Living on the Edge (of Your Network) to Optimize Remote Locations
by August 9, 2017

Filed under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

Just as you’re starting to get comfortable with the cloud, IT reporters may have you thinking there’s a new wave about to replace it—edge computing. And as the Internet of Things takes hold in the workplace, moving processing power to the edge will certainly be important.

However, there aren’t many businesses that are prepared to revamp their entire organizations for edge computing. The cloud isn’t going anywhere either, and businesses are still figuring out their best cloud adoption plans.

Even if edge computing is years away, the edge of your network still requires significant attention now. For any distributed organization with remote locations to support, optimizing the edge of the network should be a top priority.

Why the Brains of Your Network Are at the Edge

“In any type of network, the edge is where all the action takes place. Think of the edge as the brains of the network, while the core is just the dumb muscle.”

Orhan Ergun, Network Computing

Ever since businesses opened up their networks to ISPs and other OTT service providers, network functionality has increasingly moved to the edge of the network.

With so much focus on distributing businesses and digital transformation, there’s no value in implementing highly functional core devices. Instead, the core of your network (at least until edge computing goes mainstream) is responsible for packet forwarding and traffic routing to and from all your applications and services.

Outside of packet forwarding, networking features exist in various edge devices and technology. Some of the important features at the edge of your network include:

  • Security and validation of user access to the network
  • Endpoint recognition and monitoring
  • Application data delivery to end users
  • Cyber threat prevention
  • Network segmentation

Without granular control over edge functionality, you can lose access to valuable data and will inevitably hit an end-user experience wall.

Understanding Your Business at the Edge

There’s a significant difference between designing a network with valuable edge devices in place and making sure you have the means to understand everything that’s happening at your remote locations.

With remote and branch offices relying on the core network at your headquarters, the only way to see all application and end-user experience data is to gain visibility at the edge. When you have granular access to user, application, and device data traversing the edge of remote networks, you can derive valuable insights that can help improve employee productivity as well as business performance.

One way to put this edge data to use is to optimize your QoS policies. Rather than implementing QoS enforcement at the core network, you can push it closer to the source and make sure traffic prioritization is tailored to the specific needs of individual remote offices.

The only question is whether or not you have the means to monitor the edge of the network and your remote locations. If you want to learn more about how to get the edge under control, download our free white paper, Choosing the Right Technology for Remote Location Monitoring.