recent cases involving MP3 audio have shown, the Internet can become a battleground between those who believe in free exchange of entertainment media and those whose living depends on selling that material. Now we may be headed for a similar face-off in the video space.
There's nothing like a spectacular run in the stock market to set pulses quickening, and a spectacular decline-like the recent one-to send everyone running for the antacids and tranquilizers. What's happening here? Is technology really just a hype phase in the market? Is the investment community just caught in its own excesses? No. There are two explanations for the Nasdaq plunge: greed and hype.
Regulatory trends seem to be going against the competitive local exchange carriers (CLEC) these days. Many say the CLECs depend on access to incumbent LEC (ILEC) infrastructure for their survival. If this is true, can CLECs continue to play a role in telecommunications, or will the future be a battle among the facility owners such as the regional Bell operating companies and cable companies? Is local exchange competition going to be competition among the few?