Aggressive increases in performance demand is a departure from long-used solutions. Ultimately, the ability to provide sufficient performance to run combined voice, video and data effectively remains a basic network design goal. Replacing bus interconnects that can't keep pace, the marriage of personalization and privacy, and costare just some of the topics that will play out in 2007.
When I look at the statistics, the information you are most interested in on Network Systems DesignLine mirrors network system trends. All things Ethernet, Triple-play, security, and standards articles are items most voraciously read on the NSDL site as you struggle to implement, deploy and solve the issues of advancing each.
In the Ethernet category, we're currently in the middle of moving to a converged Ethernet network where carriers and customers share a common packet-based Ethernet. Ethernet is being used as a Layer 2 data aggregator in server clusters, is moving into backplane and interconnect switching, industrial applications, and home-based PANs. Rapidly gaining ground is higher-speed Ethernetso 100G will move even closer. Power Over Ethernet will continue to gain ground largely based on educating. Now that a PoE standard represents a foundation for the effort--the wide-spread use of Ethernet and the ease and low price tag of upgrading existing LANs to PoE will add fuel during 1007.
Base station environments that must deliver 3G mobile services, are severely constrained. There's a chicken and egg scenario that will need to be solved. On one hand, consumers won't subscribe to new services until they are readily available, while subscribers can't afford to provide bandwidth-hungry services until they are assured of sufficient subscriptions to pay for deployment. One evolving trend is the aspect of modular design that lowers cost and dramatically increases throughput. Look for additional announcements covering this area during 2007.
Network security is a major focus as more sinister targeted and focused attacks on enterprises continue. The threat is internal, external, and financial, as increasing compliance demands have a price. Increasing identify assurance, fine-grained authorization, establishing additional standards, and building a security management layer to control and monitor disparate technologies will move ahead in 2007.
Not just in security, but also throughout the network, it's difficult to make any progress unless all are on the same page. The industry is coming together in two ways--increasing partnering to reduce risk and maximize R&D resources and on the standards front. The Ethernet Alliance, IPDR, MEF, CP-TA, SA Forum, OIF and even the Nanoelectronics Standards Roadmap initiative from IEEE are gaining momentum. New groups are forming, company certification by organizations is becoming more prevalent, and involvement increasingly mandatory as companies attempt to deliver real solutions rapidly to the marketplace. This type of activity will continue to not only grow, but also blossom, during 2007.
Okay, I've been around for a while. It wasn't that long ago, however, that the top business events within the industry involved consolidation through merger and acquisition, or efforts culminating in IPOs. Today, the acquisition isn't being performed by the competition per se, or funding via the typical underwriting effort. Instead, investment groups that purchase, modify, and spit out refocused companies are establishing a new trend. This past year has seen the likes of semiconductors from Royal Philips and Freescale move to private equity control. That trend seems to be just beginning as EETimes readers guesstimate a close run on who might be nextSTMicroelectronics, Atmel, and Infineonwith STMicroelectronics judged the most likely.
Join me on the site as the New Year arrives and begins to play out. It will be an exciting ride.