The network is essential to everything a business does and it will become even more important in the future. Network architecture and technology have evolved significantly over the past few years, and this trend will only continue. In some cases, the impact of these changes on the networks is only beginning to be felt. In others, it is already being felt. But keeping up with these changes is essential for businesses if they want to stay competitive. Here we explore the potential impact of these trends on the future of networking as organizations seek to leverage new trends to evolve, transform, and stay ahead of the game.
1. The hybrid work culture will foster new ways to network
Many organizations have announced their hybrid working models, which allow employees to spend two or three days a week on company premises and the rest working remotely. This shift has led to a distributed workforce, spread across multiple geographic locations and no longer concentrated on campuses and branch offices.
The distributed workforce and thousands of “things” connected to the cloud changed the way work was done. Network teams now have to control and manage many more site locations than before. They also have to worry about security and performance in this new environment. Security solution monitoring, visibility, and observability management tools will increase the workload of IT operations teams.
The growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, as well as network-integrated building management systems, require a network infrastructure that can handle the high-speed and time-critical data traffic that these systems produce. In the future, a robust network foundation will enable even more innovative solutions to be deployed, using the network-to-cloud platform to process all data.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of video-based collaboration tools, especially those using hyperscale cloud networks. Home workers widely use these tools to communicate with each other. Users expect their video experience to be smooth and without lag or jitter, which puts more strain on the network infrastructure.
2. Digital transformation paves the way for increased multicloud adoption
Many IT executives and managers say digital transformation is a top priority. Having a cloud-first strategy can help businesses become more agile. This means they can create and launch new products and services faster, which generates more revenue and makes the business more sustainable in the long run.
There is an increase in sensor-based networks and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the use of digital twin simulations. These technologies are data-intensive, which is perfect for cloud and cloud-like architectures that allow for a more dynamic data processing structure and simpler connectivity from geographically distributed objects.
Many organizations are now choosing to use multiple clouds or a hybrid cloud approach. This allows them to place their critical applications and workloads in the most appropriate location – the cloud, a hosted service or on-premises – to achieve better business results.
3. The benefits of smart grids will attract more organizations
Intelligent networking, or intent-based networking, is a term that is growing in popularity. It usually refers to networks that are automated and equipped with predictive analytics. This allows the network to be more proactive and dynamic. In the future, all networks will self-heal and self-optimize, using AIOps, automation, and orchestration as the foundation of operations. Smart grids are much more agile than traditional infrastructures, allowing organizations to adapt to market changes and cultural shifts.
Detailed and predictive analytics enable proactive monitoring and measurement of network performance. This proves to be a valuable feature of the integrated network management, which forms the basis for a better user experience.
Trends like “the big quit” can lead to significant skills gaps in IT operational staff. Adopting more automated network operations, which use elements of the smart grid concept, can reduce the pressure to find, hire, and retain skilled operational staff.
Automation and orchestration can help simplify the process of managing legacy and transformed environments. Cloud-based solutions, such as SASE and identity and access management, and managed services can make it easier for internal operations staff to focus on projects instead of reacting to network incidents.
4. New ways of working have created the need for updated network architecture models
The hyperdistributed enterprise will consist of physical sites as well as virtual campuses and branch offices, all of which will affect the network. Operations teams will need to find more efficient ways to manage the new topology while continuing to improve the speed and agility of operational responses.
SASE security models will allow organizations to secure their new distributed network and user base. Perimeter security that protected campus and branch networks will still be required. But there is a need to bring the security frontier closer to users, things, and cloud-based workloads and applications.
In the future, a lot of data will be generated. This is a problem because we will need more computing power to process everything. This consumes a lot of energy, which will impact the goal of reducing the carbon footprint. Organizations will need to find a way to ensure they can have accurate AI processing while meeting their carbon footprint goals.
Using APIs to integrate different software packages and solutions greatly facilitates network management and monitoring. This enables a single view of all wired and wireless infrastructure, as well as AIOps, automation, building management, and application visibility and performance applications. Additionally, predictive analytics can be used to predict network outages or bottlenecks before they cause business outages.
5. Future innovations will impact the network in the years to come
Innovations in new information and communication technologies are increasingly common. They will have a big impact on how we build, manage and operate networks by 2025 and beyond.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency: Many organizations are finding good reasons to use blockchain technology. This is especially true in the financial sector, but it can also be used in healthcare and government. Blockchain can help in financial transactions, cybersecurity, and communications. If an organization wants to use cryptocurrency on a large scale, it must properly configure its network to take advantage of the benefits of this technology.
quantum network: Quantum computing has been recognized as a trend for several years now. Indeed, quantum computing consumes less energy than traditional computing. Quantum processing speed and power reduce the power needed to process and analyze data.
AR/VR/8K with immersive metaverse: As immersive technologies like 4K/8K/AR/VR video become more popular, they will use a lot of bandwidth. This could have a big impact on the Internet backbone and on organizations that start using these technologies internally.
Photonic computing and networks: There is a lot of data to process, which puts a lot of pressure on the amount of energy we use. It will be very difficult to find a balance between using sustainable energy sources and meeting the growing demand for energy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-based solutions can identify and respond to network incidents and events, which will change the shape of network operations in the future.
5G and 6G: 5G and private 5G are now widely available in some regions. However, spectrum availability has caused some problems. The integration of 5G technology into traditional Wi-Fi networks has made it easier to implement certain use cases. 6G is already in development and will be an important factor in the design and deployment of new network architectures in the future.
Network as a service: By 2025, the network-as-a-service offering will be even more mature, and organizations will be able to purchase the entire network stack from a single vendor. This will make them more agile as they can easily adopt innovative and cutting-edge technology without the need for specialized skills to operate and monitor it.
The modern workplace is constantly evolving, and with it, the network infrastructure that supports it. As we move toward a more hybrid workforce, multicloud adoption, and smarter networks, organizations must transition to a modern, cloud-based, software-defined, and data-driven network infrastructure.
Read more: SASE is now leading the cybersecurity industry