SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Matt Brunk | May 01, 2015 |

 
   

Implications of Socializing the Network

Implications of Socializing the Network Achieving and maintaining the right balance between speed, security, reliability, and cost in today's networking environment can be an evasive goal.

Achieving and maintaining the right balance between speed, security, reliability, and cost in today's networking environment can be an evasive goal.

Some things never change, and some old things get reinvented or reintroduced with slick modifications. This is the same in communications as anywhere else.

Some No Jitter readers probably don't remember what happened in the early 1960s when a few select telcos in small towns test-marketed AT&T central office switches offering a new feature: Touch-Tone service. Touch-Tone -- i.e., push-button -- dialing sped up call completion and made service delivery better, faster, and easier, but the telcos didn't make phone service any cheaper for users. Full Touch-Tone market penetration didn't even occur until more than 30 years later.

Thinking back to the old days, how many school papers did you retype because of typing, spelling, or grammatical errors? The word processor made life better, and then it gave way to the PC revolution with software that would assist the user in avoiding the same mistakes experienced with typewriters. And that amazing QWERTY keyboard is still with us today, reduced down to smartphone size.

portable Both wired and wireless communications networks are enabling millions of device-toting users to connect to something or someplace on demand. Transactional processing is an everyday event with smartphones. Mass exchanges of money for goods or services are transacted without much thought, and these occur as naturally and with more ease than ever. Mass marketing engages users with customized messages originating from apps that monitor and learn consumer behavior with GPS accuracy.

For network managers and architects, achieving and maintaining the right balance between speed, security, reliability, and cost in this networking environment is a seemingly evasive goal. Availability and immediate access present challenges, too.

Getting to Know Your Traffic
Better use of existing bandwidth translates to different things. Enforcing acceptable use and traffic prioritization is a start, but the effort shouldn't end there. Knowing what data is being uploaded, downloaded, and stored where and when could lead to changes in network topologies. Knowing your traffic and then determining the impact of cloud use, whether private or public, requires analytical tools. The ideal is in being able to predict and integrate automated processes, removing human latency from the time it takes to react to shifts in complex traffic patterns.

But automated traffic flow and fulfillment doesn't really exist. The movement of data that is the combined essence of everything across the Internet isn't as efficient as it could be, and making better use of existing bandwidth is a global challenge. Is it really practical for bandwidth to be infinite? Without dampening technological improvements, taking an approach of optimization and efficiency seems better. How traffic is routed and where and how data is consumed, I think, are challenges worth exploring -- and this means complex traffic engineering and automated routing to achieve on-the-fly results in a practical way.

Troubleshooting and reducing the mean time-to-repair/restore is demanding and having the right tools in the right places doesn't always guarantee success. While locations and certain assets of a network are static, the traffic carried is dynamic and changes by the second. Relying on help desk reports is akin to taking the old telco approach that everything is fine unless you dare to call and report otherwise -- and you'd better be right or else you pay the toll for dispatch.

Unearthing Human Latency
Human latency is buried within many networks and network management methods. Automated processes to reduce the time to problem recognition, and then identifying its root cause are imperative -- but fixing the problem correctly is often another human latency issue.

I think about a situation I encountered when a high-availability firewall started kicking out alarms that traffic was failing over to a secondary route, signaling a failover state of the primary fiber carrier. SIP phones randomly lost connection for a minute or two. A visual inspection of the closet revealed that the carrier's router was not connected to an uninterruptible power supply, a situation corrected immediately. Still, days later, SIP phones again lost connection randomly and the alerts in the firewall log indicated failover state of the primary fiber carrier. Ultimately we discovered the root cause: errant programming rules caused probes to detect DNS failure and invoke the failover from the primary to secondary carrier when, in fact, no failure had occurred.

Securing stationary and mobile endpoints and perimeter security still largely relies on keeping client software updated, systems patched, and subscriptions for firewalls and security appliances current. These are all moving targets and patching often leads to correction of issues but introduction of new problems and or network behaviors. Hence, IT's resistance to change -- itself another form of human latency that, I might add, isn't without merit. The other latent concerns are reactions to new exploits and the time it takes to counter them. This is the cycle, and the process, and perhaps it's due for change.

Today, workers don't necessarily clog their desks with paper files but may jam their desktops with content files, email messages, and other data. While I don't miss typewriters, I definitely appreciate the Bell System and favor the technological improvements that we've gained. We've created a socialized network employing huge resources to extend access and improve availability. Without adding bandwidth, memory or processing power, what three things can be made more efficient?

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
@telecomworx
Matt Brunk on Google+





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.