How a Network Refresh Can Keep Business Moving Forward
In our last two posts we talked about how the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard is taking wireless networks to the next level. Many organizations are adopting this new high-speed Wi-Fi standard in order to support growing numbers of devices and bandwidth-hungry applications.
But even as organizations are souping up their wireless networks, they are waiting longer and longer to upgrade their wired infrastructure. According to Dimension Data’s Network Barometer Report 2014, the network refresh cycle in enterprise networking equipment has reached a six-year high. In fact, half of network switches, routers and wireless devices are either aging or obsolete. Devices that are past end of sale are considered “aging,” while those past end of support are considered obsolete. In many cases, the recession caused organizations to delay upgrades and squeeze every last drop of juice from their legacy network equipment.
The useful life of networking equipment ranges from three to five years all the way up to seven to 10 years, depending upon whom you ask. However, even though certain components of your network infrastructure may still be working, older technology could be preventing your network from properly supporting new wireless and Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies.
High-performance Wi-Fi is essential for most enterprises, yet a rapid increase in mobile device density is making it difficult to keep up with heavy bandwidth demands. A network refresh may be required if enterprises are going to meet employee and customer expectations for wireless speed and availability and support new, faster Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac. Enterprises will likely need to rethink wireless network design and upgrade their wired network, which will in turn make the wireless network function better.
Significant bandwidth is also needed to support a VoIP-based phone system and server virtualization, which consolidates servers and runs multiple applications on each server. When upgrading the network, enterprises should look for network switches that provide Power over Ethernet capabilities. PoE supports wireless access points and VoIP equipment without having to run AC power to each of those devices. Fortunately, lower prices for Ethernet technology are making a network refresh more economically feasible.
In addition to better supporting the wireless network, VoIP and virtualized environments, there are several key benefits to upgrading your network infrastructure.
- Productivity will be enhanced when employees have access to more reliable connections, inside and outside of the office.
- Your network will be able to support innovative services and new product features and functionality.
- Your network will be more efficient, more cost-effective and easier to manage.
Let ICG assess your network infrastructure to determine if it’s capable of supporting wireless, VoIP and virtualization technology. A network refresh may be necessary to take your organization to the next level.