What To Expect from the Internet of Things

Businesses everywhere count on their WANs to support essential activities such as retrieving data from an ERP-connected app on a tablet, making a VoIP call from a phone or sending an email from a PC. Soon, though, IP connectivity will spread beyond just these use cases to encompass many other devices and applications, from sensors embedded within supply chains to keep tabs on order fulfillment, to increasingly flexible ERP systems that can handle real-time data. New pressure will be placed upon the WAN. What’s the catalyst for this change? It’s the Internet of Things.

What the Internet of Things means for the enterprise WAN
The total number of mobile devices in use is enormous at more than 7 billion – greater than the current human population. But it’s a small figure compared to what the IoT could eventually turn into. Research firm Gartner has estimated that the number of Internet-connected objects could climb from 3.9 billion in 2014 to around 25 billion by the end of the decade.

If this extraordinary growth pans out, it means that bandwidth and reliable network paths across the WAN could be severely constrained as new hardware and software vie for limited resources in the IoT. InformationWeek’s 2014 Next-Generation WAN Survey underscored the potential issues:

  • More than two-thirds of survey takers expected demand for WAN bandwidth to rise over the next year, yet a mere 15 percent planned to add more capacity in response. Expense (e.g., having to buy up more MPLS links) could be a possible impediment to WAN evolution.
  • Forty percent reported that that they had at least 16 remote or branch offices connected to their primary facilities. These sites, which are sometimes neglected during infrastructure and network upgrades, could really feel the crunch from the IoT’s expansion.
  • Perhaps seeing the need for fresh bandwidth and cost-effective scalability, 36 percent of survey respondents admitted that they were considering cloud-based WAN services. Lowering costs and shortening time to deployment are common initial reasons for considering broadband Internet as a complement to MPLS in the WAN.

In a way, the IoT is like a giant amplifier for all of today’s key networking challenges, including traffic management, WAN support to remote sites, application prioritization and overall network security. Enterprises will need a WAN that can cut through the noise and complexity of the IoT’s myriad devices so that VoIP, UC, video and other mission-critical services are secured and capable of getting the resources they require.

The Talari THINKING WAN provides intelligence to handle the IoT's many applications and devices.The Talari THINKING WAN provides intelligence to handle the IoT’s many applications and devices.

“[T]he IoT will cause the bandwidth gap to balloon out of control,” explained Deepak Kumar in a column for Network Computing. “Enterprises will see enormous amounts of traffic coming from a massive number of sources. In addition to more bandwidth, enterprises need to plan for bandwidth optimization and stricter traffic management. IT departments will need to ensure they have mechanisms that prioritize Internet and intranet access to business-critical applications and devices first.”

Software defined WAN: a perfect match for the Internet of Things
Fortunately, solutions such as Talari THINKING WAN have arrived at this time when enterprises are reconceiving their WANs for the vast scope and bandwidth-intensive nature of the IoT. By thinking for itself and adapting to changing network conditions, Talari’s software defined WAN gives companies a platform that is reliable, flexible and cost-effective. Employees can count on an SD WAN that just works.

“SD WAN helps unlock the potential of the IoT”

While individual IoT applications are usually not high-bandwidth, as a group they add up and put significant strain on WANs already tasked with supporting key communications services. Plus, they also must operate effectively in tandem and at scale. Consider a next-generation ERP, which may be connected to Web portals, customer relationship management tools and/or manufacturing execution systems. High jitter or link failure could cause any of these apps to fail, resulting in a costly interruption.

With Talari THINKING WAN, such network impairments are much more manageable. Traffic prioritization ensures that real-time data reaches its destination without issue, while bandwidth reservation and Quality of Service are available even to networks without inherent QoS. Accordingly, other networks like broadband Internet can be aggregated and used effectively in conjunction with MPLS to provide more bandwidth to applications. Broadband is put to good use rather than confined to VPN backup connections

Moreover, SD WAN helps unlock the potential of the IoT for enterprises. For example, IT departments get to identify well- and poor-performing links so that they can know how to best support the cloud applications that interact with their IoT endpoints. Think of the SD WAN as the glue that holds the sprawling IoT together. It offers the flexibility, reliability and intelligence needed to evolve the network for new devices and applications. Try a Talari product demo today.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), IT Challenges, WAN to Cloud, Network Reliability