As new, exciting technologies become reality, IT teams are updating systems and considering the best technology options to support new tools. IoT, for example, needs a strong networking foundation. It’s more than just a reliable network that’s needed, but a complex network design that allows for real-time data analysis between and among all the dispersed IoT sensors. That data today mostly still goes to a centralized repository for analysis. SD-WAN has emerged as a way to speed up IoT, since traditional WAN links might not be able to keep up with IoT traffic. IT network teams can configure the WAN to prioritize IoT to be delivered above other workloads.
In other news on improving networks: 5G wireless, plus NFV and SDN, could equal the most efficient network architectures yet. 5G is just the next generation of a networking standard, but network virtualization technologies could really make 5G performance stand out. Like so many other potential technology advancements, it’ll take some work for 5G and network virtualization to integrate. 5G brings a lot of performance benefits since it uses faster fiber connections and low latency, and can help support AI and automation—overall, a forward-looking network technology. But the fiber infrastructure is still in its infancy, since it’s expensive for operators to upgrade. Service providers are starting to look ahead to creating a platform that’s built around cloud, distributed and uses SDN and NFV software for virtualization. Once that’s a reality, providers will have a new way of delivering services to customers.
Here’s a look at one small, but important, detail of modern networking: the humble antenna. They’re not sprouting out of our TVs or phones anymore, but antennas are everywhere—the average smartphone contains two to four antennas. They’re much smaller, and are evolving technologically as demand for wireless networks everywhere continues to grow. Gigabit LTE, 5G, IoT and the endless demand for WiFi from users are pushing traditional limits. The key to antennas that will keep up with modern networking needs is the way they’re tuned. If an antenna is tuned to pick up the right frequency at the right time, and tuned to perform in unison with other antennas, it’ll work better and add to the overall performance of the device. The devil is in the details when it comes to placement, maintenance and tuning of antennas, but the better end-user experience will be worth it.
What might be on the horizon for security breaches this year? Unfortunately, if 2018 is anything like last year, there will be plenty. Breaches were common, and malware increased quite a bit. There are tips here on what to watch out for this year, keeping in mind that enterprises are now protecting data that’s on-premises and in the cloud. Web application attacks are now more common because of cloud computing and the proliferation of web apps. One report found that web app-related breaches increased 300% from 2014 to 2016, and companies aren’t necessarily spending enough to combat them. There hasn’t yet been a major cloud infrastructure attack or breach, and that will likely hold true this year. Despite early impressions of the cloud as less secure, on-premises environments still have way more security problems. GDPR fines will start this year, keeping security teams on their toes. And other areas to consider when securing IT infrastructure are computing resources and IoT devices, both of which are attractive targets for hackers.