A pumped vision of the Intranet
3Com CTO tells TCP/IP Expo users `You'll need to put your network on steroids'
While it's important to focus on the kinds of services an intranet can offer, users can't forget that behind the services is a hardware network, or the "plumbing" that makes it all work, Hart said. "No one cares about a network until it breaks," Hart said, who prefers to call intranets "web-nets."
Intranet users today and in the future will want high-end applications, such as two-way videoconferencing and multimedia, according to Hart. These types of services are parallel to the kinds of services users get on the World Wide Web, said Hart, but aren't secure and fast enough right now to be useful to companies.
"In contrast, the requirements for a company's intranet network infrastructure are usually dramatically different from those of the Internet in areas such as topology, bandwidth, latency, security and ownership costs," Hart said. Intranets of the future will diverge from Internet technologies in order to take advantage of new networking technologies, such as beefed-up routers and high-security firewalls, which can deliver fast and secure high-end applications, he said.
Hart called these new intranets "3D intranets," referring to their multi-tiered levels of services in the realms of order entry, procurement, electronic commerce, customer interaction, whiteboard collaboration, real-time monitoring and high security. These TCP/IP networks will run on large "infrastructure servers" and use heavy-duty routers with embedded firewalls and multiple switches, Hart said.
"I believe all networks will run on TCP/IP in the next several
years," Hart said. "3Com will stay on top because we sell our products
to Internet service providers (ISPs).
--By Kristi Essick IDG News Service San Francisco Bureau
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