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What is the future for networking technologies?


With a new century, you would be wrong not to assume new technological breakthroughs in the networking industry, for when researchers at Xerox Parc in the US first introduced networking technology, not even they could have predicted how this evolved to become one of the most crucial developments in the IT environment.

It was the same when the PC was introduced to the market, everyone first assumed that these would simply be the IT Manager's desktop toy similar to that of the stress ball which gets thrown around the office. With the growth of the PC, this highlighted the problem of data not being able to be shared around the establishment and the need to attach these machines together, hence the LAN.

With the growth of the WAN, the need has arisen for more intelligent networks, whereby people want more control over the information they provide and to whom it is routed.

Companies are also moving towards using networks for not only data but to integrate with voice, so that not only are e-mails managed over networks but phone-calls also. Eventually there will be the need to bring voice and data together. An example of this is unified messaging where the idea is of routing voice calls through your IP network to different staff within the organisation.

This has created the need for a much better network service, which has perhaps been one of the biggest networking trends in the past five years. Still in early stages, the quality of service concentrates on prioritising different traffic.

Different quality of service protocols are emerging, such as the Multi-Protocol Label Switching, which provides labels in packet headers and differentiated services, this provides alternative ways to categorise traffic flow. The reservation protocol is used to place resources to one side over the network.

Pervasive computing has been in existence for around three or four years, but it is only recently that companies have started to produce technologies that can make this solution possible. This means that the network becomes ubiquitous, all the devices on it are able to communicate with each other and access is available to all services.

For example, if someone were to use a laptop connected to the internet via a mobile link, they should be able to store data on an unspecified server on the other side of the world, as long as they have the appropriate access rights.

At a corporate level, pervasive computing is being utilised in such systems as Microsoft's .net initiative, that promises to give access to software services on the Internet.

With the evolution of third generation mobile networking technologies complements the growth of local area network-based bandwidths, there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in network technology. With the rate at which both network intelligence and sheer bandwidth is developing the possibilities are endless. Come back to this article in ten years time!


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