Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 4
This Month's Issue:
Enabling Innovation
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The co-Evolution of Networks and Devices: Autonomics and Device Management

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By Wedge Greene and Trevor Hayes

All the Fishes In the Seas

The moon came white and ghostly as we laid the treasure down,
There was gear there'd make a beggarman as rich as Lima Town,
Copper charms and silver trinkets from the chests of Spanish crews,

iPhones, smart sensors, home gateways, game portals, just name a few
[apologies to John Edward Masefield]

Our world of communications just keeps getting bigger. So too does our job of managing this burgeoning world. Once upon a time we managed big network switches. Then we managed connections and, of course, the CPE that terminated the connections. More and more different types of CPE were invented, all staying physically connected to the network. Then came a very different concept: intermittent connections - dial up communications to computers changed the notion that end devices were always connected to the network. Computers themselves radically changed the network, the devices and their interaction. Even more loosely tethered mobile phones followed and are rapidly gaining service intelligence, even outstripping the pace of advances in network

Device management may well be the biggest future opportunity available to the Service Provider.


illustrates the sheer number of things to manage, evoking images of scaling challenges and complexity – and ever expanding management and operational costs. Less often, this type of drawing is used to illustrate the expanding opportunity and richness available to today's service provider. But dangerously, the service provider and the network are always in the center. Dangerously, because we think this image may cause more harm than enlightenment. A fallacy of human thinking is to equate a drawing with reality even when the drawing

technology. With each evolution of technology, the size and scope of the domain of devices needing to be managed increased. The complexity increased. Correspondingly, costs and opportunities also increased. Today we can see that our historical ability to manage millions of connections is going to have to somehow scale to manage tomorrow's trillions of devices.Often this is represented in drawing concentric rings where the network is in the center and the area of the rings increases as more kinds of devices are added over time.

Today's outermost ring is very large and includes such things as smart homes and sensor nets. Sometimes, when we draw this expanding trend of concentric rings, it

only loosely illustrates the situation, for example "the map is not the territory."

We frequently also see illustrations of devices placed on the end of a line drawn back to the network. In these pictures, as the multitude of devices increases, devices fixed by connection lines to the network become a bristle cone of spokes, each evoking the perception of permanent connectedness. This way of thinking narrows the possibilities of devices to only those associated with the network. But devices also interact with many other things such as other devices, other users, or power grids. Some of this is captured in "dandelion drawings" made of balls of branching spokes where closely routed device

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