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AI, IoT and Machine Learning To Challenge Traditional Networking

The next phase of networking will depend on IT learning to wrangle modern technologies in ways that simplify operations and help humans make decisions.

That's the upshot of a new report by Cisco, which specifically called out technologies like machine learning, machine reasoning and automation. According to the report, "2020 Global Networking Trends Report," the new era of networking will require these technologies to power new ways of building and operating networks and solving associated business challenges.

"Organizations need a new, integrated architecture for each network domain, one that is customized to meet the specific needs of that domain and that provides a way to communicate and enforce consistent policy across all domains," the company said.

Cisco detailed the effects of some key trends on networking:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): In addition to providing connectivity and security for an incredibly diverse range of IoT devices, network administrators will need to devise scalable and efficient ways of automatically identifying, classifying and applying policies, and monitoring them to ensure proper functionality without impacting or compromising other services running on the network.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): To unlock the full potential of AI in business, more computational processing and decision-making have to be done closer to the edge. Depending on performance, capacity, privacy and even cost considerations, the placement of AI processing and data will range from the cloud to on-premises datacenters to the edge of the network.
  • Mobility: Employees accessing cloud applications from corporate and private devices when off network is creating a lack of visibility and control that network and security administrators haven't faced. And a wave of IoT devices will add to wireless networking requirements in terms of scale, different traffic patterns and security.
  • Security: While the network will continue to be a powerful ally in identifying and containing threats, network and security operations need to share data and integrate tools and workflows to best combat the continued rise in number and sophistication of attacks. In addition, the network can extend the reach of IT into cloud environments to help protect applications and data even when not directly under their control.
  • Immersive Experiences: The network will need to provide the end-to-end bandwidth and low-latency communications and dynamic performance controls required to enable such immersive experiences.

Cisco concluded by positioning intent-based networking -- which it offers -- as the new kind of network that's needed to harness emerging technologies and leverage new capabilities to meet business goals.

"In 2025, a leading-edge enterprise network will be able to take a requirement communicated in natural language from any line of business and automatically translate that into a set of policies and automated actions that will ensure that the business need is continuously met across the network -- all without impacting any other existing services," Cisco said. "A network with these kinds of capabilities is what's commonly known as an intent-based network."

The company earlier this year announced new solutions that take its intent-based networking technology to the software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) space, promising increased visibility and control for disparate branches.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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