Disturb. Dislocate. Disorder. Disrupt?
September 6, 2011 1 Comment
Contributing author: Bill St. Arnaud
Some argue that the role of Research & Education (R&E) networks should only be as a low-cost Internet service provider to the R&E community.
Others counter that R&E networks should focus on providing services to support e-Science and perhaps even integrate with other e-Infrastructure providers such as High-Performance Computing (HPC) and grid.
And yet still others argue that R&E networks should work closely with industry by providing testbeds to develop and/or improve industry products and enable commercialization of university R&D.
In my opinion R&E networks can play far more important role, first in supporting e-Science, but also in helping industry and creating a knowledge society by being an innovative “disrupter.” This is where R&E networks have been hugely successful in the past:
- first in the build out of the original Internet,
- next in deployment of low-cost user-owned fibre networks,
- and more recently in areas of new architecture for low-carbon Internet networks and global authentication schemes.
These disruptive developments were first intended, in many cases, to support the needs of science, but also had a beneficial effect of creating new network business models and enabling knowledge transformation of society as a whole.
I am pleased to see that we are now on the verge of another disruptive change with respect to R&E networks.
Once again, while these network transformations are first being driven by the needs of eScience the network architectures are starting already to have a beneficial effect on broadband architectures in general. A good example, of course, is the unique facilitation role that Internet2 is playing in the rollout of national broadband through its partnership in UCAN. Other examples include the deployment of community transit exchange points by BCNET and peering points by KAREN in New Zealand.
Do you see R&E networks as disruptive technologies?
Bill St. Arnaud, formerly a Chief Research Officer at CANARIE, is a Green IT consultant who works with clients on a variety of subjects such as the next generation Internet and practical solutions to reduce GHG emissions such as free broadband and electrical highways. He currently also works as a consultant at CANARIE.