Is History Repeating Itself?...... Again
I've been enjoying the March 2003 issue of Business Communications Review. Particularly the article on Page 10 by Eric Krapf. The title is "Managing Converged Networks". Sort of reminds me of my start at IHC some 15 years ago.
1987 was a hallmark year for voice at IHC. That year management of the telephone systems was transfered from Shared Services, the folks purchasing office products, desks and the things that sit on them, to Information Systems. It didn't take long for the IS department to discover that they were in over their collective heads. It was a simple matter of underestimation. IS ruled the world from a glass house but was totally unprepared for voice.
Voice is fairly complex. Not necessarily the technology. But you need to deal with tariffs, traffic engineering, long distance, a bunch of new vendors and the expectations of end users. Dial tone is practically a birth right and no one is ever okay when it goes away.
That's how I got my job at IHC. I knew about telephones and all the surrounding issues. Among my first assignments was the development of the IHC Wide Area Network. We created a converged network. Voice and Video running side by side. We used multiplexers (MUXs) to set up two queues. Dedicated DS0 were established for voice. All other data traffic was combined.
As early as 1989 we had the vision of a converged network. Only we didn't call it "converged". My vision for IHC was what I called a "generic" network. One that any application could use. A network that was not optimized for any particular application.
That's why this article makes me smile. It sounds like the good old days. Data and Voice staff trying to understand each other and get along. After all these years we are still trying to converge these two groups. There are definitely different sets of skills and a need to respect each others strengths. Still, I think that your typical data manager isn't ready for the complexity that voice brings into his/her network.
Read the article. It is worthwhile and points to a future that is still in doubt. How do we manage networks? What tools do we use? And how do we blend the skills and needs of voice and data? All good questions that have been with us for a decade or two. Do I get a feeling of Deja Vu? Yep.
That's all for now.........