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Thanksgiving Reflection

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

As I look to Thanksgiving, my immediate thanks naturally goes to my family and the wonderful gifts they have all given me.  This blog, however, is focused on my professional observations--so it is appropriate in this space to reflect on my thanks for the perpetual gift given to me thirty years ago:  The gift of this industry, the gift that keeps giving.

In 1983, I was fortunate to be hired by a small telecom company in Middletown RI called Avanti Communications.  Some of you know that 1983 was also the year that Judge Harold Greene made the landmark ruling that broke AT&T into the seven regional Bell companies.  This decision set in motion the industry as we know it today.  It ushered in long-distance competition and the idea of private networks.  Most of all, it was the starting gun for innovation in telecom and internet technologies (Cisco was founded 5 years later) and Avanti was in the middle of that early revolution.  Avanti had some brilliant employees who later spread out into the industry and had significant impact in many different areas of the business--from building important companies like Newbridge, to developing innovative products like the Juniper E Series which handles a huge chunk of the edge routing infrastructure in today’s internet. 

 Locally, our partner Atrion was founded by two of my former colleagues at Avanti: Charlie Nault and Tim Hebert.  At Avanti, I was hired at first to be in Tech Support, handling trouble calls and dialing in to network nodes that handled applications like Pan Am’s voice reservations, the printing of the Wall Street Journal and Reuter’s trading network.  The T-1 multiplexer we had developed was highly innovative and one of the first software controlled devices of its kind.  It was interesting to be hired without any experience but my hiring manager stated that no one had any so he just had to find people who could learn quickly and adapt.  A number of my colleagues from Avanti are still in contact with me, and a couple of them have become my best friends in the world. 

Aside from the people, this gift includes the wonderful aspect of being able to participate in technology evolution and, in some cases, revolution.  I have always been fascinated by technology, and what better seat could I have been given to witness the amazing technical innovations which produced what we now enjoy as high speed internet? I have witnessed complete life cycles for technologies like modems, ISDN, SNA and on and on.  We used 2.4Kbps dial modems at Avanti and now I am looking at how soon we will implement 100Gbps Dense Wave Division Multiplexed fiber links into our network. Again, the gift that keeps on giving.

Thirty years later, the perpetual gift has presented me with a new offering here at OSHEAN and I can truly say thanks again!

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