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It's no secret digital transformation is forcing many enterprises to re-evaluate their network infrastructure and align their organization more closely to business outcomes. Next-generation networks enable technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), smart offices and location analytics that are essential elements in transforming their organization to drive distinct business outcomes. 

These changes are bound to increase stress on the network and expose the need for more scalability, automation, enhanced security, and state-of-the-art analytics platforms and management tools. The campus network is at the center of the shift towards a digital workforce and business transformation as the essential foundation underlying digital technical innovations.

The seamless connectivity of applications and endpoints is the primary function of a campus network. Enterprise services become more cloud-based with numerous AI-powered application systems migrating to the cloud. In addition, campus networks are increasingly being strained by the dramatic expansion of service traffic. Future campus networks must offer high-quality internal and cloud connections with greater capacity and reduced latency if they are to remain relevant. The following outlines and examines three of the latest trends and their impact on the campus architecture of the future.

1. Adopting a unified multicloud network

Enterprise networks are increasingly adopting a multicloud strategy in conjunction with their own private cloud to host their various critical applications. Organizations will need to develop and adopt a unified network architecture that can provide connectivity to multiple cloud providers that also seamlessly integrate with their existing infrastructure.

Overall Functional Blocks of a Typical Enterprise

The campus network will consolidate data center, end-users and cloud applications by leveraging the following:

  1. Cloud connectivity infrastructure that can provide intelligent traffic management to steer traffic on low-latency circuits and to provide direct connectivity between branches on Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) networks, with performance assurance for connectivity to multiple cloud providers.
  2. A programmable network as a service (NaaS) framework that includes Software Defined Fabric with Application Programmable Interfaces (API) that integrates existing network infrastructures, cloud applications and mobile users.
  3. Secure convergence of cloud-native platforms with end-users by using an integrated Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework by unifying SD-WAN with edge security services. Increasingly SASE will allow the network architect to create a security framework that offloads most of the heavy and complex security functions that are distributed within the cloud. Then evolution of SASE framework will over time fully accommodate users with a myriad of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) devices that roam between home, office, and ubiquitous internet access points.

2. Defining security policies and enhancing analytics

Enabling security policies seamlessly across the enterprise network, protecting sensitive enterprise data, as well as end-users anywhere and anytime using multiple devices is evolving rapidly. Within the network, segmentation of traffic for different user roles and data is essential. Challenges persist as security engineers attempt to seamlessly segment the network from end-users, to on-premise applications and applications residing in a multi-cloud environment. The trend toward multi-domain segmentation policy definition is inevitable.

For network engineers, in addition to policy management, security analytics is indispensable in defining an overall comprehensive security strategy. Traditionally, security analytics involved observing data traffic between the client & the server.  Moving forward, security analytics will need to include monitoring data between users, Layer 7 applications, and their associated components in a hybrid multi-cloud environment. Security analytics platforms will leverage an increasing array of data sources to evaluate. Machine learning is also emerging as a technology that detects sophisticated threats, anomalies, and bad actors using network data as well as behavior analysis. 

3. Leveraging IoT for the workplace of the future

Enterprises are increasingly exploring business outcomes supported by hybrid work and optimized operations, accelerating the trend toward smart workplaces and smart buildings. The role of the campus network in architecting toward this new paradigm of the Workplace of the Future is of utmost importance. The following lists some of the requirements for this new architecture.

  • Proximity reporting, contact tracing and density threshold alerts
  • Indoor navigation, meeting room finder and contactless collaboration
  • Space utilization, location analytics and real-time occupancy
  • Asset management, environmental monitoring and higher HVAC/BMS efficiency

The number and variety of devices required to satisfy the use-cases is staggering. The campus infrastructure must be able to interface with a wide array of devices and sensors, such as wall switches, LED (light-emitting diodes) fixtures, environmental sensors, Wi-Fi access points, Wi-Fi cameras and HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) output sensors. Many of these devices need Power of Ethernet (PoE) capabilities, support for daisy-chaining of devices, and powerful analytics platforms for effective end-to-end management of these IoT devices.

Stay ahead of the curve

You want to plan for a secure Workplace of the Future strategy. You want to define and implement a next-generation indoor cloud-based location services solution. But you don't know where to start. 

Start building your next-gen campus network
Start building your next-gen campus network
  1. Define the capabilities of the location analytics services platform that is needed to align with your organization's business outcomes. World Wide Technology can help with the design and implementation of complex use cases within your organization's existing infrastructure.
  2. Evaluate the architectural ramifications of changes to your network and conduct proofs of concept (POCs) in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC). By leveraging the ATC, network engineers can experience first-hand the features and capabilities of the solution.
  3. Simplify the integration of various technologies, collaboration applications, colocation services and IoT devices with workshops and trainings.

Innovate with WWT

The era of next-generation location services is approaching. We invite you to partner with us as you leverage resources and expertise to implement solutions that help you be ready for the future. 

Electric car maker partnered with WWT to build a resilient and flexible network.