By Denise Panyik-Dale, Director of North America Media Relations for Alcatel-Lucent and mom to the amazing Madeleine Dale. Follow her on Twitter: @dpanyikdale.
One evening recently there was a scene in my home that is replicated in homes each day around the world. I was talking to my teenage daughter. While I was imparting my very important parental pearls of wisdom, her eyes were glued to her smartphone and she was tapping away furiously. I assumed she was completely ignoring me.
After a sigh of exasperation (another scene that is repeated worldwide), I looked down at my own tablet sitting in front of me. I had a notification that someone had posted something on my wall. Strangely enough, it was from my daughter.
It just so happens that it was Mother’s Day in the United States. I opened the post and read:
“Hi Mom, Happy Mother’s Day! I’m sitting next to you but I decided to go on Facebook and write a novel to you. You are the most amazing mother ever and my best friend. I honestly would not know what I would do without you. Mom, you are a part of me and nothing will change that. I love you so much!”
She was, of course, immediately forgiven.
There is a point to my story, other what a fantastic daughter I have (said with the most possible maternal bias and pride). This interaction, which made my eyes well with tears, was made possible by this nebulous, unseen thing simply called “the network”.
For most of us, the network is something that’s “there”…it’s always accessible yet never really noticed and rarely understood by most of us, myself included. It’s like it’s magic.
Today, Alcatel-Lucent added a bit more magic to the network. We introduced a new family of core routing products (read the press release). This is the first time Alcatel-Lucent has been the core routing area, but what does that mean for Alcatel-Lucent, the industry, and most importantly, for my daughter and me?
Everything has a core…an apple, the universe, even our value systems. By definition it’s the “central, innermost, or most essential part of anything.” A core router sits at the heart of a network managing the flow of data, often relying on other routers, like those at the edge of the network, for connectivity.
Still not really understanding the difference between core and edge routing, I consulted with one of my Bell Labs researcher colleagues. Knowing my level of technical knowledge, he explained it like this: “Think of it like a postal system. Letters are sent to the main post office where they are sorted and redirected to local post offices where they are given to postal carriers who then deliver it to your mailbox. The core router is the main office. The edge routers are the ones that take the handoff and make sure it gets to you.”
Thanks to interactions like the one between my daughter and I – not to mention the rapid adoption of ‘cloud’ applications, the explosion in video traffic and the widespread growth in smartphone and tablet use over the Internet – core networks have to work faster, smarter, harder and handle ever-expanding amounts of data traffic.
I could go on to say that this new family of products delivers five times greater density than today’s core routers while also reducing power consumption by 66%. And that this unprecedented combination of capacity, efficiency and scale brings about a huge shift in the economics associated with operating and expanding core IP networks.
But honestly, all I really care about is the magic. The part that connects me to my daughter and all the people and things that are important to me – not just today, but also tomorrow.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be getting the same kind of message someday (a long time in the future) on Grandparents Day…moving magically through a network that is carrying a tremendous amount of data at the same time. What I care about is that is gets to me…as if by magic.
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