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Top 10: Networking Technology is the in thing for 2008
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You are currently in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
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Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:31 am Reply and quote this post
During the holiday season, snow isn't the only thing we analystsshovel. With that in mind, here's my look forward on networkingtechnology and related industry trends in 2008:
1. 802.11n
While several vendors including Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems, MeruNetworks, and Trapeze Networks are already shipping products, thisyet-to-be-ratified IEEE Wi-Fi standard will create a bigger buzz in 2008 than cheap New Year's Eve champagne. Why? 802.11nis the first wireless networking technology with the bandwidth andfeature set to replace today's standard wired Ethernet. While mostusers will retain their wires for now, 802.11n equipment will still besold in droves to replace existing legacy Wi-Fi equipment--especiallyat universities, hospitals, and manufacturing companies.
2. 802.1x
Yet another IEEE standard with a catchy name. Think of 802.1x as yourlaptop's name tag at the network party. No name tag, no access to theparty. Deployment of 802.1x has always been an expensive kludge, so ithas seen limited success. This will change in 2008 with more widespreadimplementation of Windows Vista and 802.1x in mobile devices. Look forthis activity to be further driven by the OpenSEA Alliance's work that seeks to do for 802.1x what Firefox did for the browser.
3. Windows Server 2008
Look for Microsoft to really turn up the volume on Windows networking. <cnet:blog id="9829360">Windows Server 2008</cnet:blog>truly advances Microsoft offerings in network activities like DNS/DHCP,IPSec, and Network Access Protection. Expect to see Microsoft create anetworking-centric "Windows light" version to compete with all of theLinux appliances sometime late in the year.
4. Identity-based networking
This has been around for awhile, but now that Cisco has introduced its Trusted Security(TrustSec) Architecture, we are bound to see and hear lots more.Basically, <cnet:blog id="9830421">TrustSec</cnet:blog>and its industry cousins marry identity, role, location, and policytogether so IT can create user-based networking rules depending uponmultiple parameters. Despite the neat sound bites, the biggestidentity-based networking activity in 2008 will simply authenticatedevices and check their health status. Hey, didn't we call this NetworkAccess Control (NAC) just a few months ago?
5. Data center 10-gigabit Ethernet switching
The Ethernet crowd (i.e. Cisco, Extreme, Hewlett-Packard, etc.) will really push 10-Gigabit Ethernetswitching for the data center, especially with the introduction of10-Gigabit over copper early in the year. Driven by the servervirtualization frenzy, large organizations will buy a load of these newswitches next year, further driving down the price per port. This willhave a ripple effect through the storage world. With all of this new10-gigabit equipment, large organizations will finally eschew Fibre Channel in favor of IP-based storage.
6. Traffic management
Look at some recent networking trends: P2P, YouTube, service-orientedarchitecture, IP telephony, etc.--every one of these can potentiallywreak havoc on network traffic at a moment's notice. This is only goingto get worse as we add more video, IP storage, and dynamic ITvirtualization to the traffic mix. Leading-edge companies understandthat legacy network management technologies don't cut it anymore. Nowit's time for the mass majority to follow by purchasing new tools thathelp them with traffic spikes, capacity planning, and applicationtuning. Good news for Arbor Networks, Mazu, and Xangati, which shouldsee big deals and/or acquisitions.
7. Network infrastructure breakdown
As large organizations embrace the latest networking gadgets, theirnetwork services infrastructure will begin to fail. Think of the dullguts of the network like IP address management (IPAM), DNS/DHCP, andRadius that are often managed using spreadsheets, scripts, or ancientNT 3.5 servers. As noted earlier, Microsoft will make a lot of noise inthis space, but expect specialists like Blue Cat, Identity Engines, andInfoblox to shine as well.
8. IPv6
We will see both push and pull in 2008. As of June 30, all federalgovernment agency backbones must be ready to transmit both IPv4 andIPv6 traffic. This in turn means that every supplier to the governmentmust also support IPv6. Vendors will want to get a return on thisR&D expense and will therefore push IPv6 hard into the privatesector. While this will produce limited results, the IPv6 buzz willreally heat up toward the end of 2008 as mobile and "smart" devicepenetration leads to a new panic about IP address shortages. Look forwidespread deployment at the twilight of the decade.
9. Fixed wireless convergence
FWC will enable your cell phone to switch among cellular, Wi-Fi, and WiMaxnetworks without missing a beat. Very cool, but this technology createsan industry "battle royale" as it pits the equipment providerproponents who have everything to gain (i.e. sell new equipment) andthe cellular providers who have everything to lose (i.e. lose valuablecellular voice plan revenue). By the end of 2008, progressive carrierswill realize that fixed wireless convergence is inevitable and begin tochange their business model accordingly. Until then, expect a lot ofvisionary hype and limited activity.
10. Open cellular networks
Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon claim that they will <cnet:blog id="9823944">open their networks</cnet:blog>soon, look for AT&T to make a similar announcement early in 2008.No, Linus Torvalds isn't providing advice for Ivan Seidenberg, CEO ofVerizon. All of these carriers simply need unbridled flexibility torespond to an avalanche of impending wireless communications andstandards, WiMax, and new handheld platforms like Google Android. Look for the cellular carriers to begin abandoning retail outlets and outsource break/fix services in late 2008 or early 2009.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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