Bandwidth needs are going to grow this year. They do every year. The increase in business activity coming out of the Great Recession will almost certainly see more people generating more traffic in the process of doing their jobs. Look for BW demand to more than increase linearly with employment. In the process of dealing with the protracted downturn, companies have found that they really can get more done per person by investing scarce resources in computerized productivity tools. Many of these now require connectivity with the public Internet and private connections to other company facilities, suppliers and customers.
As more people come back to work, they’ll find that their jobs and tools have changed. While the connectivity has increased, there are new aspects to business such as social networking and increased use of video. Paper may not be disappearing, but it certainly isn’t increasing at the same rate as new data is generated. In fact, the need to print something can be seen as both inconvenient and quaint when your main business tool in the field is an iPad.
Clouds were a hot topic in 2010. The move to everything in the cloud is still in the early part of the learning curve. I think we’ll see more and more orientation toward cloud based services that include cloud computing and cloud-based storage. Just as the client-server model made dealing with hundreds or thousands of desktop computers and their associated software a manageable task, the cloud services model will eliminate purchased software packages and their updates completely. Also swept away will be many private data centers with their associated power consumption and HVAC requirements. Everything will be out there, somewhere.
Of course, just closing your eyes and trusting implicitly in the always-available cloud has its risks. What happens when the cloud is running just fine but you can’t get to it? It’s a little like locking your keys in a running car. For that reason, WAN connectivity will take on a new importance. Not only will you need more bandwidth as employees access cloud services rather that servers on your own LAN, but redundancy is going to be essential to ensuring connectivity. Not just bringing in a second line, mind you. You’ll need diverse connections that can’t be easily taken down by natural disaster or careless backhoe operation.
Mobile connectivity requirements are also on the rise. We’ve gotten so comfortable with 3G that there’s no going back to less than broadband wireless connections. In fact, the push for 4G will increase right along with the adoption of cloud services and tablet computers. Carriers are already sweating the lack of available backhaul bandwidth and both carriers and the FCC are sweating the limited amount of suitable wireless bandwidth. Look for a virtual treasure hunt to ensue, as everything that now uses spectrum will be scrutinized to see if it has more of a claim than the 4G juggernaut that needs all the BW it can get.
Telexplainer is primarily focused on telecom and networking, so it stands to reason that we have a keen eye on the bandwidth markets. Many businesses may be surprised to discover that they both need and can afford fiber optic connectivity this year. Chances are that this will be Carrier Ethernet from a competitive provider rather that traditional SONET/SDH services. For multi-site and international connectivity, MPLS networks have an extensive reach and prices lower than ever before.
How is your company set for doing business this year? Are you feeling a bit constrained by your network connections or concerned that you are still paying too much per Mbps? If so, now would be a perfect time to check prices and availability of WAN networks services. The sooner you get better service installed, the more capability you’ll have for the entire year.