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Figuring out what networking technologies you need

These days, your network must move your data from where it’s gathered to where it’s analyzed, then to where it fuels automated operations and real-time decisions. And your network must do this at scale, at speed, and securely across multiple devices, data centers, services, clouds, and, increasingly, edges of clouds — at all the times and in all the places where you conduct business.

How can you achieve this sort of end-to-end networking?

And how do you really know if or when you need the emerging technologies I mentioned in my last post — 5G, Wi-Fi 6, CBRS, SDN, intent-based networking, cloud-native functions, or AI/machine learning — that seem to promise so much?

For some answers, start with more questions:

What if we could…?

Take a step back from the day-to-day and pipedream for a moment. Would your business benefit from, say, a 5G network able to connect vehicles and physical infrastructure? How about using Wi-Fi 6 to achieve a significantly higher density of much faster devices? Or how about ___[fill in this blank]?

Can this new technology…?

Next, match up your what ifs with the capabilities of the network technologies you’re considering — by answering more questions:

  • Performance: can the technology meet your latency, resilience, and flexibility requirements?
  • Throughput: does the technology have the appropriate capacity for your needs?
  • Security: does the technology support network segmentation, policy enforcement, authentication, and strong encryption?
  • Range: does the technology cover the right distances to meet your needs?
  • Strength: is the technology widely supported by core vendors across industries? Is it open source?
  • Maturity: is the technology stable, proven, and available with multiple device options?
Are we ready?

It’s one thing to figure out what you want, but quite another to actually get it — particularly if your network infrastructure is not yet ready for the new capabilities you require to stay competitive.

So you need to ask: what is the current state of our network? Where does it fall short?

The right expertise when you need it

If any of these questions seem unanswerable to you, this likely means you could use some expert, dedicated help.

I recommend you seek out a vendor-neutral data network technology consultant with the experience and technical chops to…

  • Understand the current state of your network;
  • Define the capabilities that best enable your network to meet the demands currently placed on it by your business;
  • Anticipate the capabilities your network will need (and when) so your business stays competitive going forward; and
  • Design, deploy, and/or manage your network to optimize performance, reliability, and security while minimizing cost — and unplanned downtime.
Tim Burke
Meet the Author

Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.