19 July 2015

Rewriting the economic equations of Internet

We are moving towards a highly connected age, characterised by the complex interplay between social dynamics and telecommunications-ICT infrastructures.

Network Science will have a role in contributing to the challenge of rewriting economic equations of Internet and viceversa economic forces shape the evolution of technology.

Actually, considering technology acceleration, it’s easy to imagine future telecommunication infrastructures becoming like "spaces" of virtual resources, with diversified s/w functions, features and characteristics, capable of meeting dynamically any market demands for services.

The borders between the network and the Data Centers (either Cloud or Edge Computing) will progressively disappear, or better high capacity and self-reconfigurable network connections will be able to hook ensembles of hybrid Virtual Data Centers, partly decentralised. And also the future terminals will be part of this "space", as embedding more and more processing, storage and networking capabilities.

Current OSS/BSS cannot cope with this evolution, due to the growing complexity and scalability requirements, and the need of automated Operations.

So, one of the most important challenges will be developing systems and methods for the "real-time management" of network and service resources in such "spaces" where making overprovisioning of connectivity rather than just overprovisioning bandwidth. Overprovision connectivity pays off better: it allows creating very large numbers of topologies to choose dynamically, programming and controlling the QoS near the Users.

Today, the overprovision connectivity in a network is more expensive than overprovision capacity, but tomorrow the equation may change. In a Data Center, we have already overprovisioning of connectivity, but the story is different: DC network covers a relatively small fraction of the cost, compared to server, electricity and cooling costs. So overprovisioning connectivity makes economic sense (by the way, in DC, traffic demands are quite volatile and not well understood, so it is strictly necessary to overprovision connectivity; on the other hand, traffic fluctuation on a network is over time rather than space, thus today is mitigated by capacity overprovisioning). But tomorrow it will be another story.

Once we have achieved that, we'll be able to rewrite the economic equations of Internet, with far reaching implications for the Digital Society.