For a long time, the evolution of the LAN and the evolution of the user's service relationship with carriers and WAN technology have developed almost independently. This may change soon, because interest in IP virtual private networks (VPN) and the Internet, coupled with equipment vendor desire to increase revenue, are threatening to blur the boundary between LANs and WANs forever.
Stories by Thomas Nolle
The evolution of the LAN and the evolution of the user's service relationship with carriers and WAN technology have traditionally developed almost independently but that may soon change.
If you watch TV these days, you can't miss commercials for wireless Internet service. Some content providers are even designing pages for the microdisplay limitations of personal communications services (PCS) phones. But the real utility of Web surfing on a display the size of a postage stamp has yet to be proved. Could wireless Web be doomed to the fate of previous portable data technologies such as Cellular Digital Packet Data? Maybe not.
Federal regulators have paved the way for the incumbent local exchange carriers to provide what the telecom act calls "advanced services," meaning high-speed digital access. The scope of the advanced-services infrastructure is enormous, encompassing the entire regional Bell operating company network. The impact on users could be enormous as well.
If you've read anything about the evolution of the Internet, you know that XML is the successor to HTML as the lingua franca of the Web. You know Microsoft supports XML in Internet Explorer 5.0. You may even know that XML can be used to provide data portability among applications.
It's rare that vendors, experts and the press concur on something, but they all agree that dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) is the way of the future. If it is, though, a lot of other so-called revolutionary technologies are going to fall flat on their faces.
Last month, Qwest joined a distinguished list of service providers that have tried to introduce some form of usage-based pricing for data services. Pundits immediately pointed out that network managers have resisted any shift away from traditional fixed pricing.
The America Online/Netscape Communications deal proves that we've missed some key truths in the way we've looked at the Internet. It also tells us that we'll be looking at a very different kind of Internet in the future.
Carriers make over $200 billion annually worldwide on voice communications. Despite claims that data traffic is exceeding voice traffic, voice revenue is what's driving the carrier market. Naturally, the data vendors want a piece, so there's a popular trend to link voice with the Internet.
Australian software developer Axiom is heading off-shore following the injection of much-needed funds from a local venture capital organisation.
Although most users don't realise it, there are two views of virtual private network (VPN) quality of service (QoS) today.
Networking used to be a really interesting game. Hundreds of new companies whose names were filled with the letters X and Z offered all kinds of exciting technology. Level 2 switching gave way to Level 3, then 4, and soon we'll be up to Level 8.
It's hard to look around the network marketplace in 1998 and not see what appears to be an IP revolution. People who didn't know what networking was five years ago have their own Web sites today, and some experts are forecasting a future in which Internet connectivity is as ubiquitous as telephony. Maybe that will be so, but we've got a long way to go. US public carrier revenue is nearly $US200 billion, and less than $30 billion of the windfall can be attributed in any way to data services.