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2008: Bigger Networks and the DNS Boogyman

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Looking Back at 2008

What a year for networking! No, not on Facebook or LinkedIn, but in how people actually connected to the Internet before they hooked into their social networks.

This year, the networking industry faced down its most serious security challenge in the last twenty years. In addition, 2008 will be noted as the year in which the world’s biggest networking vendor launched a barrage of new product lines, and when IPv6 (define) became a matter of public policy. Plus, we saw the future of high speed networking truly revealed.

In day 3 of’s week-plus look at the top stories, events and issues of all things tech in 2008, we highlight some of the networking advances that hummed away underneath all that social networking chatter.

One word: Kaminsky

The Kaminsky DNS flaw was a major event in 2008. Why? Because the threat it presented to DNS went to the core of how networks and the Internet function. Dubbed the Kaminsky DNS flaw after security researcher Dan Kaminsky revealed the vulnerability, the problem, if not repaired, could have left hundreds of millions of people at risk of malicious code and network problems.

Networking vendors and application vendors alike rallied to Kaminsky’s cry and put out a short term solution. The long-term solution was DNSSEC (DNS Security Extentions). As a result of the Kaminsky flaw detection, the protocol got a much needed shot in the arm and industry efforts are now underway to get it implemented.

Networking Vendors Roll Big Iron

The world’s largest networking vendor by revenue, Cisco had a big year in 2008. It began by rolling out an ambitious new switching platform, the Nexus. At a time when many in the technology industry assume that commodity silicon and microprocessors are the way to go, Cisco sunk $250 million into a new routing platform.

The Cisco Nexus, which debuted in March, is powered by Cisco’s own Quantum Flow processor. Cisco Chambers also embarked on a new Linux strategy in April 2008. The Cisco Application eXtension Platform (AXP) plugs in the Cisco’s ISR platform, which provide users with a Linux application server.

But Cisco’s competitors also busted a few moves of their own in 2008. Juniper Networks jumped into the switching business and challenged Cisco for business in the high speed networking space. Alcatel-Lucent changed its leadership and Nortel Networks continued to shed dollars and staff.

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