The "universal network" is the idea of a single network that integrates the existing voice and public telecommunications network (including the Internet), cable TV, data networks, and video broadcast networks so that they work together well. Currently, each has a different kind of traffic and the older networks bear the burden of an out-of-date infrastructure. For example, the public voice network supports connections of phone-call duration and circuit-switching (although the same network also supports connectionless traffic and packet-switching for data). The video broadcast and cable TV networks deliver mainly the higher-bandwidth continous-flow traffic of streaming video and sound.
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Juniper Networks planned something close to a universal network in a fiber-optic network that includes very fast (multigigabit) switches using microchips customized for Internet traffic. The microchips included application-specific (ASIC) circuits made by IBM. The switches used wave-division multiplexing (WDM).
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