RealTime IT News

Ebone to Explore Internet's Future with New Lab

[London, ENGLAND] Global TeleSystems' division Ebone announced Wednesday the creation of Ebone IP Future Lab, a European institution that will explore the future of the Internet and develop new ways of using Internet Protocol.

Among the people scheduled to work at Ebone IP Future Lab are members of the original team that developed the Ebone network, the first European IP backbone.

Duncan Lewis, Ebone president and chief operating officer, said there were sufficient intellectual assets embedded within the company to help European businesses become more effective in their internal operations and in their relationships with customers and suppliers.

"I believe we have really only scratched the surface in what IP can do to break down communications, work-flow and cost barriers and thus unlock business potential," said Lewis.

Heading the Lab will be IP pioneer Frode Greisen who helped establish Ebone in 1991. Also a founder member of the Internet Society and president of the European Academic Research Network (EARN), Greisen said the current period is the most exciting time in all the years he has been associated with the Internet and IP technology.

"IP has now become widely accepted as the de facto standard for networked communications worldwide, while at the same time we are seeing monumental breakthroughs in optical technology. The implications of these developments will transform the way companies communicate and do business in ways we have not yet imagined or understood," said Greisen.

Other senior members of Ebone IP Future Lab include Sean Doran, Bjorn Carlsson, Steen Linden and Peter Maersk-Moller, each of whom is a leading authority in his area of expertise. Doran, for example, was the first employee of UUNet in Canada and the architect of Sprint's domestic and international IP network.

So, in practical terms, what activities will the new lab carry out? Will Ebone IP Future Lab become another Xerox PARC -- as appears to be the intention -- or will it be overtaken by events and non-IP technologies?

Ebone says the mandate is to explore the issues that still need to be addressed "if IP is to reach its full potential as a transformational technology." They range from service delivery, availability and ease of use -- to engineering issues such as interoperability with optical technologies -- and on to new applications and even commercial aspects "such as peering and pricing."

To the outside world, it may sound as if the experts at Ebone IP Future Lab will be spread somewhat thinly over their vast mandate. Only time will tell if they can create a culture where new ideas flourish and new, useful technology emerges.