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Open Source Based WAN Equipment

The recent movement to deploy open source based products has now reached out to the WAN equipment market. In particular, there are now open source based PBXs and routers. Is this a cute fad that will soon die or will it take off and be as successful as LINUX? Speaking of LINUX, if there is a problem with LINUX researchers around the globe rush to fix it. That will not be the case with open source PBXs and routers.


So why would you think that problems with say, Asterisk would not be fixed in the same way as Linux? It looks to me like you get the same sort of energetic development comunity for these kinds of applications as you do for the rest of the open source world.

I am not saying definitively that there will not be a large, enthuastic community that supports Asterisk. I am merely questioning it. In particular, for years academics around the world have supported the development of UNIX and its offshoots. That could happen with Asterisk, but it is not guaranteed.

The problem that I have with Open Source routers is the fact that you install them on top of stock operating systems. One of the huge advantages of a Cisco or Juniper is that you don't have to be a sysadmin as well as a networking expert. The fact that I don't have to worry about hardening and maintaining an OS is key for me.

Steve and Jim,

The subject of open source in the networking community is one of many TheInfoPro is investigating in our current Networking study. We are in the process of interviewing a number Fortune 1000 and Mid-Sized Enterprise networking professionals and have heard some very emphatic answers. Almost universally the answer has been “no!” to the question of whether they see their organizations evaluating or adopting an open source router platform. We have seen little support for the idea with the most often quoted reason given as “lack of support”. There is also the feeling that the integrity of the network and everything that would traverse it is too critical to their organization to run the risk of using an open source device. Networking professionals are also questioning the lack of a compelling reason for moving to an open source router. Simply put the networking pros are not seeing a big cost savings opportunity or other business need in taking such a risk at this point. While these early results may be in line with other open source initiatives it would appear that open source routing has a long way to go to meet the expectations of the enterprise networking professionals. TheInfoPro will continue to track the progress of open source routing adoption in the future. For now it does not appear to be a very bright future.

Bill Trussell
Managing Director-Networking
108 W 39th Street, 16th Floor
New York, New York

Kirk, What you say used to be true, but has now changed. Check out Vyatta: . Completely integrated open-source solution. Simply boot a CD-ROM and you're up and running. No need to integrate or do anything other than start configuring.

Bill, the complaint of lack of support, again, used to be true but no longer is. Check out Vyatta. Commercialized open-source routing.

-- Dave Roberts
Vyatta, Inc.

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