Tips for Building Your Future-Ready Network

 

New Technologies are Increasing Demands on Your Network

Technology is changing our lives at a faster than ever before with more data created in the past two years than during the history of the human race and it’s only going to accelerate with the explosive growth from the Internet of Things (IoT).  Gartner forecasted 6.4 billion connected IoT devices for this year alone.

Bandwidth demand and network traffic increase with each new device connecting to the Internet.  Research conducted by ACG Research, sponsored by Ciena shows network bandwidth requirements increasing by a factor of five by 2018 from a combination of technology including IoT, over-the-top (OTT) entertainment services and applications such as video streaming, social networking and multi-player gaming.  Additionally, enterprises are using more bandwidth as they continue migrating to cloud-based platforms and applications.  Beyond the need for bandwidth, IoT and cloud service also depend on network infrastructure and reliable connectivity to deliver on their user’s availability and performance requirements.

Your Network Infrastructure is the Reliable Foundation

The underlying component that will determine your company’s success is your network infrastructure. To make sure you’re prepared for the bandwidth demands of new technologies, you need to take a strategic approach to upgrading or building network infrastructure.  Besides the traditional network needs that include connecting to multiple offices, your network is critical for connecting to data centers, cloud-based platforms, services and applications, plus you will rely on it for delivering always-on, real-time access to an ever expanding group of users. With so many mission-critical connections depending on the strength of your network, every infrastructure decision has ramifications that could cost your company. Your network needs to be reliable, scalable, resilient and flexible. Network outages or failures can result in costly losses and tarnish your brand. So, how do you address all these requirements?

Assess Your Network Needs

There are many considerations you’ll need to address as you plan your upgrades or build your network. Here are a few common questions to ask to start your plan:

  • How much bandwidth will we need for the future?
  • How much redundancy do we need?
  • What type of network will be capable of serving our needs in the next three years? The next five years? 
  • How can I achieve the lowest latencies?

With your company’s growth plans and each new technology and service you add, your bandwidth requirements will increase and it’s often difficult to know if that the answers to the above questions today will remain the same next year.

Five Considerations for a Successful Network Project

So how can you expand and build your network infrastructure today to ensure you have invested wisely for your digital future? Here are a few considerations as you work on your network.

  1. Carrier Options  –  The carrier you choose is one of the most important considerations. You need to look for a carrier with a strong reputation for delivering transport solutions and a focus on fiber solutions. Evaluate their experience and ability to build and manage network infrastructure as well as their direct access to the data centers you need. In this complex world of multiple vendors, it’s crucial to work with a carrier that has the experience, engineering and technical expertise you can count on for designing and building technology architecture to ensure your unique needs are addressed.
  2. Route Selection –  Considering today’s need for stringent security and redundancy, you need to have the ability to choose from unique, diverse Longhaul and Metro fiber routes to guarantee you’re building a network that meets the highest reliability, performance and latency goals. Here are a few tips when you’re working with a carrier on selecting routes:
    • Eliminate single points of failure, make sure your carrier is able to design a customized fiber route. 
    • For connections to data centers, make sure you have diverse route options within your carrier’s footprint is critical.
    • Achieve low latency connections by working with your carrier on route distance and eliminating system and terminal drops.

3. Carrier’s Capabilities – Evaluate your prospective carrier’s network with these questions:

    • Do you own your network?
    • How much of your network do you manage?
    • What technologies are deployed within your network infrastructure?
    • What’s my ability to quickly scale services with your network?
    • How can I assure that the network is prepared for the future?

You can ensure you’re building a network for the future with the flexibility to grow if you know your carrier invests in its network and plans to continue integrating the most advanced technologies

  1. Pricing, speed to quote – You should expect competitive pricing based on A to Z connections and a quick response on your RFPs.  Before you commit, ask about the carrier’s installation process and about service interval metrics.
  2. Installation metrics  –  You should be able to talk candidly with a prospective carrier and ask for example of their ability to deliver or build new infrastructure on time. It’s ok to ask for metrics on their previous installations to help you decide about their experience and capabilities. There’s nothing worse than investing in new infrastructure and having to deal with prolonged service delivery delays.

Is Your Network Prepared for the Future?

As technology continues to drive change, you can make sure you’re ready for the future by taking a strategic approach on your network project and by establishing a carrier for selecting the carrier you partner with in building your network infrastructure.