Open Networking & Possible Open Hacking


Sandeep Singh

A picture containing outdoor object, web, clear Description automatically generated In an ironic twist to the question and answer for What is Open Networking, both contain the word open or are open in nature.

The very ‘open’ question is a clue to the core nature of the answer, before an answer is attempted or provided.

The answer in its essence is very open and will be largely dictated by the needs of large scale networks and how open networking vendors address those needs.

The world of cybersecurity is a big part of the answer, because open networking can present new types of computer hacking methods or more accurately router or network traffic hacking.

Let’s further delve into what open networking is and how is compares to the traditional model. Let’s also explore why on one hand it will open the doors of innovation and flexibility for large network operators and in tandem could potentially create dangerous exploits which could possibly bring networks to their knees.

An Infinite Construct Open to New and Fascinating Interpretations

The open nature of the answer pertaining to what is open networking, is unlikely to ever change, because network innovation is an infinite construct with networks constantly scaling in size, capacity needs, functionality, complexity and speed with new challenges needing new solutions.

Those solutions will in turn likely pose a new set of challenges and as a result, produce an infinite cycle of innovation and add new “open” components to the world of Open Networking.

In the grand scheme of things, Open Networkingis still relatively new, and it is evolving very rapidly.

The answer, especially for network professionals, is expected to be a wide and evolving one with so many different possible facets relating to the “network” becoming more “open”.

Open Networking Explained

Open Networking is intended for the likes of large network operators and enterprises to reach new heights when it pertains to open network solutions which offer flexibility, scalability, agility and interoperability.

These characteristics facilitate the rapid dissemination and implementation of custom tailored innovation.

There is a common agreed upon main idea behind open networking, and it is to move away from the traditional highly rigid “proprietary” driven model and separate network hardware and software to allow more flexibility, agility, to fuel business centric network customizations and optimizations. In simple terms flexibility is synonymous with many advantages that are simply impossible to ignore.

Vendors such as Cisco offer their hardware to work exclusively with their operating system, essentially removing any flexibility from the customer. The new model uses generic hardware which can work with many different software vendors to serve the various functions of the network and even customize solutions to meet specific business needs of customers.

Strong Parallel: CSPs, Cybersecurity, Pandemics, WFH & Web 3.0

In the current global pandemic mode, and the dramatic surge in the WFH – Work from Home trend, the reliance on highly reliable and responsive networks has increased dramatically. The compass is pointing toward this trend to persist in its overwhelming surge, especially with COVID-19’s current unrelenting nature going into 2022.

With network operators sending a loud and clear message that their needs consist of more customization and hence innovation, the software will continue to be the driving force in the “open” network in congruence with the open networking model.

The fact that malware can be designed to target these software entities which could each be a vital and essential component to network functionality could open a new and very challenging frontier in the world of cyber security.