There have been many quantum leaps in information technology in recent years, and technology seems to move forward in this sphere on an almost weekly basis. One of the particular recent quantum leaps, though, is the phenomenon of next generation networks.
Next Generation Networks are a series of fundamental architectural changes to telecommunication and access networks which are set to revolutionise the network operations of many businesses. With Next Generation Networks, a singular network is able to transmit all sources of information – ie. voice, data and media inputs. This is achieved by encapsulating the data into ‘packets’; a similar technique to that which is frequently used on the Internet. Next Generation Networks are thus usually based on Internet Protocol.
The concept of Next Generation Networks has been considered necessary due to the growing significance of two twin trends – Big Data and cloud computing. These intensive and complex elements of modern communication, technology and commerce are placing greater demands on contemporary computing networks, and ensuring that radical new solutions need to be sought in order for companies to make the most out of them, and keep up with the competition.
Cloud computing offers great opportunities to organisations in a wide range of different enterprises, but also by its very nature means that businesses that opt for cloud-based systems need a stable network in order to be able to access core business applications.
Another recent technology which is gaining prominence, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which enables staff to use their own devices on a corporatised network, is also placing strain on out-of-date networks by, for example, increasing the amount of traffic being run on companies’ internal systems. This can cause them to creak under the strain, or even crash.
So how can Next Generation Networks help your organisation? Well, one of the first and most obvious advantages of operating a Next Generation Network is that they have yet to be taken on by a large number of organisations, so you are effectively gaining a massive commercial advantage by opting for one. Companies’ networking is still typically seen as not being a fundamental part of profitability, and not something for which huge amounts of money should be set aside unless absolutely necessary. This rather misses the point of the revolution which is going to take place with regard to the cloud in the next few years, and those who don’t get in on the ground floor will probably greatly regret it at a later date.
Next Generation Networks are extremely flexible. Next Generation Network technology enables a company’s existing network to continue unabated, while building enabling inter-operability and the implementation of new capabilities. Next Generation Networks also give users the power to communicate and access services from different locations and environments; in this respect Next Generation Networks obviously represents the ideal technology to be utilised for cloud-based services.
Another huge advantage of Next Generation Networks are their flexibility, offering users the ability to communicate with anyone accessing the network via a variety of different inputs, with or without service continuity, and while away from a business’ standard location. Next Generation switches are also known to be extremely flexible, combining scalability with an open service creation environment (SCE).
Next Generation Networks have even been shown to be cost-effective, with the rich SCE inherent within the networks enabling the accurate deployment of services, enabling businesses to pay only for that which they intend to use.
Many businesses are already implementing Next Generation Networks, and some of them are less commercial than you might imagine. Over the next few years, this technology will occupy a highly important position, and there is no doubt that early adopters won’t regret it.
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