John RoeseIssue:EMEA 2007
Article no.:11
Topic:Pervasive, personal broadband
Author:John Roese
Title:CTO
Organisation:Nortel
PDF size:188KB

About author

John Roese is Nortelís CTO. As CTO, Mr Roese is responsible for leading the companyís overall R&D strategy and execution and for directing future research across all product portfolios. Prior to joining Nortel, Mr Roese was Vice President and CTO for networking technologies at Broadcom Corporation, a semiconductor company. Mr Roese had previously served as CTO at Enterasys Networks and as the CTO of Cabletron Systems. Mr Roese is actively involved in the IEEE and IETF, as well as other standards bodies, co-authoring a number of IEEE standards and related documents. In 1998, Mr Roese published ìSwitched LANs: Implementation, Operation, Maintenanceî (McGraw Hill). He is the named inventor on 16 granted and pending patents in areas of policy-based networking, location-based networking, routing, switching and network management. Mr Roese holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of New Hampshire.

 

Article abstract

Personal broadband for quick access to any application, at any location, via any fixed or wireless network will be available much more quickly than most people expect. Personal broadband requires; hyperconnectivity, with everyone connected through many devices; communications enabled applications, through network-aware applications supported by IMS and Services Oriented Architecture; and, ëtrueí, wholly seamless broadband. Personal broadband will also require greatly expanded and reinforced networks, applications that ëliveí in the network, not in the computer, and a new generation of devices.

 

