It's all about bandwidth – isn't it?
After spending the past two days at the recent ORION summit, that's the feeling I have: It is all about bandwidth.
It's not that there's anything wrong with that … it's just that there's so much more to networks than just bandwidth. And of course, this is especially true for so-called 'advanced networks' like ORION.
Using George Gilder's Laws of the Telecosm as a point of reference, I ranted (published version, complete original version) about this 'bandwidth fixation' and concluded:
• Infinite bandwidth is overrated
• Smart pipes rule
Compelling possibilities arise from being able to isolate and manipulate discrete wavelengths of the EM spectrum across intelligent networks.
These days, such compelling possibilities are being routinely demonstrated via ORION, CANARIE and numerous other advanced networks. CANARIE even placed this capability into the hands of mere mortals:
User Controlled Light Paths (UCLP) software allows end-users, either people or sophisticated applications, to treat network resources as software objects and provision and reconfigure lightpaths within a single domain or across multiple, independently managed, domains. Users can also join or divide lightpaths and hand off control and management of these larger or smaller private sub-networks to other users.
There's no question that substantial bandwidth is definitely required by some applications.
However, 'smart pipes', 'intelligent infrastructure', UCLP, all suggest that real-time bandwidth management – i.e., treating the network as a bona fide resource – is also compelling.