From Channels to Packets: Is the Mission Possible?

Manfred Schneps-Schneppe


The confrontation between two telecommunications technologies – packet switching and circuit switching – has a long history and, it seems, will not stop in the foreseeable future. This problem is discussed using examples from two socially significant areas of the United States: emergency services and defense information systems, as well as from the field of microelectronics (network-on-a-chip). The history of unsuccessful attempts to switch to packet switching in the field of emergency services is outlined. Similar failures with the transition to packet switching in the field of defense information systems have already happened, namely: the ISDN technology was retained in government Defense Red Switch Network and hybrid ATM technology in intelligence information network JWICS and satellite control network AFSCN; the failure of the JRSS security stack program on the NIPRNet and SIPRNet email networks; The Joint Strike Fighter program was suspended due to cyber vulnerabilities in the software of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

As a result, we can assume that in terms of creating complex systems based on IP protocols and, moreover, cyber-invulnerable, humanity has reached the limits of what is possible. That the time has come to reflect on the feasibility of the very slogan "Everything over Internet Protocol" and look for solutions for the joint work of two technologies – packet switching and circuit switching.


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