Five Predictions for Enterprise Networks in 2018

Five Predictions for Enterprise Networks in 2018

Wireless network technology is in a state of constant flux. The market is always evolving to provide better security, routing, management, and support for network teams. As 2017 turns into 2018, we take a look at some notable predictions for enterprise networks in the next year.

802.11ac has been the cutting edge of wireless technology for some time now, and it looks like it will remain that way in 2018. While next generation wireless standards are right around the corner, the current .ac standard will remain the most popular and reliable for the time being. Even when 802.11ax does come, don’t expect to see immediate implementation. Many organizations are just beginning to implement 802.11ac wave 2 wireless solutions so they may not have the resources yet to bring 802.11ax technology on board quite yet.

According to the ITX and InformationWeek 2018 State of Infrastructure Study, software defined networks are becoming a hot topic for network teams. Although SDN network functions virtualization (NFV) earned only 11% of responses as a top three priority, 20% say they are investigating SDN, 8% are evaluating SDN vendors and products, 5% are planning to implement SDN in a lab or limited trial, 4% have deployed SDN in a lab or trial, and 6% have deployed SDN in a production environment. And 18% say they are intrigued, but not actively researching.

You probably saw this next one coming from a mile away, but cloud will have a heavy hand in network operations in 2018. There will be a move towards automation and cloud managed infrastructure in the coming year. While mid-sized businesses have typically been the target market for cloud based network management, in 2018, we can expect to see larger organizations show interest.

Security has and will continue to be a pressing issue for network teams. Hackers will always be trying to find a way into your network, and IT teams will always be putting up defenses to stop them. Network teams should expect to see software defined network platforms include more embedded security that use advanced threat detection techniques. Direct internet access and cloud access absolutely need strong security measures to protect data moving through the internet but machine learning will be required to see all threats.

Spending is also expected to kick up in 2018 for network technologies. With budgets increasing, there will be a greater effort to improve wireless connectivity and wide area networks. This focus on network connectivity is likely in response to a rise in technologies that rely on large file transfers.

Centralized Management

SD-WAN providers continue to mature their platform-specific management and orchestration capabilities. Distributed enterprises require automation and centralized control to administer WAN links to distant branch locations. Over time, SD-WAN providers will improve their ability to automatically identify, prioritize and route traffic over the most appropriate WAN link. Improved centralized or cloud-based management will allow IT to quickly tune network and application performance.

Open Standards

Just a few years ago, it wasn’t a commonly held belief that there’d be a significant shift in data centers with the advent of hardware/software disaggregation. While network hardware becomes commoditized and network management software becomes increasingly valuable, an open network or providers, manufacturers, and developers will bring a significant shift in the market. Wireless networks with open standards will become more common

Wireless is Heading to the Cloud

Large corporate enterprises and schools are always looking to simplify their wireless networks for both security and maintenance reasons. By moving networks to the cloud-based architecture, organizations are able to eliminate the need for proprietary hardware, and can protect their IT budgets from the dangers of vendor lock-in. The cloud has brought a massive shift in thinking, making secure and reliable wireless networks a necessary component of any successful enterprise. With so many organizations trying to stay connected to the cloud all the time, wireless networks need to not only be secure, but also offer 24/7 monitoring self-healing capabilities.

Increased Network Security

Every year, there are more network security breaches than anyone can keep track of. One of the biggest motivators for investing in networking technology is to improve an organization’s security.

Revamping Existing Wireless Networks

2018 is expected to be a big year in the realm of wireless. The top wireless technologies that companies are planning to invest in are access points (47%). Some of the most common concerns regarding wireless infrastructure are Bring Your Own Device management and wireless security.

Doug Atkinson
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