V. Where We Stand TodayAlthough it is premature at this time to know all the problems involved in such a network and understand all costs, there are reasons to suspect that we may not wish to build future digital communication networks exactly the same way the nation has built its analog telephone plant.
There is an increasingly repeated statement made that one day we will require more capacity for data transmission than needed for analog voice transmission. If this statement is correct, then it would appear prudent to broaden our planning consideration to include new concepts for future data network directions. Otherwise, we may stumble into being boxed in with the uncomfortable restraints of communications links and switches originally designed for high quality analog transmission. New digital computer techniques using redundancy make cheap unreliable links potentially usable. A new switched network compatible with these links appears appropriate to meet the upcoming demand for digital service. This network is best designed for data transmission and for survivability at the outset.
It is the purpose of the other volumes in this series to consider this new direction in more detail. The reader may wish to review ODC-XI as a more recent overview before reading the intervening papers.