Is your network ready for the cloud-mobile world?

By Keerti Melkote, Blog Contributor
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We live in a technology-immersed world where smartphones and tablets are our primary devices, and we access a variety of applications and resources that live in private data centers and the public cloud. In my last blog, "It's the dawn of the cloud-mobile era," I discussed how business leaders must rethink how they deliver applications and services from the cloud to their users' mobile device—and how they build the network that connects them.

Rethink the campus network

There's been a lot of industry discussion about building cloud-ready data center networks, but it's imperative that campus networks be retooled for the mobile-cloud world, too.

If your campus network is like many others, it was built for a different era — one of desktop PCs and wired Ethernet. The Wi-Fi was designed to support guest access or pockets of mobile devices, and was built as an overlay to the campus wired network.

But a mobile-first network is designed to meet the needs of a #GenMobile workforce and to build a foundation for the next-generation of applications for our hyper-connected world.  It unifies wired and wireless access and ensures that security is enforced consistently.

Building the mobile-first network

In the digital workplace, workers are unshackled from their cubicles so they can collaborate easily and be productive on their own terms. Businesses are free to build innovative workplaces that foster creativity.

802.11ac technology delivers the fast, reliable connectivity that this mobile workforce demands. The new 802.11ac Wave 2 takes Wi-Fi performance to the next level by boosting network efficiency in high density environments and supporting legions of mobile devices and their bandwidth-hungry applications.

But speed alone isn't enough. The campus network must become more agile to keep up with mobile-cloud technology. Software-defined networking enables the network to adapt dynamically to application needs—from the data center to the user device.

For instance, when a user begins a Microsoft Skype for Business call, the application automatically requests and reserves the appropriate network resources for the duration of the call, and those resources are released automatically when the call is complete.

Unlock the business value in your network

A new generation of applications is emerging that taps into the network to reveal behavioral and location-based data about people and their activities. This information allows the network to create business opportunities — either boosting revenues or engaging customers in a more meaningful way.

By analyzing network data, businesses can deliver a better user experience for voice and video applications or ensure highly secure communications. A retailer can leverage location-based information to see how long customers stay in their stores and how often they visit, using that information to tailor the customer experience.

Pave the way for the Internet of Things

A mobile-first network is designed to connect and secure many different kinds of intelligent sensors, devices, and things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) holds many exciting possibilities for public safety, smart buildings, better healthcare, and much more. This also presents new IT challenges, which you can read more about in my previous blog, "The Network Must Protect the Internet of Things."

IoT will become a reality sooner than you may think. Deloitte predicts that by next year, 1 billion wireless IoT devices will be shipped, up 60 percent from last year.  This means that enterprise networks must be ready for them.

Are you ready to get started?

Building a mobile-first network is critical to meet the needs of today's mobile workforce who expect access to mobile-cloud business apps in an instant. This means that enterprise networks must be ready. Tell us your experience in the comments below.

Check back soon. In my next blog, I'll discuss the impact of mobile-cloud technology on the data center.