Networks and Modern Communications

Essay by ladydiUniversity, Bachelor's January 2004

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With the emergence of the Ethernet LAN (Local Area Network) introduced in the early 1970's by Xerox, the telecommunications world has welcomed this newfound gift with open arms. Since communications is such a vital aspect of all businesses these days, proper acquaintance with this marvelous technology can greatly enhance a company's productivity and efficiency. Three major technological trends combine to create the potential for wholly new networking possibilities. These possibilities will in turn give rise to new networking practices that will guide the evolution of the network infrastructure. The first trend is associated with the digitization of the network. Increasing the system's intelligence permits increasing differentiation of network performance, of service or application choices, and ever more intimate management and control. Of these, perhaps the most momentous has been the appearance of a "flexibly separable" network management layer, embodied in the software that controls modern networks. Network control no longer required network ownership and could be shared among various participants in the telecom infrastructure: network owners and operators, network users, and third parties.

This enabled a new evolution of network practices, building upon network experimentation and re-configuration, which we characterized as a technology trajectory based upon cumulative learning. These new practices, deriving not only from the knowledge accumulated by network providers but also from the experience and expertise of network users, constitute a discontinuous change in the dynamics driving the evolution of the network infrastructure. The second trend results from the emergence of broadband transmission. Increasing bandwidth and speeds now permit transport integration and unprecedented flexibility and performance in network use as infrastructure to economic activities. Until today, networks have represented a principal technological bottleneck confronting information systems simply because they were unable to support widespread geographical extension of the sophisticated practices being developed at the local level. Replacement of...