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There used to be a time when downloading a low-resolution image file would be time-consuming and just streaming audio would leave us with the dreaded 'buffering' alert. If you were to even talk about network services like dial-up connections, phone lines, and Internet speeds of 56Kbps today, it would be simply unthinkable! In the context of today's digital economy, fiber optic broadband and mobile telecom networks are an inherent - and in more developed parts of the world, an expected - part of life.
The sharing and consumption of data has changed dramatically in the past 50 years driven by a number of factors including smartphone penetration and Internet of Things (IoT). It is projected that by 2022, the number of IP-connected devices will be more than three times the global population and machine-to-machine connections that support IoT applications will account for more than half of the world’s 28.5 billion connected devices!
There exists a wide array of legacy access and transport solutions that connect businesses to the locations where data resides including analog dedicated private lines, Ethernet, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), fiber wavelength service and the emerging 5G LTE wireless technologies to name a few.
Today, users are being connected to massive volumes of information and content residing in data centers across the globe. There are a number of trends in Asia Pacific and globally that are driving increased demand on robust connectivity, such as the rise of smart cities, the momentum of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies for business applications, surging demand for cloud infrastructure and local distributed computing resources that extend the reach of the cloud ever closer to the source of where data is generated.
The network is currently in a transformational state driven by the accelerated demand for data that is always available, anytime, anywhere at increasingly faster timeframes.
The network today has shifted from a static array of interconnected, one-dimensional technologies to a dynamic, always available platform. It is a network that flexes and adjusts to meet the equally dynamic needs of a digital driven economy and is responsive, intelligent, and secure.
However, when we operate in an 'on-demand' digital economy, where people are constantly using apps to access and fulfill requests (such as taxi and hotel bookings, online shopping, financial transactions, video conversations, or streaming movies and music) instantaneously at the touch of a button, traditional telecom networks have been challenged to keep up. It is no longer adequate to just provide data - this data needs to be packaged and delivered appropriately as user expectations become more intricate. For instance, data needs to be consistently available and refreshed instantly, the experience needs to be dynamic and versatile, and responses need to be seamless providing an uninterrupted two-way interactive experience.
It was this inflection point at which the software-defined network (SDN) was introduced to accelerate digital transformation. SDN takes the complex, proprietary hardware-based networks of the past, turning them into a programmable intelligent platform that enables enterprises and service providers to respond and adapt on-demand to changing business requirements. It is a key component of CenturyLink’s Adaptive Networking solutions and capabilities.
Driven by growth, acquisition, and the changing technology landscape, organizations have adopted a mix of network infrastructure. Dedicated networks were adopted to meet specific requirements including privacy, performance, reach, and the support of hosted and converged services. This patchwork of purpose-built network, with its assortment of protocols, vendors, and devices, has placed limits on the IT administrator's ability to quickly view and immediately respond to performance issues.
The challenges of a digital world have disrupted this model. Mobile devices, sensors, and cloud-based services have extended the boundaries of the network perimeter. As more data is shared in more places, greater information security and network control is required to maintain performance. And the digital world will not wait.
As a business grows and customer demands increase, it will require a robust and high-performance network that will mirror this growth to provide reliable and secure data access. An adaptive network provides that support by incorporating intelligence and automation to handle transmission of data in a logical manner. For example, by utilizing real-time performance analytics to scale bandwidth requirements, assigning private network access to protect customer information, encrypting data to dynamically act upon cyber threats, or predicting customer behavior based on certain patterns.
Likewise, if a shared application that connects to the cloud experiences heavy traffic, you can assign direct Internet access for optimal performance and availability while assigning the required security policies. Best of all, these capabilities can be managed by IT teams via a single dashboard, to control numerous connected devices and gain visibility into how information is delivered over the Internet, private networks, or wireless connections.
Challenged by WAN Modernization?
Get more insights from the IDG Research Survey, June 2018
Users are spoilt for choice today, whether in every day routine experiences or when it comes to entertainment. Higher network quality and performance will undoubtedly be the starting points to cementing customer loyalty.
Asia Pacific now accounts for almost half of all worldwide video consumption. In fact, as of 2017, 95% of China’s 731 million Internet users consumed information on mobile devices. Video consumption and viewing habits are also changing around the world, leading to deeper market penetration by over-the-top (OTT) content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. However, as they look to new revenue streams, these providers and emerging ones will increasingly rely on the power of adaptive networks to deliver the best content experiences to customers, regardless of how they choose to consume and connect.
One such company is Mangomolo, when it launched its online video platform aiming to make it easier for publishers and broadcasters to deliver their content. Based in Lebanon, Mangomolo is experiencing the benefits of CenturyLink’s CDN solutions to deliver a seamless experience, even when faced with large amounts of traffic, and help the company break into new markets.
As usage of personal devices and unsecured Wi-Fi in business becomes commonplace, solutions such as CenturyLink Adaptive Network Security provide a secure network gateway to your company’s data while capturing and neutralizing security threats more efficiently and effectively.
Continuing the conversation on enabling digital businesses, my next blog will focus on IT Agility.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my other blogs here:
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