Jumbograms and GigaPoPs : The future of the Internet explored

The latest paper edition of PC pro (April 2006) contains an article exploring the future of the Internet. Internet Reloaded provides an introduction to the kind of Internet we will have in a decade or so. (You won’t find the article on PCPro’s website - for that, you will have to wait for another 100 days.)

The embryo for Internet2 - as it is called - is already with us. It is actually being experimented in the same cradle that saw the current Internet grow. Universities, some private companies, and the US military across the United States can enjoy it right now.

Transfer rates have been recorded in excess of 100Gb/sec - enough to download in one second what the average broadband user gulps in one month. Whilst we can only dream of such transfer rates in a foreseeable future, the infrastructure is graduallyemerging.

Yesterday, for example, Lucent demonstrated a 100Gb/sec transmission over 400Km. This opens the way for commercial appliances capable of delivering such a performance. As usual, Asian countries are well ahead of their European and American counterparts; Japan Telecom has already implemented one such network.

The article also mentions the GigaPOPs, which are super points of presence controlling the traffic on the internet – perhaps they should have been called TeraPoPs. Also noteworthy are the Jumbograms, which are superlarge packet carriers for information. Think of the 747 Jumbojet compared to the 727 midget.

Although Internet2 is already a decade old, it will be another decade before we can experience 100Mb/sec transfer rates in our homes. In the meantime, though, if BT’s 21cn and NTL’s high speed networks can do the trick then why not? For those relying on the current copper network from British Telecom…well, bad luck;you will be stuck with single figure transfer rates even, with all the efforts of BT or Bulldog.

The Plain Old Telephone System - otherwise known as POTS - was never designed to sustain such high transfer rates, and should be given a well-deserved pat on the back. Welcome to the world of Fibre optics.