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Stock and Looking Forward
the year 2000 well past us, it is time for some introspection
on what we in India have achieved in the last 12 months. Particularly
with reference to the knowledge industries. Notwithstanding
the NASDAQ crash and the dot com bust, the biggies such as
Wipro and Infosys have grown bigger, creating scores of rupee
millionaires, even as human resource problems continue to
adversely affect the IT industry as a whole.
the networking and telecom segments seem to have done pretty
well, in spite of upheavals. The communications industry is
always mired in controversies as telecoms are a highly politicalized
subject in India as in the rest of the world. But yet, reforms
have happened at regular intervals egged on by the interference
of the prime minister's office. To name the key events--the
privatization of the domestic long distance sector, the preponement
of the deadline to review VSNL's overseas monopoly, the reincarnation
of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as Bharat Sanchar
Nigam Ltd (BSNL), the introduction of cyber laws and subsequent
recognition to digital signatures, the setting up of international
gateways by private ISPs and finally, the preliminary approval
to the Convergence Bill.
fixed line network services continue to grow at snail's pace,
marred by lack of fresh investment and additional subscribers.
But the recent announcement by the regulator permitting them
to offer mobility using wireless in local loop technology,
promises to alter the complexion of the whole scene, much
to the chagrin of the cellular industry.
the user segment, the most exciting thing to look forward
to is the bandwidth bonanza. With both the government and
private players laying fiber optic cables, the infrastructure
scenario looks good. For all one knows, couple of years down
the line, it could even lead to a bandwidth glut as there
aren't enough applications to consume this bandwidth.
the other hand, the networking market has been growing at
a healthy 50 per cent plus, although it is a nascent, price-sensitive
market. Companies such as Cisco and Enterasys Networks, a
Cabletron-owned venture, have clocked extremely good growth
cashing in on business opportunities in areas such as data
centers and call centers. In fact, the exit of yet another
major player 3Com from the high-end networking market has
augured well for Entreaty's, catapulting it to the number
one slot at least as far as the switching market goes.
Nortel Networks clearly set to push optical networking and
voice over IP solutions, and Lucent looking at wireless LAN
solutions, there is much excitement in the market for these
to think of it, wireless in the enterprise is a very big opportunity
for both vendors and CIOs to offer anytime connectivity to
corporate customers. No wonder even big companies like Cisco
Systems, Nortel Networks and Ericsson are betting on wireless
solutions. Recently Cisco acquired a technology-driven California-based
small company called ExiO Communications Inc, which specializes
in providing wireless solutions for corporate networks based
on the CDMA standard.
the 802.11b wireless LAN standard coming up to the forefront,
wireless infrastructure is getting deployed in many parts
of the world. Developments in new areas such as High Performance
Radio LAN called as HiperLAN and Bluetooth, of which much
has already been written about in the trade press, are enabling
high-speed applications on WLANs.
plenty of cellular phones waiting to get Internet-enabled,
there is a great demand for mobility in general. As the trend
in the Western World indicates, hundreds of users will require
connectivity between their laptops, mobile handsets, and LAN
access points. WLANs hold great promise as a means to make
this dream come true. Read more about WLANs in our focus feature
this issue. We also encourage you to direct all your technical
queries that may come up while implementing your LAN/WAN or
whatever to us. Bangalore-based online support company Qsupport
Technologies will provide the responses.