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Simpler Times: The Next-Generation of the Internet

There’s an interesting dynamic taking place in the Service Provider industry these days:  The simplest devices are becoming more capable and complex.  The simplest applications are becoming more specialized and personalized.  And the networks that enable both are becoming more inefficient and ineffective.

I don’t want to come off sounding like Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man, but I think I’m echoing many of my colleagues within Cisco and the Service Provider industry when I express a growing desire for simpler times.

Maybe not direct-connection, crank-phone, Pennsylvania 6-5000 simpler times – I’m no more willing to give up my iPhone or iPad than the rest of you – but it seems to me we need to rethink the way we design and build networks, develop and deploy services over those networks, and manage and maintain those networks to ensure those services consistently and continuously deliver the types of Internet experiences consumers demand, or rather, expect.

Got Enough Bandwidth for the Next Generation Internet?Take a look at the infographic on the right. Here at Cisco, we’ve developed a strategic framework to describe and structure this objective.  We call it the Next-Generation Internet.  In simple terms (of course), this framework outlines our goal to design and build networks that are “more visual, more virtual, more mobile, and more simple”.

What does this mean?  By “more visual” we mean networks that are optimized for video.  Not just for  streaming YouTube videos, but for high-quality, high-reliability, video-based communications and entertainment over any type of device.

By “more virtual” we mean not just delivering consumer and commercial cloud-based services in a way that is both efficient and effective, but also building and enabling the “telco cloud”, or the ability to dynamically share and allocate network resources without regard for topology or place.

By “more mobile” we mean the ability to enable not just network accessibility, but capability as well, as in personalized, localized, and customized mobile multimedia services, delivered reliably to any device, over any type of mobile network.

And by  “more simple”, we mean doing all of this with fewer devices, connected in such a way that the service provider can enjoy simplified network design, deployment, management and maintenance, which, of course, means reduced costs and increased flexibility.

Combined, these characteristics will enable service providers to turn the challenge of ever-growing Internet traffic volumes into an opportunity by allowing them to efficiently optimize and monetize their networks.

The first substantiation of this strategy is embodied on our new ASR 9000 System, introduced in June and expanded today.  As you’ll read in Surya Panditi’s blog, this system now brings the capabilities of our Network Virtualization (nV) technology to the mobile market, so that mobile operators can now enjoy the cost, scale, and reliability benefits of a simpler, better network design.

In future blogs, I’ll explore in depth these and other benefits service providers can expect from this “more” design philosophy, but for now I’ll keep it simple (sorry, couldn’t resist) and just say that we intend to make the Next-Generation Internet the Internet for all of us, including grumpy old men like me.

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