Category Archives for "Network World LAN & WAN"

IDG Contributor Network: Stay smart as you approach the edge

Fundamental to harnessing the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the need for decisions to be made in real time, and it’s in addressing this that discussions have turned to the subject of edge computing over recent years.Before the data generated by myriad of connected IoT devices is sent to the centralized cloud, edge computing sees it stored and processed locally, in distributed micro-clouds at the edge of the network, closer to where the devices are placed, and the data produced. Doing so cuts down on the need for data traffic to be back-hauled to and from a remote data center, thus making it ideal for supporting the real time data delivery required by the IoT.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Carrier SD-WAN: SD-WAN should be more than just an MPLS complement

Is it only me who finds it just a bit dubious that carriers are advocating SD-WAN? SD-WAN was practically invented to get away from the clutches of carriers, and now we're supposed to trust them to be the stewards of WAN transformation?Carriers lost that privilege when their business model grew out-of-step with how we do business. We grew tired of being charged double Internet prices for MPLS capacity. In an era of self-service, carriers were still making us wait to troubleshoot problems. And we were astonished that new MPLS circuits could take weeks, even months, to bring into a new site when you could often get started with broadband in a matter of days and upgrade to DIA when ready.To read this article in full, please click here

Li-Fi gets office-install at Philips lighting

Broadband data-over-light, sent through lighting fixtures commonly seen in commercial buildings, moves a step closer to possible mass adoption through an apparently functioning smart-office installation in Paris.Li-Fi uses light waves for data communications, as opposed to Wi-Fi, which uses microwave radio. Li-Fi has 10,000 times Wi-Fi radio’s RF spectrum, experts say. The pilot installation by Philips is at a French real-estate company’s office.Philips Lighting, the giant lighting-system maker, says it is now offering Li-Fi modems installed within its existing LED luminaires, such as its downlighters. A luminaire is the building-industry term for a complete lighting fixture.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Managing and securing the corporate WAN is the top challenge for network professionals

In December 2017, Versa Networks in tandem with Dimensional Research conducted a survey examining hundreds of participants across five continents with the primary goal of capturing how companies are managing and securing their network across branch locations. In addition, the research also investigated the expected benefits and challenges of a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and revealed trends when compared to a similar survey conducted in 2016.The survey found that network administrators face many hurdles when it comes to their organization’s WAN. Increasing costs due to the growing traffic volume over existing MPLS networks represented a major headache, followed by information security risks at the branch that could later erupt into a cyberattack or data breach.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Say goodbye to spring cleaning

As spring finally rolls around and the frost melts away (except here in New England), the change in seasons not only brings us ultraviolet B-induced vitamin D, but also shines some healthy sunlight on the clutter the long winter leaves behind in its wake, including both at home and in the data center. With spring, comes an opportunity to reevaluate data center cleaning habits and question whether a more practical, day-to-day strategy would benefit data center managers in the long run.Instead of enduring the spring cleaning process in the data center, data center managers should rethink their current cleaning strategy, which often leads to seasonal operational overhauls, and instead consider a new and more efficient method that benefits from granular operational data and analytics. So, with the spring solstice upon us, here are a few tips to enable data center managers to reap the advantages of “year-round cleaning” rather than looking for that old and tired broom.To read this article in full, please click here

Huawei jumps into intent-based networks

The concept of intent-based networks (IBN) has been around for the better part of half a decade, but it’s really only come into its down in the past couple of years. The vision of a “self-driving” network had appeal but was largely science fiction.However, over the past couple of years, we have seen this vision turn into reality with several networking vendors coming to market with products that work. Many of the use cases are still fairly basic, but the foundation has now been laid and intent is where the new battleground for networking vendors will be fought.To read this article in full, please click here

Review: HPE OfficeConnect switch, access point easy to deploy, manage

The role of Wi-Fi has changed in most companies and is no longer something that’s merely convenient. Rather, it’s critical to a business’s ability to ensure its customer are happy and workers are productive.Given the growing importance of Wi-Fi, it’s essential vendors make products that are easy to set up, particularly for small businesses where the technical acumen of the person setting the product up is likely to be low.HPE had inquires as to the importance of having the product be easy to setup and manage, and I said that I felt it was the most important attribute. In fact, I chose the solution for my house — which includes four indoor access points (APs), one outdoor AP, and a 48 port Ethernet switch — based on how easy the product was to operate.  I'm very technical, but I really can't be bothered to fiddle around with doing things in a CLI.To read this article in full, please click here

