Today's devices need a new network

Matt Kolon/Juniper Networks
22 Sep 2010

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you will know that the iPad and iPhone 4 – the latest devices to revolutionize the mobile experience – are being lapped up by the public. Apple reported sales of two million iPad in the 60 days and if predictions are right, millions more people will experience an entirely new way to work, share, communicate and access information.

With the focus being on the new devices, the fact that they place even more stress on the already hard-pressed network has been largely overlooked. This explosion of connected devices has ignited a bandwidth battle that will only get worse.

At Juniper, we are deeply concerned. The network as it is constructed simply can’t handle the demands being placed on it. While people continue to talk about the hottest new device or the budding economy around developing new apps for those devices, it’s well worth examining the back-end infrastructure they operate on.

Even though the world has seen unprecedented innovation in computing, applications and devices over the last five years, the basic approach to the network supporting this innovation has gone unchanged. The old method of adding new hardware to make incremental processing capacity is a band-aid approach and one that won’t solve the problems of the coming decade.

Hardware alone cannot scale to meet the demand created by new devices and computing methods. It creates additional complexity, locks customers into a repressive upgrade path that benefits technology vendors only and merely delays meeting networking challenges head-on until another day.

This lack of innovation has also hurt the consumer experience and is negatively impacting the economics for service providers and enterprises. Customers expect instant access to data, no matter where they are. This demand for speed – and all-you-can-eat data plans many providers use to acquire customers – will bring the network to a grinding halt.

Things need to change quickly. We are advocating a different approach to networking in which openness and innovation are the enablers that will help service providers meet the demands of their customers while also improving the economics of running the network.

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