You may have heard of this quaint site that lets users create and share videos with one another. I think it is called “YouTube”. OK, if you haven’t heard of YouTube, you are new to the planet or something. YouTube is just one example of the recent explosion of IP video on the Internet though. Movie studios and television networks are expanding their online presence and the result is an ever-growing library of movies and TV shows available to be watched as IP video as well. Combine that with initiatives such as IP video surveillance, and you have the makings of a hot new trend. Cisco has made some recent acquisitions in the area of IP video that appear to be a maneuver to get ahead of the competition and try to corner the IP video market. Check out Is Cisco Becoming the IP Video Giant? for more about this story.
When you’re an Internet juggernaut like Google, you can’t let simple things like the fact that a technology hasn’t been invented get in your way. Google has to transport a lot of data from Point A to Point B within their data center very quickly in order to work all of the magic they do that keeps the users coming back. The mortal world of networking has 1Gbps Ethernet networks, but that is the max for now. IEEE is working on developing both 40Gbps and 100Gbps standards, but it could be years before the standards are ratified and actual, functioning equipment hits the streets. Iconic organizations like Google can’t be sitting around, twiddling their thumbs waiting for standards to be ratified. The rumor is that their is evidence to suggest that Google has developed their own 10Gbps switches in-house for their data centers. Check out this Networkworld.com article for more about the story.
Do you remember FTP (File Transfer Protocol)? It used to be one of the more common methods of transferring files and data. However, as email became the communication method of choice, file attachments have more or less replaced FTP for transmitting data. Normal FTP also posed some technical and security concerns for many organizations.
Email has its down sides as well though. For one thing, it can take a LONG time to send an email with a 100Mb file attachment, and another LONG time to be the recipient trying to download Continued »
Voice over IP, or VoIP, communication is still relatively new. Being a bleeding edge technology has its pros and cons when it comes to security. On the down side, developers are in such a hurry to be the first to market, and they want to maximize performance, so security is not a priority. On the up side, attackers are often slower to jump on the bandwagon and adopt bleeding edge technologies. But, as the technology catches on and gains critical mass, it becomes a target Continued »
UCC. Get used to it. You will see the term a lot. It stands for Unified Communication and Collaboration. In a nutshell, it represents combining and merging virtually all forms of communication to enable real-time communication and collaboration. Currently, a manager who has a question while reviewing an employee’s expense report most likely has to leave the expense report tool to look up the employee’s contact information, then dial the number on a phone to call the employee. With UCC, this functionality is streamlined and simplified. With a simple click from within the expense report tool, the employee is automatically dialed, perhaps using VoIP from the manager’s computer so that no additional device is necessary. This is just one simple example. A recent blog post at Cisco discusses the concept in greater detail: The Promise of Collaboration.
If you have gone through the exercise of architecting the power needs for your data center, or doing the math to determine how much power your backup generator needs to produce in the event of a data center power outage, then you know just how much juice it takes to keep the lights on in that room. The fact that you have to run air cooling units to dissipate the heat being generated from the network equipment tells you there is some power in there. Whether you are interested in shaving some dollars off of the bottom line to make sure there is more money in your compensation pool, or you are interested in saving and preserving our environment by not using electricity needlessly, there are steps you can take to reduce or minimize the amount of power being consumed in your data center. Gary Audin, President of consulting firm Delphi, Inc., was recently interviewed on SearchNetworking.com and provides some insight into the issues of power consumption and how to reduce the IT department’s electric bill.
Researchers at UCLA are working on developing a concept to use vehicles as nodes in a sort of fluid mobile mesh of wireless nodes connected in a mobile adhoc, or peer-to-peer network allowing vehicles to communicate with each other and access the Internet. Some of the benefits would be the ability for vehicles to communicate with each other in real time to provide relevant safety and logistical information such as weather conditions or traffic jams. The concept faces many challenges not found in static, land-based wireless networks such as the need to be able to determine the signal strength, speed, and direction of each node in order to select the best connection path. The UCLA Newsroom web site has more details in an article titled Taking It to the Streets: UCLA Scientists Seek to Turn Cars Into a Mobile Communications Network.
WiMax, based on the 802.16 standard, claims a transmission range 100 times greater than standard 802.11 WiFi networks. Because WiMax devices will be able to connect over a much larger area than standard wireless networks allow, WiMax offers more potential for developing large-scale wireless networks that cover entire cities or counties. Cisco is jumping into the WiMax fray through the acquisition of Navini Networks, Inc. According to a report on Computerworld.com, “Cisco said it is particularly interested in Navini’s expertise with “smart beamforming” technologies used with multiple-input, multiple output antenna arrays, which in Wi-Fi systems allow base stations to handle much higher data throughput.”
It has been one of those epic technology battles: VHS v. Betamax, Windows v. Mac, BlueRay v. HD DVD, WiMax v. 3G, etc. Well, VHS definitely beat Betamax. The Windows v. Mac battle is debatable with near religious zealotry on either side. The Blueray v. HD DVD battle may be decided this holiday season. But, apparently the WiMax v. 3G battle has been decided by converging them into the same standard, making them both winners. Mobile phone service providers around the globe have battled between the two wireless technologies as mobile phones and wireless networking have converged. Read this ZDNet article for more details: WiMax Joins 3G Family.
The network is the lifeblood of the organization. Email, VoIP communications, files, and other data zip back and forth throughout the network infrastructure. Of course, over time equipment gets worn out or becomes obsolete and changes have to be made to the network. If you were dealing with your own lifeblood- replacing your heart or rerouting some damaged arteries- you can bet that you would want to have an extensive plan for how to execute the change, as well as some idea of how to abort the mission or fix things if the operation doesn’t go according to plan. You need to put the same diligence into planning a change to the corporate lifeblood. This article from SearchNetworking addresses the considerations you should take into account before embarking on a change to the network infrastructure, as well as how to test to ensure everything is operational, and how to develop a backout plan should anything go wrong.