Enterprise networks built even a few years ago are already outdated. The pace of mobility is changing enterprise campus networks, and today these networks need to be converged solutions that enable enterprises to deliver high-performance applications anytime and anywhere.
The reasons can be found in two big trends. First is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, which has taken the corporate world by storm and enabled workers of all types to move beyond the office cubicle. The second is the software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) model that is quickly moving most business functions to the cloud, even if that cloud is just a private enterprise cloud.
This is a good thing for business. Studies have shown that a mobility-enabled worker contributes up to 240 more hours of work per year, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) posting, Unify Your Network for a Mobile Enterprise. But it means enterprises, particularly those looking to leverage the benefits of BYOD, need a unified access solution to support it.
“Beyond creating campus-wide Wi-Fi access, enabling a mobile enterprise means providing ubiquitous connectivity and simple access: employees – or any user in the network – are provided with quality access to whatever applications they need, anywhere, anytime, on any device,” noted the paper.
But many networks are not ready for this transformation. They were created to handle static, predictable traffic flows that originated mostly from wired devices with much lower bandwidth requirements.
According to Alcatel-Lucent, enterprises need to ensure their networks can meet three main conditions in order to be ready for the mobility revolution.
First, they must be able to support a wide variety of devices, both wired and wireless. Given how quickly some of the newer devices have exploded in popularity, the network needs to be ready to handle new devices that haven’t even hit market yet.
Second, the network needs to be able to support a large number of VoIP, video, virtual desktop and collaboration applications that now are essential for many enterprises—and will be in the next couple years if they aren’t already. Network planners need to keep in mind that many of these applications are bandwidth-heavy, especially video.
Third and perhaps most importantly, enterprise networks need to support devices and applications in a mobile environment.
“Employees no longer sit in one fixed location all day long, they frequently move about the campus and need to have good connectivity and identical quality of experience wherever they are,” noted the paper by Alcatel-Lucent. “Traffic patterns are no longer predictable and the network must adjust constantly.”
Many enterprise networks are not yet ready for the challenge. Given the speed at which enterprise communications are going mobile, now is the time for consideration of the best means for meeting the requirements for making sure the infrastructure can properly accommodate not just present but future demands.
Edited by Peter Bernstein