Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Catalyst Keynote: Network and Telecom Strategies, New Rules

Disruptive IP technologies have reached critical mass and, as a result, enterprise networks are increasingly being affected by consumer/residential trends, according to Dave Passmore, Research Director at the Burton Group. Speaking at the Burton Group's Catalyst 2004 Conference in San Diego, Passmore outlined five new rules to help enterprise network managers understand and benefit from these trends.

Five New Rules

  • 1. Telephony will be assimilated into the network. For instance, voice is already being integrated into SIP-based instant messaging. IM buddy lists will become the directory, and eventually, no phone numbers will be need.

  • 2. Wireless broadband access will be everywhere -- including ubiquitous 802.11 WLANs, 2.5G/3G/4G mobile data, WiMax, Bluetooth personal-area networks, etc.. There will also be UWB, ZigBee, self-organizing meshes, software-defined radios, RFID, and other forms of wireless connectivity. One outcome of all this activity will be a devaluation of spectrum.

  • 3. IP network globalization is unstoppable, with exponential growth of broadband now occurring worldwide. China already has more DSL users than any other country with over 14 million. And because the decentralized architecture of the Internet requires no central control or authority, government efforts to restrict Internet use and content are likely to fail.

  • 4. Empowered network users are driving change. Networks used to be administered in a top-down fashion. But now, users choose and deploy their own applications, as seen in P2P file sharing, Skype, SIP-based calling and online gaming. Endpoint encryption is being routinely applied, giving more power to users.

  • 5. Separation of Content from Transport, which permits 3rd parties (such as Vonage) to host services. Yet technology permits transport providers to block or rate-limit specific types of network traffic, filter spam and viruses. This is leading to a technological "arms race" between carriers and content/service providers.

Based on these five new rules, Passmore predicts that enterprise networks will see a much wider choice of service providers for network transport, network-based applications and content.

Regarding enterprise WAN connectivity, Passmore expects that increasing numbers of businesses will ask themselves whether the public Internet is now good enough for interconnecting their sites, especially since the price per unit of Internet access bandwidth is typically 10X-100X less than Frame Relay. Because not many applications require guaranteed SLAs and since most ISP networks are now over-provisioned, he expects that Internet services substitution using encryption and VPNs will become a realistic alternative for many enterprises and network applications. For more demanding applications, he also expects there will always be a market for premium VPN services independent of the public Internet. In planning future WAN infrastructure or services, Passmore said the old advice still holds true: "don't ever bet against Ethernet or IP."http://www.burtongroup.com


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