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Why Infrastructure’s More Important than Ever
With the upheavals of the past 15 months, it’s not surprising that the industry is placing so much emphasis on what old-timers used to call “Layer 8” of the seven-layer OSI stack. For those who didn’t grow up on the OSI model, it envisions a networking stack with the physical medium (copper, fiber, radio frequencies) at the bottom, and builds up to the Application layer — Layer 7 — at the top. So, what’s Layer 8? It’s the person using that application. Techie wit has always been pretty dry.
Enterprise Connect 2021, which takes place in Orlando, Fla., the week of Sept. 27, pays more attention to the end-user experience than any event we’ve done in our 30-plus-year history. We’ve got sessions on Employee Experience, User Adoption, the Future of Work, and more. Since it’s Enterprise Connect, these sessions take an IT/communications professional’s view on these topics — what technologies help you support these new requirements? But IT/communications decision-makers have to build their next strategy around technologies that can show real improvements in the employee and customer experience, so they need to understand what that experience is like for real people.
That said, so much of that experience is determined by those lower layers of the old OSI model. We saw this during the pandemic: overtaxed home WiFi networks; concerns about security; inconsistent setups for home-based videoconferencing. We’re seeing it in the impact of the chip shortage, which is affecting enterprises’ ability to procure the devices they’d envisioned as critical parts of their future collaboration deployments.
That’s why Enterprise Connect Orlando 2021 has a robust offering of Conference sessions dedicated to those lower layers that support the communications, collaboration, and, ultimately, the productivity that end users are trying to realize. Just a few examples:
- Our expert on WAN services, Joe Schmidt of TechCaliber Consulting, will help you understand how hybrid work-driven changes in your office utilization may affect your bandwidth and service requirements — and how to deal with your service providers as you adjust your WAN architecture for the new reality.
- Sorell Slaymaker of TechVision Research will provide an update on The Evolution of Security in Communications.
- Our IP networking guru, Terry Slattery of Chesapeake Netcraftsmen, will offer WiFi Tips for Better Digital Experience. And while home WiFi performance garnered most of the attention during the pandemic, Terry will also examine the changes you might have to make to office WiFi deployments to account for the new ways that facilities will be populated and used in the future.
- For the full-stack view, Terry will also present a session on a new class of monitoring tools for IT managers, Digital Experience (DX) Monitoring. As our session abstract describes it, these tools “combine application performance monitoring (APM), real user monitoring (RUM), active testing, and network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) to provide a more comprehensive view of the employee’s experience.”
The coolest features in the hottest collaboration application won’t do end users any good if basic performance is inconsistent. More than ever, enterprise IT/communications professionals need to be able to understand end users’ experience and needs, and then must be able to make decisions about the underlying networks and systems that can make those experiences better. That’s going to be one of the core realities we’ll explore in Orlando next September. I hope you can join us; as a No Jitter reader, use the code NJAL200 at registration to save $200 off current rate.