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2008: Bigger Networks and the DNS Boogyman

Looking Back at 2008

What a year for networking! No, not on Facebook or LinkedIn, but in how people actually connected to the Internet before they hooked into their social networks.

This year, the networking industry faced down its most serious security challenge in the last twenty years. In addition, 2008 will be noted as the year in which the world's biggest networking vendor launched a barrage of new product lines, and when IPv6 became a matter of public policy. Plus, we saw the future of high speed networking truly revealed.

In day 3 of InternetNews.com's week-plus look at the top stories, events and issues of all things tech in 2008, we highlight some of the networking advances that hummed away underneath all that social networking chatter.

One word: Kaminsky

The Kaminsky DNS flaw was a major event in 2008. Why? Because the threat it presented to DNS went to the core of how networks and the Internet function. Dubbed the Kaminsky DNS flaw after security researcher Dan Kaminsky revealed the vulnerability, the problem, if not repaired, could have left hundreds of millions of people at risk of malicious code and network problems.

Networking vendors and application vendors alike rallied to Kaminsky's cry and put out a short term solution. The long-term solution was DNSSEC (DNS Security Extentions). As a result of the Kaminsky flaw detection, the protocol got a much needed shot in the arm and industry efforts are now underway to get it implemented.

Networking Vendors Roll Big Iron

The world's largest networking vendor by revenue, Cisco had a big year in 2008. It began by rolling out an ambitious new switching platform, the Nexus. At a time when many in the technology industry assume that commodity silicon and microprocessors are the way to go, Cisco sunk $250 million into a new routing platform.

The Cisco Nexus, which debuted in March, is powered by Cisco's own Quantum Flow processor. Cisco Chambers also embarked on a new Linux strategy in April 2008. The Cisco Application eXtension Platform (AXP) plugs in the Cisco's ISR platform, which provide users with a Linux application server.

But Cisco's competitors also busted a few moves of their own in 2008. Juniper Networks jumped into the switching business and challenged Cisco for business in the high speed networking space. Alcatel-Lucent changed its leadership and Nortel Networks continued to shed dollars and staff.

Blazing Networks with 100 GbE

The big game for the networking industry has always been about faster networking speeds. In 2008, we saw the first real signs of the next big thing in network connection speeds, the race towards 100GbE. While the specification has not yet been finalized 2008 saw the first live tests of 100GbE. It's a technology that will be exciting to see mature in 2009 and beyond as the new top end of networking.

Hello Internet? It's IPv6; you're almost out of space

Though IPv4 address space continues to race towards exhaustion, some glimmers of salvation appeared in 2008. The watershed event for IPv6 in 2008 was the June U.S. government mandate that required all federal agencies to be IPv6-compliant. What it means is that every U.S. government agency was able to prove they could send and receive IPv6 traffic. The mandate does not mean the U.S. government is using IPv6 for all of its day to day traffic, but getting the government behind it is a major milestone on the road towards an IPv6 world.

Tomorrow, Open Source, and a big year for Hardware and then later, the Microsoft effect in this series looking back at the top stories of 2008?