Network Communications News (NCN) NCN-Sept2017 - Page 24

TEST EQUIPMENT & TOOLS The age of Gigabit is approaching – are you ready? Bandwidth builds business. But getting the most out of the network is a balancing act, so it’s no surprise that the appetite for even more bandwidth continues to grow, says Steve Brown, director of enterprise solutions at VIAVI Solutions. I n fact, two out of three IT and network professionals expect bandwidth usage to increase by up to 50% by the end of this year. As a result, gigabit internet deployments are rapidly accelerating as they make their way to businesses and consumers around the world. In just the past year, deployments tracked by the Gigabit Monitor have risen at a rate of 72%, delivering gigabit internet access to more than 219 million people worldwide. This is good news for business… but what does it mean for IT professionals and network service providers? Evolution or Revolution? Gigabit speeds and new technologies are driving new capabilities and even more oppor tunities to innovate and differentiate. Faster compute, new applications and more storage are all working together to enable greater efficiency and greater power. Yet with oppor tunity comes complexity. Network traffic growth continues to defy expectations. More than just the volume of traffic, however, there is an evolving mix of data traffic — including encrypted video whic h is expected to account for more than 65% of all business network traffic by 2020, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. And when you factor in hybrid cloud environments and the rapidly growing Internet of Things 24 | September 2017 (IoT), it’s no wonder that managing networks and applications is more complex than ever. While fibre makes up the bulk of gigabit deployments today, there is strong evidence pointing to significant changes coming in cellular gigabit connectivity. As of early this year, 25 mobile operators had lab-tested 5G, and at least 12 of those have progressed to field trials. 5G is coming and networks need to be ready for it. So how should businesses prepare for gigabit internet to make sure they are realising its full potential? And what can IT teams do to meet end-user expectations when migrating to higher speed networks? Prepare to Succeed T h e ke y to s u c c e s s f u l l y m i g rat i n g to g i ga b i t i s p re p a rat i o n . H i g h e r s p e e d s m e a n m o re d ata t h ro u g h p u t , w h i c h p u t s m o re s t ra i n o n y o u r n et wo r k . O p e n i n g t h e i nte r n et f l o o d gate s w i t h o u t a s t rate g i c p l a n c o u l d c o m p ro m i s e t h e h e a l t h a n d p e r fo r m a n c e of y o u r wo r k l o a d s , n ot to m e nt i o n t h e s e c u r i t y o f y o u r e nt i re n et wo r k . First, be sure to evaluate the condition of your network infrastructure to determine if it’s robust enough to handle increased workloads. Here are four critical questions to assess your network preparedness: