Connectivity: Briefs

MIT scholars predict shift in telecom model

Keeping the Internet an open entity will depend largely on users’ abilities to set up ad hoc networks among themselves, instead of large telecommunications companies controlling the infrastructure, and therefore the bits that travel across it, according to some members of the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory.

Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus recently in Washington, a pair of Media Laboratory members shared with members of congress, Capitol Hill staffers, and IT industry members their vision of the future of telecommunications. With the emergence of new wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies, such as the IEEE 802.11 specification that lets users with the right equipment pass data back and forth across a short distance without requiring physical connections, device manufacturers that include such technology in their products are enabling users to create networks on their own.

IBM readies commercial grid software package

IBM Corp. revved up a commercial version of software based on open-source grid-computing protocols recently, furthering its efforts to push into the corporate world what has largely been a tool of scientific bodies.

IBM will ship a boxed set of software that includes version 2.0 of the Globus Toolkit along with documentation and installation scripts for the AIX and Linux operating systems. This move adds to IBM’s long-standing support for The Globus Project’s research into tools for linking servers and storage systems via grid protocols. Grid computing technology has been used by universities and research groups to join large pools of disparate computer resources. Instead of running software on one server, or even a cluster of servers, companies can link hardware located in different places around the world, creating what appears as a massive computer. Software can then be written to search for available computing resources anywhere on the grid, which, in theory, would help ensure computer power is used as efficiently as possible.

AT&T speeds expansion of its global network services

Twenty more areas in Europe, Asia and Latin America will receive access to services through AT&T Corp.’s Global Network this year under an accelerated deployment plan unveiled by the telecommunications company.

In its announcement, AT&T said it’s adding access to the global network more quickly than previously planned from another 20 telecommunications nodes to meet customer demand. Those 20 are in addition to 102 nodes already scheduled to be added to the company’s global network this year.