January 6, 2010

Standards: Opening the Door to Borderless Networks

Networks and related network standards have come a very long way over the last few decades. Could you imagine a world without Ethernet? Or the Internet? Or wireless? Could you imagine the not-so-distant past in which your work location, user device, communications path, destination computer, and application/information access were defined by the network and not by you? In the present, imagine not being able to collaborate across locations or across company boundaries because of mismatched networks. Flash forward and imagine not being able to take advantage of developing cloud computing services because of connection and exchange barriers between your infrastructure and the cloud--any cloud. Hard to imagine, given the connected world within which we all work, live, play, and learn.

We owe all this accepted--even assumed--ever-ready communications to the development, definition, adoption, certification, and deployment of standards-based networking technology.

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1 Comment

Over my more than twenty-five years in the industry, the topic of standards (and specifications) has been one of the most fascinating. On the one hand, standards are absolutely necessary for interoperability of equipment from various manufacturers and for the smooth hand-off of information between service providers. At the same time, the idea of standards (that makes all equipment the same) and innovation (the proverbial “better mousetrap”) are diametrically opposed.

In fact, this brings up the fundamental question of what makes a “standard” a “standard”?

This paper does an excellent job of setting the stage for a discussion by presenting Cisco’s perspective on the standards process and their contribution to this process. In particular, it enumerates and explains several important standards that you should be following most closely.

Consequently, I strongly encourage you both to download the paper and to add your thoughts on the standards-making process.

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