FPGA maker Xilinx aims range of software-programmable chips at data centers

As data centers are called upon to handle an explosion of unstructured data fed into a variety of cutting-edge applications, the future for FPGAs looks bright.That’s because FPGAs, or field programmable gate arrays, are essentially chips that can be programmed, after manufacturing, to act as custom accelerators for workloads including machine-learning, complex data analysis, video encoding, and genomics – applications that have far-reaching consequences for communications, networking, health care, the entertainment industry and many other businesses.[ Check out REVIEW: VMware’s vSAN 6.6 and hear IDC’s top 10 data center predictions . | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ] Such applications lend themselves to parallel processing, an important feature of FPGAs, which can also be reconfigured on the fly to handle new features as the nature of these workloads evolve.To read this article in full, please click here

MPLS explained

The thing about MPLS is that it’s a technique, not a service — so it can deliver anything from IP VPNs to metro Ethernet. It's expensive, so with the advent of SD-WAN enterprises are trying to figure how to optimize its use vs. less expensive connections like the internet.Did you ever order something online from a distant retailer and then track the package as it makes strange and seemingly illogical stops all over the country.That’s similar to the way IP routing on the Internet works. When an internet router receives an IP packet, that packet carries no information beyond a destination IP address. There is no instruction on how that packet should get to its destination or how it should be treated along the way.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Software-defined everything

Digital transformation is ushering in what the organizers of this year’s Pacific Telecommunications Council’s (PTC) 2018 global conference called “a new decade of connections.” The global trends driving digital include greater technology use, urbanization, data sovereignty, cybersecurity and global trade of digital services, as reported in the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix. These macro trends are behind the creation of increasing amounts of data coming from new sources, such as digital media, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), big data and security analytics, augmented/virtual reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).To read this article in full, please click here

What do ogres, onions and SD-WAN security have in common? Layers!

Remember this scene from the movie Shrek? The big ogre was explaining to Donkey that ogres are very complicated, and like onions, they have layers. Donkey, of course, didn’t like the analogy because not everyone likes onions and would have preferred cake as everyone likes cake, but he did seem to understand that ogres did indeed have layers after it was explained to him. Orges and onions have layers, but what else does? Or at least should? Security for SD-WANs — but that may not seem obvious to everyone.Also read: The case for securing the SD-WAN | Sign up: Get the latest tech news sent directly to your in-box This week SD-WAN provider, Aryaka, which is now neck and neck with VeloCloud/VMware in market share, according to IHS Markit, announced Passport, a multi-layered security platform and ecosystem that provides best-of-breed security at every level of a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN).To read this article in full, please click here

The internet of useful things

The industrial internet of things is growingImage by Peter Sayer/IDGWhen we talk about the internet of things, consumer applications too often get the lion’s share of the attention. But there are also a growing number of industrial applications for IoT technologies, from building better mousetraps to preventing theft of manhole covers.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: 11 ways to stabilize your infrastructure

What do you do if you’re struggling with infrastructure and stability? Maybe you’re a startup with no time for infrastructure. Maybe you’re a business that is reluctant to invest, with an IT gap that is hard to close. The stress, the worry and the escalation calls can keep you up at night – and then beat you down the next day.To regain your balance, first take a deep breath. Then consider these 11 steps to help you better align the people, processes and technology around your IT infrastructure: Reduce IT complexity. In a recent survey of 800 CIOs, more than three out of four say increased IT complexity could make it impossible to manage digital performance. Indeed, a single web transaction may now cross an average of 35 different technology systems, up from 22 five years ago. Is that sustainable? If you’re unable to handle your current level of complexity, review your operations, peel back the layers and make sure you’re building from a solid foundation. Delegate. Assign members of your team to key activities. Make sure they are enabled and understand they have authority to solve problems. It sounds simple, but many entry-level IT professionals worry that Continue reading