Full Article

The communications industry is entering a new era of unprecedented capabilities that promises a rate of technological innovation far surpassing any other era in recent history. The catalyst for this new era is increasing demand for high-bandwidth, ëpersonal broadbandí for super-fast access to any application from any device and any location. Three emerging mega trends are driving innovation for this era, requiring us to re-think how communications technology is developed and what technical challenges need to be overcome to deliver personal, pervasive broadband services unlike anything we have ever experienced. These trends are: Hyperconnectivity – evolution from being fully connected (meaning everybody is on the network), to being hyper-connected (meaning the range of devices and entities on the network far outpaces the number of people consuming the services offered by those devices). Communications-enabled applications – reinvention of services and applications to support new levels of network-aware intelligence, and an intuitive interaction experience through advanced technology frameworks such as IMS and Services Oriented Architecture, SOA. True broadband – the communications experience is so seamless that users no longer have to consider which technology – wireline or wireless – is making the connection. They simply communicate, anywhere, anytime from whichever device is most convenient. Most importantly, the broadband experience becomes so economical that the range of uses exceeds any experience of the past. The first mega trend will move us from being a fully connected society with everyone on the network to a hyper-connected one. Today, we are connecting millions or billions of IP-enabled devices – BlackBerrys, cell phones, laptops, IP-enabled smart buildings, gaming systems, sensor networks – and the list is growing. Everything that can be connected will be connected. In fact, machine-oriented traffic is expected to surpass people-oriented traffic in three to five years. This event will be as significant and as industry altering as when data traffic surpassed voice traffic on networks in 2001. Imagine if every iPod was suddenly broadband wireless-connected. The market for mobile devices could double. Imagine if every chronically ill patient could cost-effectively receive medical monitoring at home through sensors that continually feed vital signs into a broadband network, alerting emergency personnel if a health condition suddenly deteriorates. It is estimated that there might be as many as five billion devices or entities that could potentially be connected to a next-generation mobile network by 2010. In terms of hyperconnectivity, weíve seen the number of devices connected to the network grow much more rapidly than the number of people over the past several years, and there is no end in sight. A large enterprise today might have ten thousand employees connected to the network as well as some 20,000 to 40,000 devices – an early indication of a hyperconnected environment. Microsoftís recently announced Zune MP-3 player is another example of a different sort of connectivity. Itís different from other digital players because itís equipped for wireless communications, allowing downloads on the go, or the immediate sharing of music with others. Although a rudimentary offering, in that it only connects to peers in close proximity, it is an indication of more to come and another example of how applications and devices that are now separate from the network are being re-invented to become an integral part of it. The second mega trend – building communications capabilities into all applications and services – will require equipment vendors to re-invent many of the technologies and networking models that we now take for granted. These innovative approaches will escalate the evolution to include the integration of IT applications and communications capabilities in a way that is unprecedented in the history of communications. Simple things such as authentication and security, for example, will have to be re-invented to ensure each device accessing the network on your behalf really belongs to you and is secure from hackers. Today, we are already in the process of changing the very framework for how we build and deliver applications. In the past, networks were largely single-purpose – built and deployed to deliver a specific service such as voice, data or mobility – and the applications were built into the products themselves. Today, all service providers are ëconvergingí their independent networks onto single next-generation IP networks that allow applications to be decoupled from the underlying network. What is emerging is a new focus on middleware – a common set of distributed and modular functions called Web Services – that link the communications capabilities of the network to applications so they can be mixed and matched to quickly create interconnections among all related services. SOA is the key to this sort of convergence. SOA – driven by a number of SOA framework providers, including Microsoft (with .NET), IBM (with WebSphere) and others – provides a framework for defining and delivering modular and distributed applications. Although many companies such as Microsoft and IBM contribute functions to that middleware, much of the real value will come from the telecom industry. Mapping services like Google maps or MapQuest provide a very simple example of how web applications and network intelligence work together in a hyper-connected environment. Right now, this sort of application can show you a map of any location in the world on request, but they are only beginning to develop the intelligence needed to use network resources to track that location in real-time to your current location. When those mapping applications are able to interact with the network to determine your location – which the network already does for information going to your cell phone or PDA – and interconnect with GPS tracking, youíll get real-time directions to where you want to go, wherever you are in the world. Taken further, imagine if these applications not only knew where you were but also knew what was around you, who else was connected near you and accessible to you. Eventually, these applications might provide you with a customized experience based upon your past communications behaviour and preferences. This robust experience is a huge enabler of new models of communications but the technological development required to achieve this – by addressing privacy, integrity and reliability – is significant. Applications – everything from email, to web browsing, to basic business productivity – will be re-invented over the next ten years as communications and networking intelligence is built into applications, and the networks begin to truly ëunderstandí the applications used over them. Fundamental to meeting the powerful bandwidth demands required to achieve hyperconnectivity and communications-enabled applications is the third mega trend – boosting all networks to true broadband capabilities. True broadband will be achieved when the usersí awareness of the underlying technology disappears from the communications experience. The leap in convenience will be far greater even than when we evolved from the slow, monotony of dial-up connections to the instant, always-on access of Internet everywhere. Granted, we already have the speed and bandwidth on wireline infrastructures for super-fast web surfing and mobile video, but when you look for that exact same experience on your BlackBerry on a cellular network, it doesnít work quite the same way. You have a slow, degraded experience – not because BlackBerry is an inferior device to your wireline computer but because todayís wireless broadband system was not designed for the high bandwidth required for a truly mobile broadband experience. Communications equipment vendors have an exciting opportunity to develop the technologies to make personal broadband pervasive around the world, but it will require focus on three areas: the access network; the network core; and, the convergence of fixed and mobile communications to enable seamless hand-off between all networks and all devices. To increase the capabilities of the access network, new 4G technologies are needed quickly because current 3G systems were optimized for voice and rudimentary data, not the huge bandwidth demands of mobile video and other more advanced applications such as IPTV. The shift to 4G through next-generation technologies such as WiMAX and LTE is an opportunity for the communications industry to move quickly to meet subscriber demand with high-quality broadband that facilitates hyperconnectivity at affordable cost. These access networks also need more support from the network core. The bandwidth glut that resulted from the excess core build-out at the start of the decade is coming to an end, primarily as a result of the increase in use of video by business and such consumer successes as YouTube. Every day, YouTube alone handles hundreds of millions of video clip download requests. According to the Yankee Group, overall Internet video use is growing at a rate of 20 per cent every five months. Investment in new optical technologies and simplified Ethernet packet processing will be needed to build up the coreís capacity and operational simplicity. The last piece needed for the ëtrueí broadband experience is seamless mobility that eliminates the boundaries between the fixed and mobile worlds by providing seamless hand-off among networks and devices. For all of us in the technology community around the world, the far-reaching possibilities of this new hyperconnected era represent a major inflection point in our industry.