Slowly but unquestionably, networking is linking together everything electronic in some way. Whether or not you agree with that, there are reimbursement to enjoy and money to make. Killer technologies like Ethernet, wireless, and optical are making it happen.
Networking's future appears to stay focused on achieving higher speeds, even though our data rates already do everything we want. The real goal is to get that speed to everyone, and do it in a secure environment.
WANs: After years of build-out in the long-haul telephone and Internet backbone networks, there's more than enough capacity to accommodate needs for the immediate future. The economic downturn has slowed the provisioning of all this capacity. Lots of dark fiber is available to light the future when necessary.
MANs: This is the hot spot in the market today. Metro networks either fail to meet the current speed and capacity needs or don't exist at all, so there are plenty of growth opportunities (see "Optical: Undisputed King Of High-Speed Data Transmission," p. 57).
LANs: Virtually all medium and large enterprises have been fully networked for years. However, there will be an ongoing need for upgrades in service to higher speeds and gradual replacement of older systems. More and more enterprises are adopting wireless networking as well because its declining cost allows them to take advantage of the flexibility it offers.
PANs: We're just now starting to see the effects of personal area networks. Most are wireless, with the Bluetooth star showing the way. It took years for Bluetooth to come into its own, but today it's poised for major growth, so you'll be seeing more of it and such spin-offs as ZigBee. IrDA isn't dead, and the newer inductive wireless networks have great potential in some applications.
Ethernet Everywhere: Clearly, Ethernet is the networking technology making the most impact. Even though it's been around for decades, it has considerable life left (Fig.