Networks Europe March/April 2019 - Page 36

36 FUTURE-PROOFING Making enterprise future-ready Mike Holmes, Marketing Manager, Nexans Ensuring network infrastructure meets the explosive growth in demand for bandwidth and functionalities The enterprise IT landscape is rapidly changing. HD video, the Internet of Things, cloud and big data are vastly increasing data traffic requirements. Files are becoming exponentially larger as people simultaneously transmit increasing amounts of voice, data and video to many different IP devices. The current explosive growth in bandwidth demand is expected to continue and increase further. Soon, we’ll be seeing major developments in wireless technology evolution and a threefold increase in power transmitted through IP networks. We’re also seeing increasing convergence of infrastructure, which provides enormous efficiency increases, both from a technical and business perspective. By pre-integrating formerly separate technology components, pooling IT resources and automating IT processes, huge efficiency advantages and lower costs can be realised. This approach centralises management of IT resources, consolidates systems and boosts resource utilisation. However, several factors need to be taken into account when preparing for convergence. For example, there are consequences for building layout, calling for more ceiling ports in addition to ‘traditional’ floor outlets. It’s not just a question of putting in as many cables and ports as possible – they also need to be installed in the right places. Three steps to your solution… Today, users may experience their network running more slowly than it used to, especially at certain times of day, no matter what application is used. Solving this, and ensuring the problem doesn’t get significantly worse, requires a complete rethinking of network design, rollout, expansion and servicing. How much redundancy do you need to build in to maximise availability without over-specifying? How do you ensure cabling, connectivity and networks will hold up in an increasingly demanding environment? How can you ensure network infrastructure meets today’s explosive growth in demand for bandwidth and functionalities? To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at current developments. We can identify three key areas in which rapidly growing demands on networks will expand exponentially in the near future. 1. People and devices What type and level of performance do your organisation’s users and devices require – not just now, but in the future? If distances aren’t factored-in correctly, and there’s no clear view of the requirements for each section of cabling, there is a risk of underspecifying (adversely affecting performance and reliability) or overspecifying (and overspending). The network needs to be able to handle escalating bandwidth and power demands to accommodate greater convergence, the Internet of Things and the proliferation of ‘everything IP’. For Wi-Fi, it’s vital to remember that as bandwidth increases the reach drops. So, although Wi-Fi data rates are set to reach speeds of up to 27Gbps in the next few years, reach may only be 10-20m. This has a considerable impact on the cabling layout required to support additional wireless access points (WAPs) required to cover the same area. In addition, the cabled backbone will require sufficient bandwidth and have potential to provide high power PoE. 2. Building conditions Which specific conditions exist in your building or buildings? Which distances need to be bridged? Are there specific requirements, with regard to functionality or uptime? Space within buildings is often limited and structural changes can’t