LANs Over WANs
The surge in installations of LANs by corporations that began in 1983 transformed a “weed-like” phenomenon swelling departmental budgets into a corporate-wide strategic opportunity filled with the promise of competitive advantage. To leverage the full capability of LANs, however, meant that corporations had to connect all their computers to LANs and then interconnect all their LANs into one all-encompassing enterprise network. Entering 1987, the promise of enterprise networks remained just that: promising visions but hardly viable capital investments. But by the end of 1988, most of the issues had been resolved and the emergence of the third wave of computer communications – Internetworking – was underway.
The first public demonstration of how interconnecting LANs would revolutionize business was the MAP demonstration at NCC in July 1984. While successful, the participants also realized just how much more there was to do. A more ambitious demonstration of both the transport and network layers of the MAP and TOP OSI protocol stacks was scheduled for the Autofact trade show in 1985. Again much was learned and new goals were set that would culminate in another public demonstration in June 1988 at the Enterprise Networking Event.
The alternative to the OSI protocols were those that had been birthed and shepherded by DARPA: TCP/IP. Only the Federal Government, made clear in 1987 that in the future all networks would be interconnected using OSI not TCP/IP. A handful of renegades and vendors needing to ship product refused to abandon ship. At the Interop trade shows of 1988, TCP/IP proved robust and viable despite the decisions that OSI would be the future
Beginning as early as 1983, entrepreneurs were eyeing the interconnection of LANs as a virgin market opportunity. Venture capitalists, flush with money, readily agreed. The first products of internetworking were limited in functionality, needing the network layer protocols to truly provide transparent interconnection. By the end of 1988, the eventual dominant firms of Internetworking – cisco and Wellfleet – had begun shipping product and hundreds of competitors had entered the market.
The need of corporations to interconnect their computers also drove consolidation in the Data Communications and Networking markets. By the end of 1988 only Codex of all the firms observed in this history will escape transformation, mostly because they had continued to marginalize their market presence.
THE REMAINING SECTIONS OF THIS CHAPTER HAVE NOT BE UPLOADED!