What Is a Converged Network?
In this article
The rapid adoption of digital technologies requires organizations to handle a large number of IT components. Discrete systems and networks not only increase resource usage but also create a lot of inefficiencies.
As such, more companies are leveraging network convergence to streamline workflows, improve productivity and increase cost-efficiency.
What is a converged network? First of all, it's important to understand the terminology involved. What is generally called a converged network can also be referred to as a converged network system (CNS) or an integrated network system (INS).
With that out of the way, what does a converged network actually do?
In essence, it consolidates multiple IT components (e.g., servers, storage, networking infrastructure, infrastructure management software and automation tools) into an optimized package. Network convergence centralizes the management of infrastructure resources to help lower costs, increase resource-utilization rates and improve service availability.
In communication, a network convergence may consolidate telephone, video and data transmission. In hospitality, network convergence may bring together Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), high-speed internet access (HSIA), television delivered over IP (IPTV) and property management software. In building services, network convergence may consolidate clocks, door lock controllers, lighting, intercoms, solenoid valves, Wi-Fi access points and more.
In network convergence, both IT devices (e.g., computers, servers and printers) and traditionally non-IT devices (e.g., clocks, intercom and video cameras) are connected to the same data network. It can be achieved through different methods, such as data cabling, data outlets, patch leads and a network switch. Besides sending data, the connection can provide power to a device through a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch to eliminate the need for an electrical outlet.
Organizations can benefit from network convergence in many ways, depending on their specific industries and use cases.
The following represent some of the major overarching benefits:
Streamline IT workflows: By consolidating various systems, IT teams can manage all technology-related processes more efficiently.
Improve IT productivity: Shift from reactive case management to proactive innovation delivery to reduce frustration — all while freeing up IT resources to focus on strategic initiatives.
Lower capital expenditure: By combining different devices into a single infrastructure, you don't have to purchase equipment (e.g., a network switch) for individual systems.
Reduce operational expenditure: You need fewer resources to maintain a consolidated network. Remote monitoring also reduces the need to have a big IT team in each office or facility.
Streamline procurement: Use a single manufacturer for network cabling and equipment to ensure consistent quality.
Shorten resolution timeframe: A holistic view of interdependent elements within a network (e.g., point monitoring tools) is key to solving performance issues quickly.
Enable efficient monitoring: Configure and monitor network performance from a centralized location to improve response time and minimize duplicate work.
Enhance scalability: Once a network is set up correctly, you can easily add new services, devices and functionalities to the system with minimal disruption.
Minimize resource usage: From cabling to power, a single connection eliminates redundancies and reduces the resources required to build and maintain a network.
Improve network security: Centralized management and monitoring help improve security and identify issues quickly to minimize damage caused by breaches.
Enhance remote access: Centralize controlled remote access to non-traditional IT devices to improve efficiency and productivity.
Reduce space usage: Less equipment is needed to run a single network so you can free up more space for other purposes.
Improve energy efficiency: By consolidating servers, storage and more, you can lower operating costs while reducing your environmental footprint.
As you can see, there are many options to configure a converged network. The key is determining which approach(es) will meet the needs of your data center or specific use case.
To optimize the benefit of network convergence, it is always best to work with a team of experts that has extensive experience helping organizations in various industries implement a converged infrastructure.
Learn more about how WWT can help your company get the most out of a converged network.