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August 26, 1998


ISP backbone: Design challenges and issues

Madhuri Velegar K at Pragati Maidan

Email this story to a friend. Back to IIW coverage index. After N Chandrababu Naidu's zeal for wiring up Andhra Pradesh and William Melton's informative lecture on the various forms of money set to emerge in the next decade, it was time for a technical session on one of the most basic needs for a wired society, the Internet backbone.

Mulugu Srinivasarao, consulting engineer from Cisco, spoke of how in India the demand-and-supply chain is finally putting on pressure for deployment of newer, faster and more convenient technologies.

"We've realised that no amount of bandwidth provided will suffice for the number of users and the number of lines that are being demanded every day. It would help if India would be aggressive in the planning stage. Deployment of lines, which are now done in 60 days, should be done in 20 days. This will help reduce the burden. We expect there will be 160 million Internet users by 2000," Srinivasarao said.

He then spoke of the huge data traffic on the Internet and the problem of delay in receiving sensitive traffic.

Srinivasarao was convinced that the exponential growth curve of the Internet would lead to more trouble. To illustrate how the Web is sinking into the collective consciousness of India he said "I was holidaying in a small town in South India on August 15 and was surprised to see a spiritual organisation announce its Web site. Internet awareness has reached villages and small towns."

The Internet architecture of sending data, voice and video is changing rapidly every year. Data has already exceeded voice traffic, though this growth curve is linear and not exponential.

The growth of Internet protocol far exceeds that of nay data protocol. "In the mid-Eighties, the IP Version 4 was supposed to hold addresses from around the world till hardly a few years later they realised it couldn't cover even a fraction of the addresses. They needed a Version 6 which will probably put 10 to 12 addresses per cubic centimetre!" Srinivasarao explained.

He went on to speak about the IP and the ATM which use a lot of integrated technologies today in an effort to provide effective backbone networks.

"Earlier it was the DS3 which was prevailing in the Internet market but today the OC3 is the most popularly deployed technology in sending data. OC48 is also in existence and is the cutting edge in this form of technology," he said.

Srinivasarao gave an overview of the POSIP or packets over solids. This was first deployed by Sprint at Pensacker and later in nine major locations. A few of these locations dealt with European traffic and the others handled Asian traffic.

Routers, which were originally little boxes that allowed you to surf the Net, are now able to carry more than tens of thousands of data bits. And once the evolution of routers takes place they will be deployed in voice networks as well.

Srinivasarao foresees a future of not IP over ATM but a mapping of the two. "IP has made its mark in services. It's the best bet but ATM is speed, speed and speed. What we are interested in is using the IP service support structure to forward data as fast as it comes. As for the quality of the data, there is the technology of prioritising the packet so that both the sender and the mailman know the importance of the message. This will be an end-to-end quality service."

Back to IIW coverage index. This technology can be extended to all spheres. For instance, it seems, the Rutger's University in New Jersey hopes to connect every hostel room with a PC that will project live class lectures. There will be technologies to assist archival retrieval of material, all through a video server.

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