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National LambdaRail: the Advanced Optical Network

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

It began as a way to link academic and research institutions throughout the United States, so that they could more easily communicate and collaborate on projects. In the beginning, it was limited to a small number of entities, all of whom thrived on the cutting edge of networking technology.

If that sounds like the early days of the Internet, it is. But it’s also an equally apt description of National LambdaRail (NLR), a 12,000-mile, $70 million optical network established in 2003. It uses 10-gigabit (Gb) transponders (with 40Gb and 100Gb in the roadmap) that allows bandwidth on demand for its academic and research members, now numbering more than 280.

The name comes from the term lambda networking, which uses multiple optical wavelengths to provide independent communications channels along a strand of fiber optic cable.

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Visualizing Global Mobile Data Traffic Growth

Networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile IP networking trends are being driven largely by a combination of video, social networking and advanced online collaboration applications — when described together, it’s called “visual networking.”

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the company’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. Earlier this month, we announced the latest report, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2010-2015. The following is a thought-provoking summary of the key findings — see how we visualize the future of the Mobile Internet.

Please feel free to include this Cisco VNI animation video in your own blog posts.

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Egypt: an ICT Economic Impact Analysis

The way a nation’s people collectively participate in the Global Networked Economy may seem like a complex topic that’s only relevant to the few academics and industry analysts that study these emerging trends.

However, recent events in Egypt offer insight about the close relationship between the cause and effect of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy decisions,  and the likely resulting socioeconomic impact on the whole population.

In my prior dialogue with U.S. economic development practitioners, sometimes they would raise concerns about being unable to quantify the tangible benefits of telecommunications network infrastructure assets. Granted, it can be  a challenge.

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Broadband Applications: Something for Everyone

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

When Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea for Web browsers, he really only wanted an easier way to access information on the Internet. He wasn’t planning on rewriting – and more important, simplifying — the rules by which information is exchanged and business is transacted.

Now apply that same concept to broadband Internet access.

An increasing number of countries already have national broadband plans, including Australia, Sweden, Morocco, Malaysia, and the United States. These networks are being deployed because, as we discussed in the Economic Incentive for Telecom Infrastructure Investment, they bring myriad advantages to their countries — and the citizens that apply them in everyday activities.

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Economic Innovation within Established Markets

If you’ve been following my commentary about the role of telecom infrastructure investment in new master plan cities, such as Songdo in South Korea — or Howard’s posts about recent developments in Africa — then you may have assumed that the economic gains are likely being reaped mostly in these type of markets. Actually, the positive impact is applicable to all types of environments, including established markets.

As an example, consider the forward-looking plans for the East London Tech City, in the heart of one of Europe’s largest and most established metropolitan areas. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has set out the government’s ambition to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in East London, to create a world-leading technology center.

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