Writes David Isenberg (IEEE Spectrum) on the move of network intelligence to the edges rather than being centralised:
The Internet, the world’s overarching end-to-end network, is now the connectivity medium of communications. Yet telephone company networks are still centralized networks designed for a single application, voice. Phone companies still make more money from voice than from other network traffic, even though the volume of data traffic now exceeds voice. Furthermore, Internet voice is getting better and betterits quality can, in fact, far exceed the “toll quality” voice of plain old telephone service.
In addition, smart end devices can set up and manage telephone calls far better than a centralized network. (Why dial a number when you can double-click on it?) In fact, when voice is implemented in end devices, the ability to mix it into other kinds of interactionsonline game play, collaboration, mutual Web surfing, and many more yet to be discoveredthe idea of a “call” as a special, discrete event could well disappear.
The Internet stands on the brink of making the entire functionality of the telephone company obsolete. But that’s not allwith access improvements within the grasp of today’s technology, the Internet can do video entertainment better than broadcast, cable, or satellite television can. The Internet stands on the brink of subsuming the value of all existing special-purpose networks.