Business and consumer demand for faster and more accessible bandwidth is increasing exponentially. We are seeing drivers for network performance from cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), voice and video apps, as well as backup requirements.
For businesses in Australia where networks can stretch across hundreds of physical sites and involve thousands of devices, the age of IoT, cloud, distributed computing, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), also mean effective network management is tougher, yet more critical than ever.
It seems counter-intuitive, considering we have a national broadband project that prioritises price over network performance, but most customers select a mobile network based on performance.
In fact, McKinsey discovered in a customer experience study and global CTO telecom survey that mobile broadband has made network quality a differentiator for operators. Customers now expect (and demand) more refined browsing experiences.
This discernment follows through to all aspects of consumer expectations, and finally business performance. In fact, of the 11 decision factors used in McKinsey’s consumer survey, network quality now occupies spots two through five.
New technologies in the mix
Wireless is an increasingly important network factor to consider as either your primary or backup network, as the realities of terrestrial projects like the NBN roll out across regional Australia.
That message is echoed by the findings from TechTarget’s IT Priorities Survey, which studies the issues and challenges that top the lists of IT admins’ plans and concerns - network management was front and centre.
Networking professionals are tackling a mix of legacy and evolving technologies, fuelled by networking plans that blend bread-and-butter initiatives like security and network management with forward-looking projects like network virtualisation.
Network admins are now grappling with a range of applications and technologies fuelling the need for network stability. Three main ones include:
- Cloud access
- Ensuring a backup for fibre and copper networks
- Increased prevalence of video and voice communications, particularly in a post-COVID environment.
Cloud computing is frequently taking the form of web-based tools or applications that users (and customers or partners of organisations) are accessing through a web browser.
The increase of these cloud apps impacts network performance, and constitutes an ever-growing overhead of network traffic on the organisation’s network.
Backup – you are always on my mind
A constant source of headaches for IT departments is ensuring business continues to run without disruption. This means setting up solutions to enable continuity in the event of an unforeseen network interruption, which traditionally rests with replicating network infrastructure using either terrestrial or wireless backup options.
Regardless of the technology option, businesses need to avoid losing real-time access to their network by building or accessing a fully redundant link to ensure continuity of data transfer to remote sites.
Voice and video – the ‘new’ kids on the block
Voice over IP (VOIP) is nothing new, but the stability of networks, applications, and devices that make enterprise-grade services more reliable now means greater numbers of businesses now rely on their network connectivity for voice solutions.
Likewise, the dramatic increase in video is as much a result of network connectivity becoming more stable and widespread. And with consumers now accessing video online more than ever, businesses’ marketing departments are creating more video-based communications for customers and partners than ever – putting additional and exponential loads on existing infrastructure.
Things to consider for voice and video applications are:
- Quality of service control, which gives time-critical data such as voice or video priority over data which can wait a few milliseconds, such as email
- Symmetrical transfers (same speed in both directions)
- Low latency and jitter (no delays and dropouts)
A network that has been set up correctly will help improve your businesses through technology performance, reducing overall costs and enabling focus on your internal IT resources so you can focus on business growth initiatives - rather than building and managing network infrastructure.
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