Modern navigation systems such as those available in cars, smartphones, and high-tech gadgets have become immensely popular. They efficiently guide you to your destination with real-time information. It is cumbersome and unsafe to look at paper maps while driving. Also, one does not need to stop and ask for directions anymore.
The reason navigation systems such as Google Maps are so accurate is because they use past, present, and future information effectively.
Navigation systems can enable the user to find closest locations of interest. They can redirect users on alternate paths when there are traffic jams. These same principles can be used by a network. Utilizing past, present, and future traffic information can enable network devices to route packets on network links efficiently.
Just as modern navigation systems have reimagined and replaced paper maps – we need a way to rethink networks. Legacy networking protocols such as EIGRP, OSPF, BGP, and their extensions are good at conveying connectivity. However, they are not good at conveying capacity, performance, and service needs. DNS-SD, DHCP, SLP, and other protocols enable service discovery but lack knowledge of path preference. OpFlex, NIC, OpenStack Congress, and others convey application intent but lack knowledge of network state. OVSDB, eAPI, and other protocols provide programmatic control and integration but lack real-time network knowledge. Each of these solutions perform a single task but are unable to integrate past, present, and future network information to provide a solution.
Many companies like Facebook, Google, and others have built their own systems to convey real-time information on capacity and performance of pathways to make these decisions. Some have even eliminated traditional routing protocols within their networks.
Extending existing protocols to perform additional tasks has usually been the norm for network innovation. This leads to solutions mired in complexity that are prone to errors and impossible to debug.
Network innovation must imbibe skills from big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and high speed in-memory databases to integrate past, present, and future information.
Modern navigation systems have become a part of newer automobiles guiding them on existing roadways. Networks can work in a similar fashion with existing routing protocols doing what they do with the added intelligence from past, present, and future information to send packets efficiently.
Modern applications revolving around 5G, IoT, and cloud require networks to find efficient pathways to be responsive. There is a dire need for a navigation system for networks which combines past, present, and future information. Packets can reach their destinations today. However, they could get there by utilizing better pathways during times of congestion. Next time you are in a traffic jam and find yourself reaching out to your favorite navigation system to find an alternative route – remember the same can be done with your network!