Building the Networks of Tomorrow in New Orleans
The work of creating the equipment, networks, cloud infrastructure, and technical standards that form the heart of the Internet may not get a lot of attention, but it is absolutely vital to everything we do online. At the SCTE Expo week in New Orleans, I’m excited to hear from colleagues and share how we’re working to make our network faster and smarter to support an ever-growing Internet.
The Expo is the annual gathering place for the people who do the sometimes-arduous work of building the networks that make up the Internet. Whether writing new technical standards or physically digging up streets to lay in newer fiber, or rebuilding infrastructure after a natural disaster, much of their work goes unheralded, but virtually all of us depend on it.
The Internet never stops growing because our customers thirst for entertainment and information is unquenchable. Every year, more of us connect, using more devices to send and receive more data. The media we consume over the Internet is continually getting better and richer, but from a traffic standpoint, that also means that we are handling more data, more often, traveling over more devices.
We are constantly building new capacity to meet that growing demand, but it’s not enough to work harder, we also need to work smarter.
At the Expo we’ll hear from a lot of bright people working to do just that. There’s a lot to discuss:
Harnessing The Cloud – In the simplest terms, what makes the cloud so powerful in a network environment, is that it lets us take the functions that we typically associate with a physical computer or server, move them into the network, and deliver them where they are needed, in exactly the right proportion, almost instantaneously. Computing, storage and networking functions that were once tethered to a specific device can now be made available anywhere, and scaled to fit the exact need of users. The engineers at SCTE have a big role to play in making that all work. Cutting edge technological concepts like Software Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization will be big topics of discussion at SCTE as we talk about how we will deliver network resources to our customers in an always-on, on-demand world.
Smarter, Faster Standards – Just as important as the routers, communications lines and switches that form the physical basis of our networks, are the technical standards that allow those networks to process data and communicate with one another. We are making huge forward strides on those standards – strides that will make the Internet experience faster, better and more secure. Last month, as North America ran out of a critical Internet addressing resource, we shared everything that Comcast is doing to get our network and our customers ready for "IPv6", the newer version of the Internet Protocol, which dramatically expands addressing capacity, while also strengthening security and performance. The Expo will also provide an opportunity to check in on DOCSIS 3.1, a new technical standard that will allow us to deliver gigabit-and-better speeds over our existing access network infrastructure.
Greener, Cleaner Networks – It’s my great honor to co-chair Energy 2020, our industry’s multi-year initiative to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of our networks and technologies. We’ve set aggressive goals, whether that’s shrinking power consumption by 20 percent on a unit basis, or reducing our dependence on the energy grid by 10 percent, and it’s going to take a strong collective effort to achieve and exceed them. On Wednesday, we’ll unveil all the work we’ve been doing as an industry toward hitting our Energy 2020 goals. And at the Energy 2020 Exhibit we’ll be showing real world examples of how we’re making our companies cleaner and more efficient. I’m particularly excited about a project Comcast announced with Bloom Energy earlier this year to power our facility in Berlin, Connecticut.
While what we’re talking about at the Expo may be very technical, the goal behind all of it is refreshingly simple. We want our customers to have the best Internet experience possible, with fast, reliable access to everything they want, when they want it, all the time. Making sure that happens means staying on the leading edge of network innovation, and effectively employing the smarter technologies that will transform today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities.