As networks become more complex, how can businesses avoid putting their digital transformation goals at risk?

The next great leap forward in progress will be marked by an exponential growth in connection and connectivity. As sensors become smaller and more energy efficient, mobile devices become more capable and our networks become more robust, industries as disparate as healthcare, transportation, education, government and entertainment will find opportunities for new efficiencies, new ways of interacting with consumers and transformative approaches to serving their communities.

The network edge is the point where an organization and its customers meet. It is where users engage, mobile transactions occur and IoT devices connect and are managed. It is the first line of defense against cyber-security attacks and the go-to place to get a pulse on the business. The edge is a new frontier where every second counts. Considering the examples above, the technologies functioning in hospitals and smart cities can’t afford a moment of delay when something goes wrong. Furthermore, hardware makers have predicted one billion 5G subscriptions by 2023 – introducing the imminent need for a much faster network able to power emerging technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence and more.

Supporting billions of new devices on the network is just the beginning…

"jump 5g technologies"Once you’ve absorbed the fact that we will have one billion new 5G devices on a given network in five years, consider the sheer complexity that will be required of these networks – from IoT sensors to smartphones to connected appliances and more, enterprises are no longer simply connecting terminals to a central hub. The network has transformed into a mesh of devices and the shape of networks is moving towards a more distributed model. The places we’re connecting have expanded along with these advancements – forget the classroom or the workplace. We’re now challenged to connect users on the retail floor, at sports stadiums, in public spaces and more.

With 30 billion connected IoT devices expected by 2020 according to Statista, companies now face the challenge of collecting real-time data and Wi-Fi RF networks, while flexible, are likely to be difficult to manage in dynamic environments. Where there is a large amount of changing information to consider (user densities, user locations, distance and coverage), it can be a significant challenge for humans to analyze and address how best to optimize a wireless network. Let’s face it: in an era where every second is networked, traditional centralized systems are not designed to cope with the fast-moving network driven by countless edge sensors and other inputs.

This distributed connectivity model also creates new areas of caution, as more connection points mean more vectors for security breaches. Millions of newly connected IoT sensors and devices have made the edge vulnerable, and everything from blood pressure monitors to motion sensors to door locks will become the new connection surface for security breaches.

For today’s businesses, an increasingly complex range of network scenarios is expected. And that means finding new ways to ensure that your network is doing the job of protecting and optimizing itself.

Contact us and consult our portfolio of solutions and services that will help you start on the road to digital transformation and keep your networks prepared for the challenges posed by the era of growing connectivity.

 

Source: NetworkWorld/Living on the network edge