Though the impact might be seen only over the course of a decade, we cannot now discount the possibility of disruptive innovations in the access business. Think about Google Fiber, unmanned aerial vehicles being developed by Facebook and Google, Google’s Project Loon.
In the data center design area, Facebook’s Open Compute Project aims to spread open source data center architectures.
The main point is that our traditional assumptions about the costs and features of an access network, not to mention our understanding of “who” operates the access network, could change radically over the next decade.
At stake are many truisms about possible market structures, not simply the cost and features of access. Also at question: the role of the access function within the ecosystem.
Though access will continue to reside at a specific layer of the protocol stack, it is not so clear that the role necessarily must be fulfilled by particular entities that traditionally have provided that function.
In other words, it no longer is a given that telcos, cable TV companies and others necessarily will have the same degree of activity or influence over the access function, in the future.
Consider “Open/R,” a routing protocol created by Facebook that ultimately will be made available as an open source tool
Open/R “has evolved into a platform that allows us to rapidly prototype and deploy new applications in the network,” Facebook now says.
“An Open/R network can easily add an application on top of routing that measures the utilization of network links, a move that could lead to computing bandwidth allocation,” Facebook says. “It could add MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) for quick movement of data over adjoining segments without looking up long network addresses.”
“Facebook's Open/R routing platform allows a combination of centralized and distributed control working together with the aim of establishing more self-governing networks that will self-allocate traffic and route it to the Internet with a minimum of supervision,” the company says Petr Lapukhov, Facebook network engineer.
“Being able to iterate quickly is central to our ability to improve the speed, efficiency, and quality of internet connectivity around the world,” said Lapukhov.