If you want to invest in your network to enable or improve unified communications (UC) and teleworking, which technologies should you consider?
Here are some words of advice from a recent article I read by Nemertes Research on three networking investments that make a difference. Thought you’d like to read about them, too:
#1 – Monitor and manage the network for quality of service — not just bandwidth use. It can make a great difference in enabling UC. Audio, video and presence applications depend on underlying real-time protocols sensitive to network performance. Latency and packet loss affect all UC applications, but because of the real-time nature of protocols, there’s not much you can do to recover from packet loss and delays. You can try to throw more bandwidth at the problem, but eventually you’ll experience the same problems with traffic variations.
The real answer is providing for end-to-end quality-of-service (QoS) and traffic-shaping capabilities.
Managing end-to-end quality is a more efficient investment than adding bandwidth. It’s not enough to fix a WAN or LAN; you’ve got to monitor performance and apply traffic-shaping across the entire packet path. Improvements in quality will continue to produce return on investment (ROI) and, you can squeeze the maximum performance from your existing network.
#2 – End-to-end security is another important factor to consider. It supports the use of all your applications, anywhere, anytime, from any device. As a result, you make possible the virtual workplace. To build several layers of defense, consider applying all of the following:
#3 – Make UC mobile. Everybody wants mobility these days, and it’s the wave, or should I say, tsunami, of the future. But investing in mobility means building wireless networks in the areas you control and integrating wireless, for example, 3G, everywhere else.
What’s more, it’s important to connect the parts of the network you can control (or own) with those you can’t, for example, connecting iPhone users in a corporate office in Nigeria in a secure manner and with high performance to your data center in the U.S.
I invite you to tell me about your strategies, challenges and successes in building or improving UC.