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WiFi, Smartphones, IP Peering and the Network's Growing Importance

TMCnews Featured Article


July 02, 2009

WiFi, Smartphones, IP Peering and the Network's Growing Importance

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor


WiFi (News - Alert) will form the bridge to future wireless technologies that make all forms of communication IP-based, the founder of a Los Angeles-based high-performance network service provider told TMC (News - Alert) in an interview today.

 
According to Grant Kirkwood, who also serves as chief technical officer at Mzima Networks, increasingly popular smartphones are poised to push the IP network so far away from the core, that landline-locked phones will become a thing of the past and the network itself will become indispensable for even the most basic communications.
 
Kirkwood – who is participating during ITEXPO West in September in a talk on IP peering strategies – also told TMC President Rich Tehrani during an interview (printed in full below) that in order make the Internet work, the networks that make it up must exchange traffic with each other.
 
“The Internet peering ecosystem has seen a dramatic shift in recent years away from the traditional ‘Tier 1’ carriers as more and more users and content have shifted to smaller, more-focused networks,” Kirkwood said during the interview.
 
Their exchange follows.
 
Rich Tehrani: What has the economic crisis taught you, and how has it changed your customers?
 
Grant Kirkwood (News - Alert): Biggest lesson is to diversify your customer base and product offering. With respect to our customers, we’ve seen a trend toward “big becoming bigger, small becoming smaller (or going away entirely).” The customers that were economically weak have been the hardest hit.
 
RT: How is this down economy affecting your decisions to reinvest in your company or market, if at all? Where will you invest?
 
GK: We’re investing in new verticals and market segments. Investing in enterprise markets and moving away from our traditional wholesale vertical.
 
RT: What’s the strongest segment in the communications industry?
 
GK: Enterprise services. Network outsourcing and cost reduction.
 
RT: With the rise of smartphones and netbooks, many wireless technologies, such as WiFi, appear to be poised for rapid growth. For example, we’re seeing more and more airlines add in-flight WiFi. In general, how widespread should WiFi be, in your view?
 
GK: Everywhere. I think WiFi will be the bridge to future wireless technologies that make all forms of communication IP-based (via whatever delivery method may be locally available).
 
RT: Which nation or region of the world will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
 
GK: We’re not sure which we’re going to focus on, but southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America are in the mix.
 
RT: In what ways is President Barack Obama helping or hindering the technology markets? What more can he do?
 
GK: I don’t know that the president is really going to have much impact on technology markets from an innovation standpoint, but I think there is an impact to be seen in terms of technology spending. I’ve yet to see much activity on the rural broadband initiative but this could spur significant amounts of telecom spending in the next few years.
 
RT: What device or devices do you use, and what do you wish you used?
 
GK: Blackberry Bold. I’d like to use a Blackberry Bold that doesn’t have continual software issues.
 
RT: What has the iPhone 3G taught us? I know it’s very new, but what about the Palm Pre? What are we learning from the smartphones based on the open source Google Android platform?
 
GK: Smartphones are teaching us that “dumbphones” are going to be nonexistent very quickly. These devices are going to push the IP network even further away from the core, right into people’s hands. The network is going to become a ubiquitous essential part of everyday life.
 
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO West, to be held Sept. 1 to 3 in Los Angeles. Describe your talk and tell us what companies or people should attend.
 
GK: The topic of our session centers around peering. To make the Internet work, the networks that make it up must exchange traffic with each other. Sometimes this is done in exchange for money but sometimes it’s not. The difference is in the business relationship between the two parties.
 
The Internet peering ecosystem has seen a dramatic shift in recent years away from the traditional “Tier 1” carriers as more and more users and content have shifted to smaller, more-focused networks. The content of this session would be particularly valuable to anyone involved with Internet operations and the distribution of web content to users and devices.
 
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
 
GK: We offer a commodity service delivered in a unique way at a competitive price. Bandwidth is a necessity, but there are differences in the characteristics of that bandwidth that make some providers better-suited for certain applications. Our company’s bandwidth solution is ideally suited for those looking to deliver content in a very high-performance way on the Internet. Online video and audio streaming are perfect examples of applications that would benefit from Mzima (News - Alert).
 

Learn more about Mzima Networks at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO (News - Alert) West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now!


Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan







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