The future of the Internet coreRoese-45X64.jpg
Posted by John Roese

In the last few weeks there has been a large volume of dialog around which technology should define the "core packet transport" of the Internet. Mostly that dialog has been focused on the ongoing debate between the MPLS technology camp and the Carrier Ethernet camp. If you are not familiar with this debate I have included (at the end of this post) some links from various trade and other web sites that show the level of passion and, in some cases, hostility in this dialog. The reason I point this out is that one easy way to determine the significance of a technical inflection is the level of defensiveness that emerges when a technology is challenged by a viable alternative. I remember when the Token ring camp (which I was involved in) determined that "this Ethernet thing" was not robust, predictable or mainstream enough to be relevant. I also remember when the Novell IPX and DECnet camps argued that Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was also not sufficiently mature to be used in the corporate world. Obviously they were both wrong and the world moved forward. Today, most new IT people don't even know what Token ring or IPX or DECnet are (not to mention APPN, LAT, Banyan Vines, AppleTalk, and others). What is clear is that the technology that ultimately won each debate and became the common model was the technology that offered the lowest cost, the simplest operating model and the greatest scalability and flexibility to move forward. The industry has always gravitated to technology with those benefits. Once again the industry is in this debate. We are debating if the future is about the multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) path or if it will ultimately evolve to a model that is Carrier Ethernet over a high-performance optical layer. Click here to read more of John's blog.

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