Networking: Finding Its Pulse
This week's NetWorld+Interop show is as good a time as any to take the pulse, or check for one, of the industry that is to data what the circulatory system is to the body.For many years, networking looked like a sure thing. Whatever the state of hardware and software, those assets had to be connectedthe faster, the better. So how to explain the ongoing, near-death experience of nearly all sectors of networking, from services to equipment? This weeks NetWorld+Interop show in Las Vegas is as good a time as any to take the pulse, or check for one, of the industry that is to data what the circulatory system is to the body. Its clear that the dot-com bust hit the networking industry hard. Vendors ramped up production of the last generation of equipment and services in anticipation of a buying spree, which was quite real for a time. The bursting of the bubble left those vendors with an investment that will never be recovered and a glut of networking hardware that is still depressing the market. These days, it seems, eBay is the most successful networking hardware vendor around.
Where to go from here? The networking industry is caught between existing development efforts in important, but slow-growth technologies, such as IPv6, Gigabitand 10 GigabitEthernet, and quality-of-service features on the one hand and a global sag in demand for new backbone hardware on the other.