Despite the downturn, we've witnessed explosive growth of faster broadband pipes to end users-worldwide broadband connections have grown from 13.2 million to 55.2 million in two years, according to the Dell'Oro Group. These new pipes deliver "always on" connectivity and a taste of the bandwidth required to enable the escalating use of such multimedia content as graphics, audio and video, which are helping drive data traffic.
Moreover, the buildout of Wi-Fi wireless networks is accelerating as equipment costs de-crease, standards settle and users become better educated about the technology's benefits. Some analysts are already estimating that over 90 percent of all notebooks sold next year will be Wi-Fi-enabled. In parallel, the number of wireless subscribers using new third-generation networks continues to grow. The buildout of the 3G networks will represent over 10 percent of total cellular infrastructure sales in 2003, Dell'Oro said.
Perhaps most important, data traffic is exploding past voice traffic and is expected to constitute just under 70 percent of total network traffic this year, according to IDC. By 2007, that number will swell to 95 percent, IDC projects.
This fundamental shift to packet-based traffic will spark crucial new business opportunities in coming years. The migration to packet-based networks and these new types of data services will drive demand for higher levels of quality of service. In addition, the growing use of data services as an integral element of business, protected digital content and hacker threats along with today's geopolitical environment will all accelerate the need for new security services on the network, such as access control and intrusion detection.
As traffic rates continue to climb and the type of data shipped across the network continues to move toward more complex, time-dependent forms, equipment designers will need new solutions to the data segregation, data classification, data prioritization and bandwidth aggregation issues. Designers of multiservice switching systems, high-speed routers, wireless basestations and data acquisition equipment will face some key decisions as they build their next generation of products for packet-based networks. IDT is preparing today for this coming opportunity by developing the key technologies designers will need to build the data flow management subsystems that will optimize throughput.
Predicting the bottom of an industry downturn or the key turning point in a business cycle is always a risky business. Even the most experienced have a tough time forecasting such events with a high degree of accuracy. But one thing is certain: The fundamentals are in place to drive the market tide to turn. When it does, IDT is in position to help system designers navigate through this new wave of packets by providing solutions that accelerate packet processing in the systems of tomorrow.