Glass Rules: The Importance of Global Fiber for the Internet

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My (step) daughter is one of the smartest millennials I know, and I only mention she is a step daughter to show that she does not have my genes to slow her down.

She is visiting from the tech company she works for in Europe.  She showed me how her RSA tokens came to cell phone.  She felt that was the best security out there.

A small digression on security…

She may be right, today but there are other things coming that will enhance it.

For example one of our speakers from RSA is an advocate of blockchain for ID management.  He is joined by a couple of other speakers.

Other speakers are advocates of Software Defined Networking [SDN] that protects the transmission from man in the middle attacks.

Mind you we still have to watch out for viruses, worms and other end-point attacks, but they will probably come from human error.

Now back to our story…

Way back when in a job I had in the 90s I was suppose to transmit data to the carriers network I worked with using an RSA Fob and a dial up modem at 56K (lightning speed at the time ).

The problem was the delay between the dial up modems, my PC and the mainframe made it near impossible for the RSA tokens to ever match.  Mind you I was traveling a distance of 220 miles and probably had at least three class 4 switches in between. That was my Intranet (as it was for many before the Internet).

The world today is very different we have over half a million miles of undersea cable and lots of redundancy.  More importantly the speed of glass has reduced the delay to about 200 MS (although some countries in Asia have to transverse two oceans to connect and that takes about 400 MS).

This speed makes the web possible and tolerable for data, voice, and video.  More importantly from a human factors point of view, it makes communication over the Internet nearly as familiar as speaking to a person in the same room.

Even 5G wireless needs glass to make the delivery as fast as possible. While you are celebrating the Internet and the Web, remember the physical layer below it.

Twice last week I was reminded by friends of the bankruptcy of Global Crossing a company that did not see WDM coming and the fact that glass could transmit different colors of light to increase capacity from a single transmission to 80 channels.

That is one of the most important digital transformation in the history of the Internet.

Glass Rules!


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