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Dan Conde
Dan Conde
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5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Network Switch

With increasing wireless requirements and other pressures in today's IT environment, you might not want to wait until the next refresh cycle for that campus network switch replacement.
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Campus network switches aren’t updated as frequently as data center switches, but there are some good reasons why it may be worthwhile to upgrade now and not wait until the end of the regular refresh cycle.

Practically speaking, campus networking is wireless networking, and there are more devices connecting to the network. More devices mean more bandwidth requirements, and it’s hard to figure out what the BYOD devices are going to be doing, whether it’s just plain download bandwidth, something time critical like VoIP, or a sudden surge like Apple iOS version updates. And once end users are tied to a new way of using devices, network teams are often forced to adapt. BYOD not only means bring your own devices, but “because you’re overly demanding”

New applications also may drive new wireless use. Retailers may work with hyper-location services to track where shoppers are, and perhaps even send notifications. These require more coverage for accuracy, and that means more ports on switches for wireless access points to connect to.

Speaking of watching over people, video surveillance is another key use of networks at the campus, and with 1080p (high definition) video rates. Because IP security cameras are mostly on, they consume plenty of bandwidth, as well as power that’s supplied by Power over Ethernet.

And let’s not forget the needs of IT departments themselves.  New switches offer better management capabilities, such as the ability to treat all ports and switches in a unified way, even if switches are stacked or found on port extenders. These will help drive operating expenses down.

Security capabilities are often integrated with new campus switch platforms, and ESG’s research shows that 41% of users look for modern capabilities such as security to drive campus networking upgrades.

Security is a key issue for the campus, since end users are the source for much of malware. Juniper’s Unite architecture with Sky Advanced Threat protection and Junos Fusion Enterprise and Cisco’s APIC-EM are a few of the new ways in which security and policy control are addressed.

Let’s look at the reasons enterprises should consider campus switch upgrades, with supporting data, soon to be published, from recent ESG research. ESG surveyed 306 IT managers about key drivers for campus switch upgrades, allowing participants to choose three (so the total reflected in the following may not be 100%).

(Image: Kirshal/iStockphoto)

 

Dan Conde is an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group covering enterprise networking technologies including software-defined networking, network virtualization, data center and campus networking, WAN optimization, and network performance management. His experience in product ... View Full Bio

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virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2015 | 10:24:13 AM
Re: switch upgrades
I am not sure if they have any other option other than using some external tool.
dan_conde
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dan_conde,
User Rank: Author
10/16/2015 | 10:17:29 AM
Re: switch upgrades
I suppose that's why the consumer grade switches cost less.  I"m curious -- what do you do with the data (do you use external tools for analysis?)
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2015 | 9:58:46 AM
Re: switch upgrades
I am still surprised how can we monitor traffic that is bridged using a switch because only the sending and receiving ports can see the traffic, and we can hardly find these options in consumer grade switches.
dan_conde
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dan_conde,
User Rank: Author
10/14/2015 | 1:58:38 PM
Re: switch upgrades
IoT is looming too.  We can perhaps have another article about what IoT may affect neworking. There's an intersection between mobility (ever more so with LTE) and IoT that's not too obvious to many IT people too and can help our readers too.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
10/14/2015 | 1:14:33 PM
Re: switch upgrades
That is interesting. Did your survey ask anything about concerns enterprises have about future pressures on the network, such as the Internet of Things?
dan_conde
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dan_conde,
User Rank: Author
10/14/2015 | 12:48:15 PM
Re: switch upgrades
Unexpected bandwidth use from demanding uses such as video was interesting. Although surveillance has been gradually moving to the IT responsibility, it's easy for networking staff to not pay too much attention to it. Cameras are streaming data a lot (up link).  It's as though you have lots of people watching Netflix or Youtube all the time.  The traffic does stop at your own video storage systems (which can be distributed and/or centralized) so it does not go to the internet, but there are cloud based surveillance companies too.  Some people complain about end-users watching videos as taking up bandwidth (not to mention the time!), but your own company is busy creating videos too.

I would like to know details about what modern capabilities drive the upgrade too.  It may be security, it may be unified management, and a slew of other things, so it's worth investigating in the future.

 
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
10/14/2015 | 12:27:33 PM
switch upgrades
Hi Dan, Thanks for sharing the ESG survey findings. Was there anything in the survey results that surprised you, i.e., factors that aren't drivers for switch upgrades?
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