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Connectivity more than mission critical

October 6, 2014

John Hayduk   

Blog Contributor

In the first part of this post, I looked into how the Internet of Things (IoT) and our hunger for new applications such as wearable tech are impacting on global networks. But what are the critical questions that we need to ask as this trend gathers pace? How can the backbone of communications cope under this strain?

From a capacity standpoint, IPv6 adoption means that there is plenty of space for the predicted 50 billion or even 100 billion devices from consumer to industrial technologies, which will need to be connected as the Internet of Things takes off.

From a service provider’s point of view, there are several key factors we need to consider to ensure a smooth arrival for IoT, two-way video and all the other amazing new ways humans are accessing the network.

Security, privacy, availability, resilience and disaster recovery, scalability—these are all the crucial building blocks that must ensure that we view the Internet as a reliable global utility. And managing a reliable global utility also requires a continual dedication to configuration data and infrastructure management. Without that, trust in the utility is not possible.

The IoT will be a challenge for all who are involved in creating it. As the Internet crawls out of the primordial pond of bits and bytes and screens and onto the dry continents of physical objects, vehicles and even human wearables and cybernetics, reliability takes on a whole new meaning.

When a computer crashes, you can reboot. What happens when a network outage impacts personal belongings, vehicles or body parts? That’s why the Internet must be built on a solid network, because any faults could have consequences far more serious than any we have yet imagined.

From a security point of view, the key challenge is controlling access to billions of devices on the network. How do you protect the devices from attacks when at the same time you need to ensure that the devices have configuration enabled? How do you control access with devices such as pace makers or vehicle steering systems that cannot be switched off?

You also need to ensure that you have the right “building blocks“, including configuration data and infrastructure management, in place. You need robust platforms to ensure that the network is protected against the unexpected. Connectivity involves context and automation – and with data there are often ripples when something goes wrong. For example, if 100,000 devices kick off an action, this can quickly impact the whole network due to the huge number of connected devices. Policing the interaction between the devices is therefore key to ensuring that the whole network is protected.

So how do we move towards forging a more human-centric network?

Stay tuned for John’s next post and in the meantime you can follow him on Twitter (@john_hayduk) or share your views in the comments section below.