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Internet Stifles Innovation, Says CEO

A lack of support for voice and video applications may hinder the Internet's success, according to Craig Benson, CEO of Cabletron who delivered a keynote at this year's ComNet conference.

"The Net should be an enabler; not a holdback to innovation," said Benson. "The Internet is not well-suited for voice and video. It drives a data infrastructure. Many customers would have voice and video on their Web site if the Net could handle the size of the downloads. Instead, they have to dummy down their site because the Internet can't handle it."

He added that today's networks are generally unreliable, and as business grows, networks need to grow as well to accommodate the demand.

"Networks are a black hole to most people," he said. "They need to be more utility-like. They must be scalable and manageable in order to deliver enhanced business value," explained Benson. "Giving downloaded clips of the elaborate screen savers the same priority as mission critical applications such as SAP doesn't make sense."

"Network managers need to figure out what applications are running on their networks and portion bandwidth accordingly," said Benson.

As a possible solution, Benson recommended that networks should be broken up into multi-vendor platforms in order to more effectively service customers.

"No other utility depends on a single provider to provide the components of its infrastructure," Benson noted. "Customers want reliable, best-of-class solutions, and do not want to be tied into the future of any single vendor."

Benson's keynote was part of the ComNet/San Francisco Conference and Exposition, in San Francisco, covering the telecommunications and data communications industry.

Cabletron, an internetworking solutions provider, is based in Rochester, New Hampshire. The company was founded in 1983 by S. Robert Levine and Craig Benson. It said it supplies over $1.5 billion worth of networking equipment, including manageable Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Token Ring, SNA, FDDI, ATM, ISDN and Frame Relay products.