Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series


Wi-Fi to Rule Enterprise Networks, Predicts New Report

Eighty percent of network access will eventually be wireless, says a new report from IT services group Dimension Data.

A new report predicts that wireless access will eventually dominate wired access in enterprise networks. The "2013 Network Barometer Report" (registration required) by Dimension Data, an IT services provider (and part of the NTT Group), was built in part by harvesting data directly from network devices used by hundreds of Dimension's clients worldwide.

Right now, Dimension claims, the split between traditional wired and wireless access ports runs about 80% wired, 20% wireless. But replacing wired ports with wireless ones will cost less to install and maintain; require less cabling, cooling and power; and provide more completely unified access methodologies. In turn, it will provide security as good as anything available on wired networks.

More Insights

Webcasts

More >>

White Papers

More >>

Reports

More >>

"We predict that the combination of these factors, in addition to pressure from end users, will eventually turn the 80-20 ratio on its head so that future networks will be 80% wireless and 20% wired," according to Dimension.

What's lacking, in Dimension's view, is real preparedness on the back end for such a shift. In its view, simply substituting wireless access points for conventional network ports won't cut it--not with high-bandwidth protocols like 802.11ac already coming into use.

"Pervasive wireless access will also have an impact on the uplink environment," the report states. "Since there will be fewer access switches serving end users, more bandwidth will be required from the access switch into the core network."

Dimension gave particular attention to the life cycle of hardware assets--in particular, network gear--and noted that the percentages of devices past their end-of-sale date has increased for three straight years in a row, and is now at its highest level in five years (which is when Dimension began collecting this data). The company recommends that IT "think, plan and budget architecturally, rather than reactively, when refreshing your network," especially in light of the emerging need for newer networking gear to support the rise of enterprise mobility and BYOD.

InformationWeek's own 2013 Wireless LAN Survey (registration required) also notes the growth of Wi-Fi in enterprise networks, but respondents seemed less bullish on Wi-Fi dominance, with only 21% of those surveyed anticipating that WLANs would drive out conventional wired connections in the next five years. That said, downplaying wireless in the enterprise is a losing strategy.

Another point of concern in the data harvested by Dimension touches on management, maintenance and security issues with network gear. Of particular concern is Cisco IOS: Assessments found that as of 2012, fully one-quarter of the networks surveyed had up to 20 different versions of IOS in place. Twenty-one percent had anywhere from two to 30; 15% had 31 to 50. Few organizations seem to be moving to standardize on a limited number of IOS versions, and are "adopting a wait-and-see approach to refreshing and standardizing their networks."

Yet another trend Dimension claims is pushing network managers toward a refresh of their hardware is support for advanced features over wired networking. This includes Gigabit Ethernet, but also Power over Ethernet (PoE), as well as the requisite 10-GB uplinks to support such connections.



Related Reading



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.