An incredible year that will be remembered in history is 2020 – a COVID-19 pandemic year. These last few months, even I can say a year has changed everything from how we live and work, escorting in new trends and boosting the present ones.

The network – an anchor during stormy winds

Coronavirus attack in 2020 was responsible for the rise of internet traffic and raised concerns as to whether our network infrastructure could handle it. Neither as a person nor as a businessperson were expecting or were prepared for a long-term global disruption such as “COVID-19.” Practically overnight, the entire workforce worldwide began to work remotely.

The coronavirus outbreak has been a wake-up call for every organization, nation, and municipality.

In 2021, it is said that internet traffic is ready to rule the year, as consumers and enterprises become more customary to work-from-home (WFH) or work-from-anywhere policy and were more network dependent.

In this pandemic, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) was a leader for all employees and enterprises. Sandvine’s COVID-19 Global Internet Phenomena report states that VPN applications and video conferencing applications (WebEx or Zoom) improved internet traffic growth during the pandemic.

As each year passes, each technology passes, thus each trend….

Networking trends 2021

So, this new year we are here to bring you the recent networking technology trends to flourish in 2021.

From a rising focus on internet-of-things (IoT) and edge networking in a pandemic to the rise of 5G and teleworking, here are a few networking trends to help you enhance the business spirit in 2021:

1. High security to a remote workforce

Employees WFH or working from anywhere are more prone to cyberattacks when accessing corporate applications and data via personal devices or connections. Networking technologies allow secure WFH models.

2. Multicloud networking

The rising importance of securing remote users accessing cloud applications is reflected in the growing prioritization of cloud-based security.

3. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) evolution

To take SD-WAN a step further, vendors are developing SASE portfolios. In particular, SASE addresses remote working use cases as many organizations re-architect their environments to serve campus, branch office, and small sites such as teleworkers and IoT endpoints, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. SASE offerings are anticipated to increase in popularity.

4. Teleworking

Businesses have developed networks to support their branch office and campus locations. Networks also help employees to stay connected and collaborate remotely using videoconferencing services and platforms.

Several networking vendors have developed remote working offerings, from wireless connectivity in a box to security and SD-WAN offerings aimed at teleworking use cases, comprising Cisco Systems, Aruba Networks, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.

5.   SD-WAN evolution

Unique flavors of SD-WAN will appeal to networking companies looking to fill the gaps in their portfolio with WAN edge technology.

For instance,

  • in September 2020, Hewlett Packard Enterprise closed its acquisition of SD-WAN leader Silver Peak for about USD 925 million,
  • Ericsson acquired CradlePoint in September 2020 for nearly USD 1.1 billion, and
  • CloudGenix was scooped up by Palo Alto Networks in April 2020 for about USD 420 million.

Using SD-WAN technology, traffic from different connections could be managed and directed into your business’s central network with ease.

6. Ready for 5G networking

5G promises to turbocharge 2021 thanks to its lightning-fast speeds and lower latency. Several US-based carriers are in a race to become 5G networking leaders, including AT and amp;T, Verizon, and Sprint/T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G network. 5G network is a significant networking trend that will help businesses reach more users and get work done more quickly in hard-to-reach places.

Spoiler alert – 2021 is all about hybrid networking!

Hybrid networking uses two or more network technologies to create links between sites, users, and devices. And that is why it’s so perfect for 2021. Network technologies that are optimal for use in new hybrid networks in 2021 and beyond:

  • Cloud networking
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
  • Cybersecurity

Looking forward – beyond business continuity

We should always learn from our mistakes. For instance, every organization has business continuity plans, but most don’t have backup plans for a pandemic situation. Moving forward, business planning must extend beyond the confines to adapt to both known and unexpected disruptions.

Takeaway – networking trends 2021

Now it’s almost a year we all are dealing with the initial blows of the pandemic, and now it’s time to pause and appraise the IT and networking teams. Without their contributions to network management, most enterprises could have fared much worse. BCI survey states that IT resilience is in the top position (approximately 59.8%) for its contribution to the pandemic.

We all are aware that transforming our networks is a never-ending journey with ever-rising impacts. We all are waiting for the day to put this pandemic behind us, and now is the best time to take a positive attitude to prepare networks to be ready for whatever future disruptions may come your way.

Last but not least, networking technology could play an essential role in fighting the present pandemic –

  • IoT networks to boost the development of distance medicine.
  • Big enterprises are expanding 5G, DC, and SD-WAN competencies.

The above write-up indicates that 2021 will be an exciting year, as networking technology has an essential role in the world’s fight against coronavirus and the digital transformation of enterprises.

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