Network Control, Engineering and Management
Network control in this sense involves traffic management, and the engineering of the networks to support varying traffic loads. In telephone networks there are a set of engineering rules and traffic models have been developed over the years to optimize the use of transmission and switching. Some of these rules are not applicable to data networks, and a different set of models. Telephone networks were originally engineered on a static basis such that there was no rearrangement for changing traffic patterns. More modern networks (such as the Internet) are engineered on a more dynamic basis.
Network Management encompasses operating the network as well as administration and maintenance known in short as OAM. A comprehensive architecture (TMN) has been developed for public networks, whereas for the internet and data applications a more basic model is used (SNMP).
Current networks involve optical transmission with electrical switching. With the first generation of photonic networks utilize slow switches based on micro-electronic machines (MEMs). These network can manipulate wavelengths, but not individual traffic flows. To manipulate individual traffic flows photonically will require fast, large switches. In this section we examine the advantages and limitations of photonic networks, and look at the technologies required to make them a reality.
Services in telephone networks were based in the local switches. With the development of Common Channel Signalling systems, the opportunity arose to provide centralized provision of services. In fact for services such as 1-800 number dialling the service could not easily be provided on a local switch basis but required a centralized database. The concept of centralized services solidified in the Intelligent Network and Advanced Intelligent Netork architectures.
It is clear that for long distance high capacity networks optical fibre is now ubiquitous. In the access there are coaxial cable, copper and wireless. For new networks in developing countries the access will almost certainly be wireless as the cost pf providing a copper-based infrastructure is prohibitive. In the future there will be expansion of the types of wireless access networks to cover both smaller and greater areas. 3rd Generation wireless will be replaced by 4th generation.
However, the structure and profitability of the industry will be more influential on the architecture than the technology. Will there be enough profit in the industry to fuel new types of capabilities, or will the industry degenerate in the same manner as the airline industry to a point where survival is the main question.