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Ascend Keynote: Don't Bet on Converged Networks

LAS VEGAS – Sprint and Cisco Systems Inc. came to Networld + Interop describing their solutions for a converged network. Jeanette Symons, CTO of Ascend Communications Inc. (www.ascend.com), says while the dream sure sounds good, don’t bet your company's IT infrastructure on it, at least not for another five to six years.

"How is it the carriers today can provide an IP backbone today?" asked Symons during here keynote address. "The first answer is they provide a ton of bandwidth. I can offer you guaranteed IP service, as long as I give you 6 times the bandwidth. That’s not great but it helps some carriers and it gets them underway."

Symons’ point was that the solutions for converged IP are unrealistic for most companies. The providers are supplying IP voice, but it’s either through lots and lots of bandwidth or through layer 2 switching that gets converted to another protocol.

In her lively presentation, Symons explained that a lot of the characteristics that the market sees in the ATM today are going to creep into IP, but that we can’t have a converged network yet, not with what’s presently available on the market. In fact, she couldn’t really give the specifics because she says those innovations just aren’t there yet.

New technology will be needed such as faster switching. "It will be new applications that are developed," says Symons. "What we’re going to see is a new human metaphor for what we do on the network." – Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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