Nearly a decade ago, as the internet began to morph from a web of information into a web of connected people and things, European researchers saw not only theoretical possibilities but a chance to reinvent the network of the future. The results of this 'big thinking' can now be seen, as European designs and ideas are shaping networking environments, making them more efficient, robust and dare it be said … 'future proof'. Experts predict the future networked society will be the result of a merger of the physical and digital worlds, thanks to the explosive growth of wireless sensor networks in everything from vehicles to raincoats.
Objects will be able to identify and locate each other, and 'chat amongst themselves', through advanced radio interfaces. Self-organised 'edge networks' - providing enhanced data rates for mobile and smart telephones - will become more common. People will be able to borrow bandwidth or piggyback on 'sharer' networks if they find themselves out of coverage.
The fixed networking environments and relationships that define today's infrastructure will evolve into ad-hoc relationships with greater flexibility and autonomy to meet the needs and budgets of users on the go.
Much of this fancy-sounding functionality is already available, or in the pipeline, thanks to developments in late-generation smart phones and networks. But technologists are not resting on their laurels.
This fast-evolving networking environment requires forward-looking research and governance policies, and may involve whole new principles and methods to design, develop, control and manage future multi-technology architectures. Dealing with the diversity of these scientific and socio-economic challenges calls for an integrated, end-to-end approach. This is where the EU-funded project 'Anticipating the network of the future - from theory to design' (EURO-NF) stepped in.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc