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Homes to be dedicated to Net

Interop "IP dial tone" is the next wave of consumer Internet usage, Ipsilon Networks' founder says.

Interop LAS VEGAS, Nevada--IP dial tone, tech jargon for dedicated connections to the Internet from homes, will characterize the next generation of Internet usage, Ipsilon Networks founder Tom Lyon told attendees at the Spring Network+Interop '97 trade show here.

"Today's consumer Internet is not what anyone wants. Users don't like it, ISPs don't like it, phone companies don't like it," Lyon, Ispilon's chief technology officer, said in his morning keynote address. "For acceptable service and sustainable growth, we must abandon the dial-up model of Internet access."

By creating a permanent open channel to the Internet, IP dial tone can usher in an era of fully wired "houses of tomorrow" with multiple PCs, Internet appliances, radios, TVs, printers, phones, and fax machines--all connected to the Net, he predicted. Internet dial tone will create a single connection to services over the Internet, intranets, or corporate extranets.

For those building the infrastructure, Lyon declared that only three network protocols will matter: IP (as the key language), Ethernet (for local area networks), and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) for long distance connections. And IP switching, Ipsilon Networks' core technology as an alternative to routers, will tie them together, he predicted.

This IP dial tone network will extend today's technologies in business networks into the home, but the technologies must mature first in the business sector, Lyon said. He noted that fax machines, PCs, cellular phones, and pagers all migrated into the consumer market after winning acceptance in business use.

Because basic connectivity is becoming a $19.95-a-month commodity, Internet access providers must differentiate themselves with additional services: guaranteed bandwidth, low latency, reliability, enhanced privacy, or specialized content.

Consumers need such features to avoid frustrations, and ISPs need them to grab new sources of revenue. But consumers won't necessarily pay for those services, Lyon contended, because advertisers will.

Regulators must stop punishing telephone companies for their former monopolies, Lyon said, and telcos must stop turning to regulators to solve technology problems.

Users must insist on Internet services that make sense both to them and to service providers, he said, and technologists must focus on refining the Internet, not reinventing it.

"The Internet is moving too fast to be reinvented," he said.