So last week I talked about the stability that is happening on the hardware front and that this might lead to relative stability in the services.
The same is not true on the software front where I have posted before about Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). On top of that, Service Providers see Open Source (OS) Software as a potential to change the way that products and services are built. The thing is that for all of that disruption in how software is architected and created, I still see stability.
Why is that?
Well, the problem is that Service Providers are always looking at ways of building functionality into the network. Now from a Service Provider standpoint that makes a lot of internal sense. The more capability that the network has the more they can charge for it. Thus they would get to charge more for the bits that are being delivered.
The problem with that is that it makes no sense at all if you are a consumer or a company trying to sell services to consumers. The reason is that universal connectivity to your service is what you want. If you try to build a service based on a specific set of functions built into the network, then you are limiting your potential by restricting where you can sell the service. The alternative is that a premium version of the product would be available by taking advantage of these network based services.
Well, that all seems quite possible and then we go on to think about what a network service could be. And in the end it is all about the availability of bandwidth. People talk about “bandwidth on demand” type services. These kind of services have been around for decades. I worked on a video conferencing system based on a form of bandwidth on demand back in 1988. These are not revolutionary, but simply a way of getting people to utilize the services that they already pay for more often and upcharge them for it. The other kind of service is related to the quality of bandwidth transmission via some form of prioritization. This is against Net Neutrality rules where they apply, so are unlikely to have much consumer impact. These kind of services can make sense for Enterprises in some cases. Which the reality is the same place that the bandwidth on demand is going to be of any value.
Now some of these applications of service can be sold to companies that are offering services to consumers in order to enhance their offerings. But these services will never be the boon that anyone wants. The reason is that the money is moving into applications. That is where all this new software technology is most useful. The problem is that the network makers have not been doing a lot in the content and application space. But in order to get on the Apple or Google growth curves that is where they will have to go. We can talk about how they might get there in the future!
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