High Availability from Campus to Cloud
Except for the microchip, perhaps nothing is more impactful to information technology’s genesis than enterprise networking.
Enterprise networks first were centered on local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) standards, enabled by cabling, routers, switches and firewalls that moved and helped secure traffic bound for apps and data housed on servers and storage systems. Later, with the advent of wireless technology, access points and controllers allowed more freedom of movement within offices as people could connect their devices to the network without ethernet cables (WLAN). While all of these elements have grown up considerably over time – becoming much more powerful yet much simpler to deploy and manage — they still represent the essence of enterprise networking.
Solutions for Enterprise Networking
The purpose of enterprise networking has always been to increase collaboration and efficiency among business colleagues by facilitating access to shared resources like data files, software and even peripheral devices like printers and scanners.
Our engineers build resilient, high performing, continuously available networks that are responsive to rapidly changing business needs and emerging technologies for multicloud environments.
For IT leaders, our network architectures include centralized management capabilities through increased programmability, automation and orchestration. These features allow network administrators to extend policies across clouds and have greater visibility into network function and overall security. They also promote much-desired “zero-touch provisioning,” predictive analytics and self-healing capabilities.
Enterprise networking is fundamental to Structured’s origins. We’ve been building secure and scalable LANs, WANs, and WLANs for our entire 3-decade history.
Modern requirements in enterprise networking have naturally led to device management capabilities being decoupled from underlying hardware to create a simpler, more user-friendly environment for IT administrators. Software-defined networking (SDN) is an approach that allows administrators to manage network services through the separation of control plane management of network devices from the underlying data plane that forwards network traffic.
With proper methodology, SDN can resolve today’s IT complexity challenges by operationalizing the network to create a more flexible, secure and programmable data center fabric that can rapidly respond to requirements for new services and changing network conditions.
Networks built on SDN principles provide an ideal foundation for users to build elastic clouds. Enterprises and service providers can evolve their infrastructure to private, public or hybrid cloud with support for multi-tenancy, self-service and operation orchestration and automation. SDN supports security constructs like segmentation through intent- or policy-based management. SDN can also deliver greater cost savings over time as it eliminates siloed functions and the need for redundant hardware.
Routers direct traffic over the internet by forwarding data packets between networks. They are used in home networks all the way though the very largest service providers that make up the internet’s backbone. Massive traffic growth from mobile, voice, video, IoT devices — as well as the fact that many organizations are moving their apps and workloads to the cloud — means these devices need stability, scalability and speed to deliver results. 5G is only adding to the need for speed and scale.
Switches connect devices on a network by directing data packets between them. As organizations have become increasingly large and distributed, with assets in the data center, across the network campus and extending to branches or even single devices at the edge, enterprise switching has needed to adapt accordingly.
Like software-defined networking, switch management has increasingly become centralized — or consolidated into a fabric — due to performance, provisioning, and ease-of-use mandates. A fabric switching solution is composed of multiple components working together as a single switch to provide high-performance, any-to-any connectivity and management simplicity. This concept flattens the entire data center network to a single tier where all access points are equal, eliminating the effects of network locality and making it the ideal network foundation for cloud-ready, virtualized data centers.
Wireless Networks (WLAN)
Wireless networks introduced a new level of flexibility into enterprise networking and boosted productivity all over the world as people were able to access network resources from any location provided they had wireless access to the internet. Access points and controllers generally compose wireless systems, but for some smaller converged deployments an access switch performs the role of both network switch and wireless controller. Like everything else in technology, organizations are increasingly turning to the cloud for provisioning and management of the wireless infrastructure.
Wireless networking standards are always improving to reflect need for speed and capacity to provide optimal throughput for traffic generated by all kinds of devices, including the ever-increasing range of wireless IoT devices. Currently, the standard is 802.11ax, commonly known as Wi-Fi 6. It represents a massive improvement in how wireless networks deal with multi-user density and capacity requirements for low-latency traffic like streaming HD video and low-bandwidth traffic from IoT devices.
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)
Firewalls are network security devices that inspect traffic, allowing traffic that is deemed safe and barring any that poses a threat. These threats could come in the form of malware, viruses or phishing attacks from the outside or from data exfiltration attempts from the inside.
Initially, firewalls only provided a barrier against untrusted traffic that was generated outside the network perimeter. But, as modern-day threats emerged and as perimeters became porous, firewalls improved to protect against malicious threats moving laterally within the network.
Modern firewalls, often referred to as next-generation firewalls, combine the capabilities of traditional stateful inspection devices with advanced features like deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention, web filtering, anti-malware technology, and some identity management and policy orchestration capabilities.
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Putting Wisdom Into Practice
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By: Structured Wireless & Mobility Engineers Jed Rabe, CWNE, ACDX, ACMPv8, and Don Wright, ACDX, ACMP, CWDP, CWNA, MGCA — Clients rely on the team at Structured to plan, deploy and support their wireless infrastructure — especially when that technology is from Aruba Networks. Improvements in the Wi-Fi standard, LPWAN, and indoor tracking and wayfinding…