Is it time to change the shape of the network?

Is it time to change the shape of the network?

The cloud is allowing businesses to change their shape and the way they operate on a day to day basis – and that also has implications for the network.

The dependency of organisations on IT – from large multinational corporations to SMBs with just a handful of staff, has increased to the point where they are now entirely reliant on their systems and connectivity to support everyday business activity. Increasingly, they are also dependent on the cloud.

The added flexibility that mobile technology and the cloud have brought means that this reliance now reaches far and wide. There is an expectation that we can use everything, everywhere. That we can access productivity and line-of-business apps, data and services, anytime, anywhere and on any device. And it is not just about corporate networks and workers anymore. Such is the penetration and ubiquity of mobile and smart technologies now, that these expectations are held by every user in every shape and size of business.

As a result, businesses are changing the way they work and changing their shape. The traditional nine-to-five working day is being abandoned. Even smaller firms are becoming more fluid and virtual. Office space is being used more flexibly and hot-desking is becoming the norm. We even see many SMBs and young companies using managed services offices, such as those offered by WeWork or Tech Space, where employees can come and go as they please.

Flood defences

All of this has made good, reliable, constantly-available and adaptable connectivity even more vital. The changes to workforce culture and working practices mean that one day there could be very little strain on an internal network, the next it could be flooded with connections, with users expecting good response rates on multiple devices. The wireless network and the underlying infrastructure must be capable of coping with these vast and sudden fluctuations in usage.

At the same time, the rise of mobile and home working means there is also a great dependency on users being able to connect, not only into on-premises systems, but also to cloud-based solutions and services. While they can’t really control the quality and speed of external connectivity services, what businesses must do is ensure that any remote connections are always properly authenticated and secure. Much of this multi-faceted challenge can be addressed by building more flexibility and consistency of service into networks. Making use of the advanced monitoring and management capabilities of the latest generation of wireless and wired network devices will also make a significant difference.

Consistent coverage

Zyxel’s latest range of networking solutions can be used to provide coverage that is more consistent across an entire building or area. Band steering capabilities and even adaptive wireless technology (Smart Antenna) will help to reduce congestion issues when there is a surge in WiFi connections.

The auto-configuration and cloud management capabilities of our latest Nebula switches, WiFi access points and security gateways make it easier to deploy, monitor and control network devices. This would allow a network administrator or a managed services provider to adjust settings as required, according to the current needs of users, at any time, from any location. This could be done using any device, even a smartphone.

They could also rapidly and cost-effectively deploy new network equipment if and when that was required, setting the configuration in advance to be applied, automatically, as soon as the new device was connected. By channelling them through a VPN, the connections of mobile workers could be fully secured.

These new technologies make networks more adaptable and more capable of matching the need for businesses to change their shape and meet the expectations of users.

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