Tomorrow’s Networks

Robert Cringely writes:

what network technology will be dominant, say, five to seven years from now? I can say with some assurance that it will be IP-based and that it will have the capability to appear to legacy devices just like the analog network being replaced. But on the network level, will it be DSL, digital cable, WiMax, Broadband-over Power Line (BPL), Ultra-Wide Band (UWB), WiFi, or something behind Door Number Three? On the application level will it be unicast, multicast, edge-caching, peer-to-peer, or yet something else from behind Door Number Three? The answers are “yes” and “yes,” but the details vary depending on who is your ISP.

As a total solution, then, both the cable company and the phone company don’t make it. Cable doesn’t have the market penetration and telephone broadband doesn’t have the bandwidth. Each needs something else, and that’s where supplemental technologies take over. For cable that probably means some form of wireless to allow relatively cheap connections to the 33 percent of homes who don’t have cable and are unlikely to buy it under any circumstances. Yes, it would be easier to just connect the darned cable, but enough of the market is showing reluctance to do that that it is time for the cable companies to get a clue and offer some alternative path, which could be WiMax or maybe BPL.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.