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  • The WAN connection waiting game: Engineers long for faster provisioning

    It can take one to three months to install a private WAN connection at a new branch office. For many enterprises, that’s just not acceptable anymore. Continue Reading

  • WAN 2.0: Say goodbye to network provisioning delays

    Network engineers have long suffered the consequences of slow provisioning times for many traditional wide area network (WAN) connections like point-to-point T1 lines or MPLS networks. They're at the mercy of carriers that can take as long as three months to install these services.

    It's a longtime challenge that has, actually, not gotten worse over time. Provisioning lead times has gradually shortened over the years.

    But, as we explore in this issue of Network Evolution, enterprises today are feeling the consequences of these delays more acutely. That's because IT departments are under increased pressure to make sure their infrastructure is agile and dynamic in the face of ever-changing demands. Real-time provisioning in other areas of IT, such as server virtualization, has also exposed the WAN as an obstruction to innovation at times.

    In this issue’s cover story, we speak with network engineers who make sure they're always ready with a "plan B" if the business' needs are outpacing the time it takes to install a new WAN circuit or add more bandwidth to an existing one. Meanwhile, carriers are getting serious about using software-defined networking (SDN) to reduce WAN provisioning times. We talk to one service provider that claims customers in its SDN pilot program can adjust bandwidth on a WAN circuit with a few clicks -- without any human intervention from the carrier -- and see the changes live on their network within minutes.

    Also in this issue, we look at an emerging trend around video conferencing analytics -- a capability that some enterprises use to get the most out of their video conferencing deployments. These tools look at usage and performance of video equipment, cluing in IT professionals as to whether a dedicated video conferencing room might be better off as an all-purpose conference room, or vice versa.

    Finally, this issue of Network Evolution dives into the wireless networking skills gap that many engineers face, due to the lack of wireless-intensive training in college-level IT courses and similar settings. And as wireless becomes a pervasive and primary means of connectivity for more enterprises, network engineers need the right skills to keep up. Continue Reading

  • Price vs. design, how do you choose MPLS service providers?

    When you meet with several MPLS service providers, you need to weigh the cost vs. the design of the product. Cheaper products might not give you all the capabilities you need. Continue Reading

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