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Report indicates major network shift underway

Dimension Data this week released the results of its annual Network Barometer Report 2013, which evaluates the readiness of enterprise networks to support critical business operations. 


June 26, 2013  


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Dimension Data this week released the results of its annual Network Barometer Report 2013, which evaluates the readiness of enterprise networks to support critical business operations. 

The announcement, made during the Cisco Live user conference in Orlando, Fla., found that when comparing a traditional wired network deployment supporting 100 users to a wireless network of the same size, the reduction in physical hardware — LAN switches, discrete wireless LAN controllers and cabling — makes the wireless network up to 50% less expensive.

In addition to the capital savings, the operation and management of this user environment is also reduced.

According to the report, most networks today consist of approximately 80% wired ports serving individual users, and 20% wireless LAN (WLAN) ports supporting multiple users.

However, as users continue to pressure organizations to facilitate enterprise mobility, and as networks are transformed to accommodate this shift in expectations, networks set up for largely wireless users will cost far less to roll out than traditional, predominantly wired networks, it stated.

According to the company, this shift to BYOD will result in significantly lower operational costs since these networks will be easier to manage, provide unified access to users and require less power and cooling.

Dimension Data predicts that the combination of these factors will eventually turn the “80:20 ratio on its head,” with future networks 80% wireless and 20% wired.

The company conducts its annual Network Barometer Report by evaluating clients on the following factors: adherence to best practices, potential security vulnerabilities and the end-of-life status of network devices.

“This year we extended the architectural discussion introduced in 2012, and explored the impact of enterprise mobility on the underlying network and how this trend will fundamentally change the way in which networks are designed, paid for and deployed,” said Grant Sainsbury, the firm’s vice president of advanced solutions.

“The data in the 2013 Network Barometer Report indicates that organizations are not upgrading their networks for enterprise mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments as aggressively as anticipated. However, we expect that this delay will inevitably change to meet the demands of the mobile user and to accommodate the new structure of future networks and the cost savings that this brings.”

Other findings include:

* The number of devices on corporate IT networks carrying vulnerabilities has dropped from 75% in 2011 to 67% in 2012. While this is the lowest figure in two years, it highlights ongoing challenges faced by security managers.

* From an architectural perspective, networks of the future will not function optimally if the majority of wired ports — perhaps every port — cannot support power-over-Ethernet and handle gigabit Ethernet. One-third of all access switches support power-over-Ethernet, while a little under half support gigabit Ethernet.

* For the third year in a row, the percentage of devices past end-of-sale (EoS) has increased since 2009 when Dimension Data published its first Network Barometer Report.. 

A summary of the report can be downloaded at www.dimensiondata.com/NBR13.