Friday, May 15, 2009

An interesting conversation with a traveller in Bali

I had an interesting poolside conversation with "Jeff" at a resort in Bali. He works for Juniper networks, setting up core networks for huge accounts overseas. He told me of the $400 million project in Malaysia that will go on for the next 3 years, and about his project in Brazil. He said that he's gotten used to the long flight back that he takes monthly, but hey, how bad could business class be? More importantly he mentioned that Cisco's IOS is outdated - that engineers left there after being turned away with (then) cutting edge ideas of using ASICS (specialized integrated circuits as opposed to generalized processors) in routers. They maintain a monsterous market share and provide lots of enterprise services (like voice and conferencing over IP). It was weird to hear him refer to enterprise accounts as the small ones (compared to major telecoms and infastructure).

Poking into Jeff's past revealed a masters degree in Electrical Engineering, a CCIE certification about 10 years ago (distinguish youself - don't mess around with the little ones, he said), and "various others". I guess he did some defense contracting at the Pentagon earlier as well. But I got the usual, "certs and education get you in the door...specialize and learn the industry to move up" explanation.

So why mention any of this here? It's all about infrastructure! First, it used to surprise me that I get a 100 megabit Internet connection at home in Korea. That's not fast in terms of network equipment and Korea is on the cutting edge. Heck, I'm getting 700k at the resort in Bali! He was talking about OC768 (40 gigabit) core routing equipment in Malaysia! There's plenty of fiber under the ocean! We, the US, have piles of legacy equipment that we're dealing with. These new countries coming online get to engineer their solutions properly and deal with the latest and greatest! Mr. Obama - if you're reading this, I think investing in our digital infastructure would make a great part of the stimulus package! Our industrial control networks will benefit from such upgrades.

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