We live in times when Facebook, Twitter and Google dominate our everyday digital life. We seem to rarely think of the companies that set up the core that helped the humongous, incredibly fast exchange of messages, mails, songs and files buzzing across the planet at high speed from small devices such as your smartphone.
Thoughts of what I call the “deep Internet” came back last week when I met Pradeep Sindhu, one of the Internet’s less visible but very influential doyens. It was in 1996 that the IIT-Kanpur-educated Sindhu founded Juniper Networks as its chief technology officer. Juniper went on to compete with Cisco Systems in network gear, particularly in high-speed routers. You can imagine these routers like giant policemen directing data traffic across the planet’s vast networks of computers that plug into the Internet. Except that these routers are deceptively small boxes – and increasingly driven more by software than hardware components.