Stories by Kevin Tolly

Minimising the video monster on your network

Like so many things, corporate video-over-IP has been heralded as the next big thing for some time now. And, like so many technology breakthroughs before it, IP video is finally entering many companies through the back door — the employee.

Fast broadband: hype vs reality gap remains

The rebirth of AT&T and its sudden expansion by gobbling up BellSouth, has again propelled next-generation broadband services to the front page of The Wall Street Journal. And it is not just DSL and cable vendors vying for supremacy. Verizon is investing heavily in fibre to the home (FTTH)) to boost bandwidth. At the same time, other companies are poised to leverage next-generation IEEE 802.16 WiMAX wireless to deliver metropolitan bandwidth without ditch-digging. Ultimately, we’ll choose from among them — but on what basis?

Is OASIS in a document desert?

Worried about dealing with .doc, .xls and .ppt files? Probably not — but the people at OASIS think you should be. OASIS has been at work since 2002 building up an open alternative to proprietary office file formats under its OpenDocument Format initiative. But what does all this mean to you?

Stackable switches: measured performance

As we close in on 2006, LAN switching has been a part of enterprise networks for years. Typically, as technology matures the focus moves away from “speeds and feeds” to other areas. Although many switches boast impressive features in areas such as QoS, virtual LANs and availability, raw throughput never leaves the scene.

Skype: hazardous to network health?

While not exactly a low-profile endeavour before its recent acquisition by eBay, Skype is sure to be an even greater presence on the internet and on home computers — and most likely on your corporate network. But can Skype be hazardous to your network’s health?

A walk on the WLAN wild side

FRAMINGHAM (01/16/2004) - Among other things over the recent Christmas break, I read Michael Crichton's techno-thriller Prey about malevolent technology and also got involved in testing proprietary, high-speed wireless LANs. The former is (no surprise) a story of good technology "gone bad" -- but wait . . . so was the latter. Such is the world on the wild side of WLANs.

Over the top 'down under'

FRAMINGHAM (11/05/2003) - Try as I might, I just can't seem to get away from "the Microsoft question." In the midst of a September spell in Australia, I saw what to date has been the most over-the-top attack on Microsoft Corp.- characterizing the company, courtesy of its security bugs, as a danger to the government and citizens of Australia.

Orchestrate your LAN

FRAMINGHAM (10/23/2003) - The economy seems to be coming back to life and much of the technology overkill that helped our networks survive a few tough years is being used up. Yet, if any one lesson was learned, it was that, for the foreseeable future, we'd need to "orchestrate" our LANs very carefully - optimizing assets and choosing compatible architectures.

Testing anti-spam products can be done

FRAMINGHAM (09/25/2003) - After worms, spam is easily the bane of existence for an increasing number of users - corporate and home alike. It is more than a full-time job to keep track of all the new spammer tricks.

Words matter

A contemporary version of the existential credo "I think, therefore I am" must be "I run spell check, therefore I write." For, all too often, passing a spell check is the best that can be said of some technical writing.

Windows 2000 Server: unsinkable

Look closely at the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server ads screaming about five nines. Find the asterisk and read the fine print. I did.

Thin clients and stormy weather

Given the booming application service provider marketplace, it's clear network professionals are finding compelling reasons to outsource their IT headaches.