The Future of Computer Networking – Inter-device Internetworking and Pro Curve Networking

Networks of the future will be worlds apart from today’s relatively mundane ones that simply carry packets from one end to the other. With the explosion of Peer-To-Peer (pc-to-pc direct data transfer), high definition video streaming and ubiquitous computing projects like Internet are looking at a scenario where even light bulbs and toasters will have an Internet Protocol (IP) address in affect making household compliances capable of accessing as well as being controlled by the internet. Why do these household appliances need to be connected to the internet or even be controlled through the internet?

For starters efficient usage of energy and centralized control, following that train of thought we are looking at a scenario where even light bulbs and toasters will have IP addresses and will be hooked onto the internet – networks as we understand them today may be overwhelmed by the load of data. This has naysayers saying how the extra data is going to clog the data pipes flooding them with data rendering them useless whereas others have grave security concerns about the usage of the data.

This said networks of the future will look different and will most probably work on different protocols. Such networks will not need full time chaperoning which is the job of many a systems administrator. These networks have been named adaptive networks; their job will be to provide a personalized experience for every user, with minimum maintenance. Adaptive networks will also seamlessly support different applications life Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video conferencing, video surveillance, wireless applications computing on demand or any other new applications that are developed and used by us. Currently, most networks have a one-size fits all philosophy when it comes to applications and when newer demands start to rise on the network, it starts showing signs of a imminent breakdown. Security is also an important aspect, and future networks will be able to detect security attacks and take steps to fight back, very much like the immune system in our body.

The scenario seems very Utopian, but already the Pro Curve Networking initiative from the networking arm of HP has a neat solution that will make the networks of the future “think” the way they are supposed to. Each port (access path) on the router or switch will have individual silicon chips that would monitor the traffic flow of the network. So one chip manages your toaster the other your computer and the third your TV. These mini-processors will have software installed on them to optimize the running of each and every device connected to them and because the software is programmable ports can easily switch from one application to the other according to demand.

Such architecture will ensure that the available capacity is optimised for all these bandwidth hungry applications. Another big advantage for these decentralised architecture is that there will be no single choke point in the network, therefore ensuring that even in the case of a disaster, some part of the network will always be up and running. Contrast that with today’s scenario where the networks are as strong as their weakest link – hubs, routers and switches case and point being a ship’s anchor gone astray disconnected most of the Middle-East and Asia.

ProVFX Visual Effects and Editing School has been written by Pranay Rupani who is a Freelance Writer