My daughter is smart, social, attractive and…15. As you might imagine in between bouts of insomnia and some serious parenting introspection I spend a lot of time trying to figure out just exactly what makes her tick. And in some ways that’s not unlike the way a lot of us deal with the network.
For instance, this last week my family had a little discussion about Facebook. My wife and I were concerned about the way my daughter was using Facebook. The discussion centered largely around who was ‘friending’ who, etc. My typical Dad response, “Nobody is ‘friending’ anyone until you’re at least 18” wasn’t going to work this time, so we ended up using a different tactic. Mom and Dad had to be included in the circle of Facebook friends.
I then discovered a couple of interesting facts. First my daughter is smart, social, attractive, and incredibly witty. She writes some really funny stuff. But second, my wife and I have no understanding of how teenagers communicate online. When we grew up if you wanted to talk with your friends it was over the kitchen wall phone and if you were lucky it had one of those long extension cords on the headset.
So this little event also made me think about how we communicate in a larger way. The next-generation network is now about 15 years old and I wonder how many of us know how to communicate with it? For many out there in telecom, it can feel like we’re parents trying to communicate with a teenager.
Consider our very own MPLS network here at Level 3. More people are ‘friending’ (or connecting to) our MPLS network every day. But most of those people use the network in a limited way. They don’t take full advantage of everything it can do.
Depending on the service the network provides up to six different classes of service. But most users we see use just one or two. Class of service tagging is an excellent way to make sure different applications get the right type of connection. In fact as we start to run more things in the cloud it’s going to become even more critical that we use class of service. But like parents trying to communicate with teenagers, we often try to get them to do things in the same old way.
So, as my daughter has taught me in my latest parenting OJT session, there can be some really cool things waiting for you out in the network. We just have to get ourselves untangled from those coiled up extension cords.