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7 Startups Poised To Change Today's Networks

From wireless mesh and optical switching to protocol translation and vehicular networks, new technology from our top picks could change networks as we know them.
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Today is the fourth annual Start-Up Day in the U.S., which was begun as a way to bring awareness to the challenges of young companies and to help make it easier for them to test new ideas, create new products, and grow their businesses. In honor of this special day, our Top in Tech series highlights seven firms that are leading the way in networking technology.

Venture capitalists poured almost $20 billion into tech startups in the U.S. in 2014, according CB Insights, making it the biggest year for investors since the year 2000. And all signs point at 2015 coming in even higher.

That made it no easy task to create a short list of noteworthy firms. You won't find media favorites like Cloudera or Docker among the ranks. Instead, we've chosen lesser known up-and-comers that are changing network infrastructure and how we think about it. From wireless mesh and optical switching to protocol translation and vehicular networks, technology from the companies on the following pages will make you think about the untapped potential of the connected world.

(Cover image: pixdeluxe/iStockphoto)

Check out our other Top in Tech lists:

 

Stay on top of the hottest trends in IT with Network Computing and Interop's Top in Tech lists. We bring to you emerging vendors, innovative products, and insightful technology from around the networking and infrastructure industries. View Full Bio

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Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
8/24/2015 | 8:18:56 PM
Re: We've Come a Long Way
Mike, thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the piece; I think it's important to show all the new and innovative things that are going on in the industry and help everyone think outside of the box a bit. It's definitely an exciting time to be in networking :)
WoodCast
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WoodCast,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/23/2015 | 1:10:39 PM
We've Come a Long Way
Hi @Susan,

Thank you for sharing your research on seven startups who are positively influencing the networking industry today.  It really is amazing to see how many of the ideas people have talked about, sketched out or even prototyped over the last decade are now a reality. 

Delivering a communication mesh network for connected vehicles, scaling plug-and-play sensors and a creating a pervasive secure cloud-based WAN demonstrate that cloud applications, mobile devices, branch offices and the billions of IoT end points will scale globally.  The networking industry is certainly poised to take advantage of the innovation being driven by these frontrunner startups.

Looking forward to reading Network Computing's coverage of SD-WAN in the next few weeks.

Best,
Mike
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/20/2015 | 8:56:14 PM
Re: Startups
@Susan, I completely agree. A lot of companies are managing to turn ideas into reality. If we take into account networks, robotics, analytics and security, etc., it seems that the world is experiencing a technology revolution that might turn out to be as significant as the industrial revolution.

I feel that this is a comprehensive list of network startups. Startups that are going to create an even greater demand on network resources on the macro scale -- it is a macro environment with a huge traffic load of video and mobile multimedia, etc.

Affirmed Networks is one company that is aiming to make mobile networks efficient and profitable for data providers. However, it is a 5 year old company that has reached the $1 billion valuation mark. Hence, it is difficult to view it as a startup. Nevertheless, the macro environment is so large that maybe it requires a $1 billion company to turn into a $10 billion company before efficiency gains are recognized.  
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
8/20/2015 | 11:55:31 AM
Fiber Mountain
I met with Fiber Mountain at Interop. What the company is doing is really interesting, but it does require an organization to make huge changes to its network, which could be daunting.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
8/20/2015 | 10:25:12 AM
Re: Startups
Brian, thanks for your thoughts. I agree that startups are essential, but htere are so many out there it's hard to learn about them all. Are there any others you would add to this list, or segments of the market you think we could focus on to highlight more up-and-comers?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/19/2015 | 9:27:28 PM
Startups
Startups are the life blood of an economy. They create new jobs and help the economy to transition into a greater specialized and efficient economy. It is important that startups gain all the necessary support that is required to grow and scale as they are creating great environments that are functional. A year ago LiFi seemed like a good possibility that would do away with cables and bypass congested airways but, it was mostly theoretical. It is good to see that a company is already at market with their second LiFi product. 
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