I know. It’s something easy to picture in our minds. How many of us made a telephone as kids with a couple of empty cans tethered by some old kite string? I also remember using paper cups to make that connection.
Connection? You probably thought I was going to say a “call” or “phone call”. No, I want to talk about the evolution of connections. In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first electronic voice connection with his assistant. “Watson, come here… I need you.” Those are the famous words that started the evolution of connections. It may have not been the shot that was heard around the world, but the image of the first call is easier to visualize.
Connections have grown rapidly. How many people reading this blog even know what a beeper looks like? So let’s revisit those connections. Telephone poles and lines sprung up all over the country, connecting relationships, and then later business relationships. The first satellite was called Sputnik and was launched by the former Soviet Union in October of 1957. Many were fearful of the satellite, but soon we found satellites bringing us audio and video connections from around the world. AT&T launched Telstar in 1962. I have satellite radio in my car and satellite TV at the house now.
Connections come in many electronic forms. We have analog and digital (remember the fax machine?). Not only are people connected, but computers connect personal and business relationships. Businesses have to manage multiple and evolving devices and technologies. Until the communications standard of the Internet Protocol was established, businesses had to manage multiple cans. OK, I’m back to those cans, but what are they?
Cans are multiple networks. We used to have to manage our local cans, our long distance cans, and the cans to connect our computers and locations together. Cans come in many forms. Some still manage a local voice network, a separate long distance calling network, point to point private lines, and perhaps a frame relay network for computers to do their thing. Connecting doohickeys to whatamacallits for the thingamajigs to flow… You can tell I am very technical.
But you don’t have to be that technical to understand Convergence. That is where we combine all those cans into one connection. Since we now have the internet protocol, all those “cans” can now be combined into one MPLS ((Multi-Packet Layered Protocol) network. Are you familiar with what is called a Virtual Private Network or VPN? This particular Can “can” make managing multiple networks less complex and expensive by managing just one network.
Just now I realized I have never made that first connection with my kids. I think I will empty out a couple of cans of beans and grab some kite string when I get home. Who cares if the next generation can’t visualize a beeper, but that first can and string call is a good memory. I look forward to our next discussion about managing all those cans.
Like Cans and String? Here are some others in the series from this author: