Thursday, January 21, 2010

The future of computing

A user told me that he absolutely HAD to have Wifi in his office (given the intolerable distance of 2m to the nearest LAN socket, yeah, right...). He couldn't use cable - Wifi is THE FUTURE, after all!!!1eleven!

Well, he got me thinking - what IS the future of computing? Given ubiquitous internet access via 3G, 4G, NTG, and the (coming sooner than you think!) switchover to IPv6... will there actually be a need to have a LAN anymore? With IPSEC built into IPv6 anyway, why make a difference between LAN, WAN and Internet?

Here's what I think will happen: The computer of the future (the laptop, in any case) is connected to the Internet all the time, wirelessly. It will have permanent access to all servers it needs to talk to, whether you're in the office or at home, or on a commuter train. Thanks to IPv6, there's no cumbersome VPN login needed, no NAT to overcome, you can connect to any server in any company just like you connect to a webserver on the Internet. Access to the servers is no longer controlled by VPN gateways, it's controlled on every server itself - you'll have a digital certificate to authenticate you with the server, and the traffic will be encrypted. There'll be no sharp border anymore between company networks and "The Internet", which of course also means there'll be no sharp borders anymore between working on the company network and "websurfing", and in the end, no sharp border between work time and free time - but I'll leave that discussion to somebody else ;-)