Standards – or no standards?

Monday, May 22 2017


Steve Saunders, founder of Light Reading, held a greeting speech on “Order from chaos” @ Big Communications Event (BCE)

Last week we had two major events in the USA: ITW in Chicago and BCE in Austin. I attended the later as an invited speaker and an interested listener to others. Of all the things I heard and saw one thing really stood out: The lack of clear standards. (With standards I include ways to interconnect between networks, ways to connect IoT devices and all other interconnections you need to have when you partly or fully virtualize your network.)

What really makes this discussion interesting is that everyone has a different opinion about this. Some believe the lack of standards will create a total chaos – that if everything has to be proprietary and designed uniquely for just that company it will cost the industry a lot of extra money, while others really believe that every second you spend on thinking about what standard should be agreed is a wasted second on getting to where you want with your network.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Clearly, some companies would never be where they are if they would have waited for the community to agree on some standards while I can also see some vendors having to design new costly solutions for each of their customers, thus not really finding any scale advantage.

Where will this end up? Hard to say. There are a number of initiatives to set some standards but there are also companies who do not mind throwing in some twenty software engineers to solve their problems quick. As long as these companies will grow their need of services and equipment their current and future suppliers have to decide: Is it worth it or not? I think most will end up with the conclusion that for now, it is worth it.