Visions of 2020

Mashood Ahmad, regional managing director for the Middle East at infrastructure specialist Ciena, explains his vision for the network of tomorrow.

Tags: Ciena CorporationEthernetFibre opticUnited Arab Emirates
  • E-Mail
Visions of 2020
By  Mashood Ahmad Published  November 25, 2010

Ten years ago, speculation on the future of the Internet led to a bubble in the telecom industry as the world’s carriers overbuilt networks on the promise of a deluge of traffic that never seemed to materialise. Or did it? Today, YouTube alone uses more bandwidth than the entire Internet did in 2000.

In fact, many of the promises of the Internet from 2000 have now been realised or exceeded in today’s networks. Online banking, mobile video and a complete cultural shift toward online social interaction are just a few examples of how our daily lives have changed because of today’s Internet.

So what will the next ten years bring to our online world, and how will networks and the Internet have to evolve to satisfy the now seemingly insatiable demand for instant access to everything from anywhere? Ciena’s technology team is available to discuss what it believes must occur within networks to meet the needs of our increasingly bandwidth-hungry world, and provide examples of how different our lives will become as a result.

Ciena’s 2020 vision includes:

• The need for network evolution – In order to support the demand for today’s bandwidth-hungry applications such as YouTube, iPlayer and social media sites, networks built a decade ago are being upgraded to carry ten times more traffic than they were originally designed for and, more appropriately, for data-centric versus voice-centric applications. But it’s quite possible that by the second half of this decade we could outgrow even these networks and be faced with the prospect of needing a more expansive redesign of the global network infrastructure. That traffic demand will speed up with the transition to a massively converged future of optical Ethernet infrastructure.

• New technologies and the omnipresent convergence – technologies like true 3DTV, 3D cameras, augmented reality, voice recognition and non-invasive brain/computer interfaces (perhaps led by the rapidly-evolving video games industry) will become commonplace and will converge to give birth to applications that are completely unfathomable today. The intelligent network will be at the heart of these kinds of emerging innovations.

• Social repercussions – Business travel will be restricted in lieu of more cost-effective solutions like HD/3D video conferencing – as those technologies become more viable. And, the importance of the internet will grow in developing nations as low-cost access becomes a reality for all citizens, stimulating emerging developing economies.

• The invisible web: the rise of the machines – the invisible web of machine-to-machine communications will have become pervasive as every day appliances and household items will be web-enabled to help keep our environment healthy and functional. While these devices will individually generate much less network traffic than an average person, the excessively large number of devices on the network and their need to constantly interact will create a different set of challenges to the network than we see today. As part of this trend, bandwidth between large data centres will also grow dramatically, justifying dedicated optical networks for internal data movement.

• Micro healthcare: the never-ending doctor visit – imagine going to your family doctor for a check-up every evening before bed. Daily tests of your heart, blood pressure and other vital signs give your doctor the ultimate early warning system for possible health risks. The rise of in-home health monitoring systems will not only make daily check-ups the norm, but telemedicine will allow remote examination and diagnosis to bring the doctor straight to the patient. With remote monitoring market already poised for a dynamic global growth in the coming years, by 2020 the impact it will have on the underlying networks is expected to be immense.

• The extinction of the hard drive – the network will act as a universal resource that is leveraged for the optimal delivery of applications, services and information – regardless of location. With the advent of massive mobile bandwidth, technologies like cloud computing will allow people to house all their information, applications and contacts on the web instead of a private hard drive. This fundamental change in how information is stored will require more intelligent networks that can recognise your location and network device to determine how best to deliver information to you.

• A world of eLearning – schools around the world will have no lockers, and children won’t need backpacks. That’s because in 10 years the traditional textbooks we know today will be a thing of the past. Every child in class will have a network terminal, and all class curricula will be online. Black and white text will be replaced by multimedia, video and interactive education. Distance learning, already a growing trend today, will evolve from a one-way video conference into virtual classrooms where interaction and participation are enhanced by the network’s ability to render real-time three dimensional virtual worlds. In ten years, the net (which has been a ragtag collection of storage, computing, communication, and users since its inception) will truly be high performance in speed, power, and response time, and will be based on new network architectures that ride the optical Ethernet wave.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code