The Future of Networking in Higher Education

August 31, 2005

Networking’s history has been breathtaking. The 1980s promise of information “anytime and anywhere” has been achieved and surpassed. Siebel Systems’ tag line updates this promise succinctly: the network provides “what you need, when you need it.” Where the computer has indeed evolved into a sophisticated tool to compute and to store and edit files that reside on our desktops (and much, much more), the emergence of networking and the Internet have extended the computer’s reach and indeed have recast the computer as a communication tool. It is a tool for looking outward as well as inward. Sun Microsystems’ Bill Joy makes the point forcefully: “Disconnected from the network, my computer is nearly as useless as a cell phone in an area with no cellular service.”1

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