Predicting the unpredictable: These enterprise networking trends will define 2021

After the year of surprises, which was 2020, it was difficult for anyone to predict what the future of networking would look like – but that didn’t stop us from trying. In fact, at the end of 2020. I predicted three items with big tickets that we are already beginning to see how it is realized:

  • Network visibility and analysis will be crucial to optimizing the user experience.
  • The network of the next decade will rely on modern cloud architectures.
  • With Wi-Fi 6E and private LTE, businesses will have more wireless options than ever before.

It is clear that the first two of the above already play a prominent role in the network market, but based on what we saw in the first quarter of the year, we can take these forecasts one step further and be bullish by saying that trends are emerging. not only, but they can very well define networking in 2021 and beyond. And based on governments’ progress in starting to open up more spectrum in the 6 GHz band, I still believe that this will begin to play a key role for some businesses by the end of the year to diversify available spectrum.

Increased investment in AI will optimize the experiences of operators and consumers

Now companies know that it is necessary, not a desire, to invest in network tools powered by artificial intelligence. Saving time and resources alone should be enough to push someone in favor of AI solutions, but for those who need an extra boost, the pandemic was certainly that.

Most companies are too aware of the challenges that the remote work environment poses to networks and network teams. Chances are that everyone has had bandwidth or connectivity issues first hand in the last year and may even have been tasked with fixing the issues. Now imagine how much simpler the process could be with appropriate artificial intelligence and automation strategies.

AI can transform the traditional corporate experience with proactive notifications, automation, AI-driven information, and streamlined help desk processes. The goal of a strong AIOps solution is to bring simplicity through automation and ultimately to provide a better IT experience for both internal staff and customers.

Businesses need to embrace the modern cloud with SD-WAN

In addition to investing in AI, it is critical for enterprises and IT leaders to develop a strong cloud-based model for their networks, and this model must include software-defined broad network capabilities.

Driven by the need to maintain remote operation and ensure secure and reliable branch connectivity, SD-WAN has become critical for IT teams. As businesses have realized, supporting a distributed workforce remains a top priority, and the SD-WAN is a crucial part of the puzzle for those who want not only to survive but also to thrive during this period of change.

And the latest innovation, driven by AI SD-WAN, is a useful IT network management tool because it provides full visibility of what’s happening on the network, as well as proactive and automated removal with self-management capabilities. Backed by the modern cloud and combined with the right artificial intelligence solutions, IT teams have more tools than ever to get an idea of ​​the user experience, allowing them to solve problems actively and remotely – opportunities that are crucial for the next era. of networking.

Deploying an SD-WAN can be a significant investment, but it is important for IT decision makers in the long run. Investments like this can prevent the quarrels that many companies faced at the beginning of the pandemic.

The privileges of working from home are here to stay

Finally, who doesn’t love the good privilege of the workplace? Traditionally, they are reserved for benefits such as parking passes, gym membership, and even on-site dry cleaning, but none of them are actually what remote workers are looking for in their jobs in the future.

Increasingly, employers are offering scholarships to work from home for the Internet, office supplies and even electricity. While these are certainly beneficial benefits for providing a functional home office, technology companies will want to go a step further and invest in remote work software for employees who are unlikely to return to the office before the fall, if at all. Maintaining productivity and connectivity while maintaining secure distributed networks must be a top priority for IT leaders.

The importance of secure, seamless network connections in both the main office and the micro-branches will not disappear soon. If and when employees return to the office, there is likely to be much more flexibility in remote work, which means that companies will have to continue their current remote practices in the foreseeable future. This includes continuing WFH’s privileges to ensure that all company networks are on par.

Bottom row

So much has changed in the last year and we know that these changes will definitely continue. The point of the predictions is not to be able to say “I was right”. They can help us learn from the past and prepare as best we can for what lies around the corner. Although we can never be sure, we can register regularly to assess the landscape and prepare for the next step in the future of networking.

Christian Gilby is senior director of enterprise product marketing at Juniper Networks Inc. He wrote this article for SiliconANGLE.

Image: Tumisu / Pixabay

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