DIRC, IndraNet and other munchkins

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From: Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 11:04:25 PST


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That seems to be the tenet of Internet time, and German RCFoC reader
Jrg-Oliver Todamm proves the point to us yet again.

Last issue we contemplated "The Swarm Effect," of a large number of
tiny "relay points" carried or scattered across the landscape; they
would then provide a self-organized communications network with no
central "company" in control
(http://www.compaq.com/rcfoc/20000228.html#_Toc475958970). This week,
Jrg-Oliver points us to DIRC.

DIRC stands for Digital Inter Relay Communications, and is also the
name of the German company that plans to make it so. In their words
(http://www.dirc.net/):

    "DIRC turns current telecommunication network ideas upside down,
    because customers operate the DIRC network practically by
    themselves... Every DIRC subscriber owns a radio modem
    connection, which merges independently [into] a network with
    [other] neighborhood ... DIRC stations...

    The basic idea of DIRC is a self learning, intelligent, and self
    organizing network of small transmitting and receiving base
    stations."

Basically, the more DIRC transceivers that people buy and turn on, the
more robust, and the greater capacity, of the resulting network. And
it's completely ad hoc, with no centralized network management -- the
DIRC network self-configures as DIRC transceivers come, go, and are
moved. The result of their vision would be a user-owned network with
"no time and distance dependent fees."

Lest we think that DIRC is a one-of-a-kind anomaly chasing an
improbable dream, New Zealand RCFoC readers Ralph Boardman and Hamish
MacEwan point out that IndraNet
(http://www.indranet-technologies.com/), too, is pursuing just such an
"infrastructureless" network.

I gather that the DIRC and IndraNet networks are still somewhat in the
future, but it's very clear that some people are getting ready to
challenge the networking status quo. These radical networks may not
seem feasible for any number of technical and business reasons -- but
that's also what traditional telecommunications executives were saying
about the Internet just a few years ago!

These days, the "impossible" takes only a little longer...


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