Network Computing: Kill the Router, Build the WAN

Thanks to Bob
for this link.

“Right now, you probably have a router sitting on your network’s
every WAN connection. Most likely, it’s moving your data traffic
just as it should. And I bet it’s one of the least utilized devices
on your network. Even at T1 speeds, your router is forwarding just
a few thousand packets per second. Admirable in 1993, but in 1999
we’ve got DSU/CSUs that exhibit three times enough MIPS for this.
Any general-purpose computer purchased in the past five years could
adequately handle routing for the WAN.”

“Open interfaces don’t require manufacturers to give their code
base away, but rather simply to provide APIs to other processes.
Third-party code could run on the router in special-function cards
or on an external host. Nbase-Xyplex has taken a few steps toward
this goal with plans for the OSR8040, a large, carrier-class
switch/router that uses onboard Pentium processors to host Linux
for applications and provide high-level aggregate information to
third-party software. That’s a start, but it doesn’t go far

“If routers don’t open up, the more realistic option is a pure
play for Linux in the WAN. A Linux-based PC can host a wide variety
of applications, routing included, at a lower cost than going
proprietary–and it’s not as risky as you might think. As a
platform for Internet services, Linux has already been proven and
is the only network operating system worth considering here. It’s
leaner and more stable than Windows NT. It has a huge development
community–the size of which NetWare will never achieve. And no
other Unix can match its value for low-cost services.”