Is Your WAN Ready for What’s Next?

Feb 2016

Here are three technological changes that network planners must take account of as they evaluate their enterprise communications as it relates to their WAN.

Public Cloud

This one isn’t new. The use of public cloud services has rapidly moved to center stage over the past few years. For almost a fifth of companies, cloud delivery has already become the preferred delivery mechanism, and nearly four out of five CIOs say that public cloud is at least a “viable” delivery option next to traditional on-site or private could deployment models. Industry experts believe that 30% percent of enterprises (that’s enterprises … not the SMB) are already using public cloud services such as Salesforce, Office 365, or Dropbox, and this number continues to grow rapidly. In light of this, network planners need to plan for the internet to become a permanent and integral part of their WAN. Emerging technologies such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are useful mechanisms to aid in this process.

Internet of Things

The pundits tell us that soon every device we own — and nearly every object you can imagine — will be connected to the Internet. This might be a bit of a stretch, but certainly the concept of the digital business model is here in earnest and here to stay. As more and more sensors are embedded into physical objects, they must communicate across both LANs and WANS. Network architects and planners must account not only for the additional volume of traffic, but also make sure they can deliver the necessary performance levels to support the new business models.


Like Public Cloud, Mobility remains at the forefront for network planners. Unlike consumers, enterprises today make only limited use of mobile applications. While “mobile-ready” is a given for most network planners, more and more architects and CIOs are seriously considering the drive to “mobile-first”. Network design, therefore, must take an outside-in approach as opposed to the traditional inside-out approach that predominated for so long. The proliferation of mobile devices within the enterprise is set to continue, and this trend has a serious impact on the LAN edge. The wireless LAN, as opposed to the wired LAN, is therefore increasingly important. We see more and more companies deploying wireless LAN across all of their physical office space.

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