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A national network of bridges

Just how close to a seamless worldwide network of networks can we get? By Vanessa Knivett.

With phrases like 'ubiquitous connectivity' abounding and the predicted proliferation of devices that will breach network boundaries, there is a lot of interest in how the technical dilemma, provoked by the huge variety of network standards and protocols, will be solved.

Competing network standards and protocols are in evidence at a wide area level (dsl, cable, 3G etc.), at the local area level (802.11, Hplug, Home RF, HPNA, CE Bus etc.) and personal area level (CAN, USB, Bluetooth, 1394). There is much discussion about which of these standards – if any - will dominate. It is a challenge that is now topping the agenda of some of the largest companies in this business. The industry is coming to terms with the fact that these standards will, in reality, co-exist for many years. Indeed, the day when only a handful of these standards serve all the networks is unforseeable at the moment.

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Graham Pitcher

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