The Future of data communications system design

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Title: The Future of data communications system design
Author: Kellow, Kenneth
Abstract: The Information Technology universe and its data communications subset was created largely due to advances in integrated circuit technology. Primarily focused on layer 2 of the OSI model, silicon integration is a technology upon which much of data communications is constructed. Over the past forty years advances in integrated circuit technology have manifested themselves through shrinking structural dimensions and increases in performance. This combination of shrinking structural dimensions also known as circuit density, and performance increases, also known as circuit speed, have led to long term compound productivity increases and a seemingly never ending menu of data communications applications. Recent beneficiaries include 10/100 Ethernet systems, gigabit Ethernet systems, asynchronous transfer mode systems (ATM), synchronous optical network systems (SONET), and wireless systems. Some have argued that these density and speed improvements have doubled every eighteen months to two years over the past thirty to forty years and are directly responsible for the information age revolution in which we exist today. Others have projected that past integrated circuit productivity increases cannot continue indefinitely and that we may be approaching and end to integrated circuit compound productivity increases that fuel the information age. But does the purported end to compound silicon productivity increases mean an end to the growth of data communications systems or the larger role of information technology? Or are there other factors which may fill the role at the system level by using silicon in a more productive way? The statement of this thesis is that the end of compound silicon productivity will not be an important impact to data communications over the next five years.
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Date: 2002

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