Re: Rumors about the death of the ARPANET

23 Mar 1988 07:47-EST

The FCCSET committees, the NSF, the EDUCOM Network Forum, and a number
of other individuals, groups, organizations, random parties, etc. all
are interested in seeing a high speed network emerge which could benefit
the research community and ultimately the entire business population.

Serious work is going on in industry and in the research labs on very
high speed switching capble of operating in excess of 45 Mbps. A SONET
swiitch (circuit) was demonstrated recently at 135 Mb/s; a packet
mode switching fabric is under development at Bellcore which will
operate at 100-200 Mb/s per channel (packet mode).

Cost is an important consideration and it does seem as if various
forms of subsidy will be needed in the early stages, just as the
ARPANET was subsidized fully by the R&D funding activity of DARPA.
In the longer term, though, there are services which will dmeand the
bandwidth and make it far less expensive on average. To give a
trivial example, once ISDN emerges, 64 kb/s will be the standard rate
for voice - so you get to use it for data, too, without the cost
of a modem.

This isn't to say everything will happen easily or even very quickly,
but there are enough forces in motion that I believe the will and
the therewithall to make high speed nets a reality will be available.


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