IDG Contributor Network: The delivery challenges every SD-WAN project must consider

It’s no secret that enterprises are looking at SD-WAN as the means for evolving their networks. The technology improves on MPLS with better agility, more capacity increased resiliency and, of course, cost savings. Those advantages are in much need; just ask anyone who’s runs an MPLS network. They’ll tell you about its high costs, long provisioning times, and susceptibility to last-mile failures.But keep listening and MPLS customers are also bound to talk about the technology’s rock-solid reliability. They’ll hate the price and delays, but they’ll love their SLA-backed performance and how the MPLS provider takes care of everything — the last mile connectivity, managing the backbone, consolidated billing and more.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: How edge computing makes voice assistants faster and more powerful

Voice is becoming a pervasive way to manage and interact with everyday tech devices, going from initial adoption in phones and smart speakers toward smartwatches, cars, laptops, home appliances and much more.Cloud platforms take most of the praise for enabling voice assistant services such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana – neglecting due credit to the increasing role that edge computing plays in enabling voice interfaces. A substantial amount of processing and analysis occur on devices themselves to allow users to interface with them by simply talking.Keyword detection Voice-enabled devices are not constantly recording audio and sending it to the cloud to determine if someone is giving them an instruction. That would not only be a privacy concern, but also a waste of energy, computing and network resources. Having to send all words to the cloud and back also introduces latency and slows the responsiveness of the system. Today’s voice interfaces typically use keyword or “wake-word” detection, dedicating a small portion of edge computing resources (i.e. computing done on the device itself or “at the edge”) to process microphone signals while the rest of the system remains idle. This is a power-efficient approach particularly important Continue reading

Marvell revs up Ethernet to 400Gbps with new ‘Alaska’ chips

Marvell Semiconductor is the first semiconductor to ship networking chips supporting the 802.3cd standard that will pump up Ethernet ports to 400Gbps max.The 802.3cd standard is designed to eventually replace the current physical Ethernet ports, which run at 25Gbps to 100Gpbs, with ports that will run at 50Gbps, 200Gbps, and 400Gbps.And Marvell is the first chip vendor out of the gate with support for the standard in its Alaska C 88X7120 transceivers. The chips aren’t fully cooked, but they are sampling to customers. Sampling is to semiconductors what beta testing is to software.To read this article in full, please click here

Cisco’s intent-based networks now available for the WAN

If you read my Valentine’s Day post, you know I love intent-based networks (IBN), as the technology is the biggest change in networking in decades.Cisco wasn’t the first vendor to offer an IBN solution, but they’ve certainly been the most vocal about the need and has been the network industry's biggest evangelist. Also read: Getting grounded in intent-based networking The value proposition of IBN is to simplify networking dramatically with the long-term vision of having a fully autonomous network. With IBN, the operations of the network are driven by business intent to ensure policies are adhered to and application performance remains optimized.To read this article in full, please click here

Cisco attacks SD-WAN with software from Viptela, Meraki acquisitions

Cisco this week took the wraps off new software packages it claims will help customers manage their biggest networking blind spot: the software-defined wide area network or SD-WAN.The SD-WAN is typically made of diverse networks and technologies that many times are outside the control of IT.  Add to that the increased use of multi-cloud services and other advances, and the traditional complexity of the WAN has been increased, Cisco stated.+RELATED: SD-WAN: What it is and why you'll use it some day; How to negotiate a Cisco Enterprise Agreement that works for you+To read this article in full, please click here

Why a bare-metal cloud provider might be just what you need

Cloud services, particularly infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service, are well established, but in some cases customers demand more – more control, more access to hardware, more performance, and the ability to pick their own operating environment.In those cases they are looking to bare-metal servcies, a niche that is growing fast.As the name implies, bare metal means no software just CPUs, memory, and storage. Customers provide all of the software from the operating system on up. That means a dedicated CPU, full access to the hardware, and freedom to run custom operating systems.According to a 2016 Markets and Markets report, the bare metal cloud market is expected to grow from $871.8 million in 2016 to $4.7 billion in 2021, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 40.1%.To read this article in full, please click here

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