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Networking team wages daily war.

NETWORKING TEAM WAGES DAILY WAR

Craig Lillemoen and Fred Veck consider their needs simple. They want an open, fast network supervised by trained people. So how can such simple needs get complicated?

Take the "open" part. That means interoperability and that requires standards. As Lillemoen puts it:

"Standards are a great thing to shoot for, but they take too long. The committees out there are too slow or there is too much delay in getting them published so there is a product.

"The longer a standard is negotiated, you start losing interest. Then something else appears on the horizon that is better, more robust, with more performance. Everybody forgets this standard and we wait another three years for another standard.

"It's very aggravating, and trying to adhere to anything out there is almost an impossibility."

As for "fast," the metropolitan area network at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter meets the goal. But like everyone else, Lillemoen and Veck will take all the speed they can get.

Trained people is a sore spot for Lillemoen.

"How do you train your technicians? How do you train people like Fred and me? There's not a person out there or training facility that gets into higher-level network designing and network engineering except for the seminars that cost thousands of dollars to go to," complains Lillemoen.

Besides faster standards and well-trained technicians, Lillemoen and Veck would like more of the following:

* MANAGEMENT: "It would be ideal if we could get everything to have an SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) interface. Then you could talk to any device, have something that polls them all," says Veck. "A program would poll all devices on an Ethernet every five minutes and report which are down."

* SPEED: "I alwasy would like a higher backbone speed," says Lillemoen. "I'm an old telco person and I believe strongly in a utility scenario. I've always believed tha tthe mechanism that underlies everything should be very transparent and have excess bandwidth, waiting for development.

* PROTOCOLS: "I would love to see fewer protocols on the network," says Lillemoen. "I can't wait for GOSIP to show up. I can't wait for OSI. I would like to get to TCP/IP right now. It's a known, working standard that's out there, so we should use it. We're finding out it's not as efficient or as robust as DECnet. But it gives you the interopratbility."
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Title Annotation:McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Words:396
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