Enterprises Need a Converged Network to Meet Current and Future Requirements

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Enterprises Need a Converged Network to Meet Current and Future Requirements

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Bring-your-own-device, mobile video, virtualization and a greater need for quality of service have prompted the need to rethink the network. In fact, the exponential increase in traffic has added a sense of urgency on the part of enterprises to upgrade their networks.

What’s needed is a converged network, according to a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). Enterprise Converged Network Solution, which carries the subtitle, Deliver a Consistent and Quality User Experience, Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs.  With a long and deep history of providing state-of-the-art enterprise networks, ALY is advocating a converted, application-aware network that accounts for the latest evolutions in computing, yet is a resilient enough to meet both today’s needs and those of tomorrow.

“Now is the time for enterprises to re-think their strategy to support higher WLAN utilization, increased LAN access speed and better core performance,” noted the paper. “They must adopt a network with a simplified architecture that optimizes resource utilization, provides a consistent quality of experience (QoE) for wired and wireless users, and simplifies overall management.”

The converged network suggested by Alcatel-Lucent must address the following needs.

First, it must be a high-performance network with wire-rate 10GbE/40GbE core, which can often simplify and flatten architectures from three layers to two by eliminating the need for a distribution layer.

Second, it needs network virtualization for reduced equipment, network simplification and streamlined operations, and a resiliency that does not impact real-time application performance in case of failure due to the increasing use of cloud solutions and real-time communication.

Third, it must automated provisioning of access switches and endpoints. But it also needs to have superior wireless LAN performance for quality multimedia delivery and flexible deployment options.

It also needs lower power consumption.

Because of BYOD, a converged network of the future also must have embedded security for protecting users and groups, and a user profiling system for a quality user experience on a highly mobile environment.

In addition, and also on the “must have” list, is having multimedia fluency for enhanced quality delivery of voice and video to accommodate the growing bandwidth and quality of service requirements arising from increased adoption of unified communications (UC) by employees not only at their desktops but when they are mobile or working remotely. With multimedia fluency, it is possible to:

  • Detect the initiation of a SIP-based conversation on the network
  • Assign specific quality of service (QoS) treatment
  • Monitor the actual QoS received
  • Provide IT administrators with a dashboard for visibility on conversation quality on the network. (For example, it is possible to have a specific user receive differentiated QoS for their voice and video sessions, rather than any other application they are using).

“Even between voice and video sessions, the user could have different QoS based on his specific needs,” noted the paper.

Network needs are changing, and it is important to have a network in place that can handle the evolution. The network of the future must be simplified, virtualized, with wire-rate switching capability and high port density. It must not only bring immediate benefits, but also prepare businesses for increased BYOD and cloud use while delivering a quick return on investment.

That’s no small order, and clearly as Alcatel-Lucent explains a converged solution is the best way to optimize network performance at low cost with simplified administration that is applications-fluent, while also being agile enough to adapt to whatever the future may hold. 

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