Network Design and Management Trend

Introduction

Network design and management have been characterized by continued innovation in the areas of cloud services, server virtualization, content and mobile devices. The networking industry requires to reexamine the network architectures and design to consolidate and fit in the new innovations. The previous designs were mostly dominated by Ethernet switches largely arranged in a hierarchical protocol. The dynamic storage and computing needs in the areas of education, business, and governmental organizations among others, required a change from earlier designs that were client-server based to more reliable ones. The following are some of the new innovations that facilitated constant developments in the network design and management.

The dynamic traffic patterns

In the enterprise data center, traffic paradigm is upgrading and changing rapidly. In the previous applications, traffic patterns were based on one client-one server. New innovations in the Information Technology enabled access by different servers simultaneously, by creating ‘east-west ‘machine-to-machine controlled traffic prior to returning to the intended end user gadget in the ‘north-south’ pattern. Users consequently required access to corporate applications and information anytime in their personal devices, with a consent to connecting anywhere.

Information Technology has been characterized by many innovations and the entrepreneurs and managers preferred a computing patterns that included public cloud and private cloud, or both which consequently resulted in supplemental traffic along the WAN. With an increased use of devices such as notebooks, tablets, and smartphones in the corporate network, networking in IT had to ensure that data was protected as well as intellectual property and compliance was met. The rise in cloud services embraced by business managers and entrepreneurs demanded IT resources access by employees in the corporate world. Cloud services were to be done with intentions to enable increased security, auditing requirement of the business, and compliance. This required elastic computing scale, network resources, and storage from similar point characterized by a common set of tools (Schaeffer-Filho et al 2012). 

The ‘big data’ technology run by many servers required faster processing with direct connections between servers. The capacity of an additional network was created, at the same time becoming more sophisticated as it required a maintained connectivity at all time. With new demands by the business organizations, the network design and management has been focusing on the following areas of connectivity, to appropriately trend with new innovations and demands. The key areas include: security, software-defined networking, virtualization, hardware, network management tools, and wireless.

Software Defined Networking

It is a technology in computer networking that permit network administrators to develop programs and applications that can trigger, control, deviate, and manage the high dynamics behavior of the network. Its operation are meant to decouple the networking controller through open interfaces called northbound interface(NBI). It is  often associated with OpenFlow protocol for the remote information transfer with other network plane entities responsible to define paths across the network until the Open Networking Foundation initiation in 2011 (Roy, et.al. 2014). Software-defined networking has been promoted gradually. In 2014, during Tech Field Day and Interop, Avaya demonstrated software-defined networking using OpenStack and shortest path bridging of automated campus, which faced out manual provisions, therefore, extended automation to end users from the main data center. VMware’s NSX and Cisco Systems’ Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) products can be utilized in SDN space.

Image result for figure showing trends in software defined networking

Figure 1: Software Defined Networking Trend

Components of SDN

SDN Application

It is a software program designed to perform tasks in a software-defined networking environment.Software-Defined Networking technology provides the separation of network management functions and data transfer functions. This architecture allows selection of the level of control from the network equipment and makes it programmable.

SDN Controller

This entity, logically centralized was designed to facilitate two key tasks; provide SDN Applications with an overviewed events and statistics of the network, and to provide linkage paths followed by instructions between SDN Application and the SDN Datapaths. An SDN Controller is comprised of SDN Control Logic, Control to Data-Plane Interface (CDPI) driver and Northbound Interfaces Agents (NBI). It does not, however, precludes or prescribes to details such as the intermediary communication interfaces, the hierarchical connectivity of the controllers, and virtualization.

SDN Control Plane

The control plane in SDN can be implemented through centralized, hierarchical, or distributed designs. Unlike the initial SDN control plane that heavily relied on centralized design with a single control, the new approach has implemented other two designs. This is due to the increased dynamics and size of the network. In hierarchical approach, the controllers operate from a subdivided network point, with decisions taken logically by centralized root controller. In the distributed approach, controllers are designed to perform the operation through the exchange of synchronized information to promote their knowledge. The distributed approach is more applicable in enhancing the performance for adaptive SDN.

Controller placement

During the development of the control plane, the number and position of control elements are of paramount. This is necessary due to bearing impact on the reliability of the control path, propagation time required between devices and the controllers, and fault tolerance.

Virtualization

Virtualization is the creation of virtual versions of computers’ network resources, hardware platforms, and storage resources. Virtualization allows optimum utilization of expensive hardware resources (CPU) through server consolidation of numerous small physical servers being replaced by single but bigger physical server. Network virtualization is important in the process of physical network platforms simulation of servers. There is creation of two (or more) networks with similar IP range but with no authorization of communicating with each other. This enhances performance of different tasks by two or more virtual networks. Microsoft, IBM, HP, Citrix, and VMware are among the top companies that provide virtualization (Fung, &Boutaba 2013)

Types of network virtualization

Network virtualization consists of internal network and external network virtualization. Basing on the effect of virtualization project undertaken by any organization, the following factors should be considered: backup, disaster recovery plans, enterprise systems management platform and archive.

The WAN 3.0

Nearly all WAN used sometime back were physical wires used to connect buildings. Routers and switches were applied but the information could not be shared with another internet especially that is public. In the past, revolution advancement was made in the WAN and networking technologies. WAN 3.0 designed with multi-path routing have the capability of picking interfaces that are specific to applications. These new features were not part of the earlier versions. Docker was made available as an open source of hardware virtualization. 

Wireless Network

The wireless network is a mode of establishing data connections in a computer or various devices between network redistribution points. Examples of wireless networks are wireless local area networks(WLANs), satellite communication networks, wireless sensor networks, cell phone networks, and microwave networks. From 2011 to 2014, the wireless network was dominated with the upgrading of WIFI standard, 802.11ac from wireless broadband. The broadband was inefficiently distributed and highly limited, which contributed to the increased number of devices that could access WI-FI ranging from smartphones, PCs, webcams, printers, wearables, and refrigerators. This increased connectivity, lead to a need for security tightening. WEP was innovated as security standard measure (Tree, S.2014)

Image result for images showing trends in wireless networking

Figure 2:Graph Showing Trend in Wireless Network

Types of wireless networks

Wireless PAN

Wireless personal area networks (WPANs) allows interconnection of internet devices in a small area. Examples include the invisible infrared light and bluetooth radio, which enables headset connection to a desktop or a laptop. In 2012 there was widespread integration of WI-FI PANs into a variety of equipment and electronic devices. The WIFI PANs included windows 7 ‘virtual WI-FI’ and Intel ‘My WIFI’ which made WIFI PANs easier to set, and simpler to configure.

Wireless LAN

This wireless local area network enhances connectivity over a larger area compared to WPAN. It allows connection within a building or a campus. The standard is the IEEE 802.11(Wi-Fi). This wireless distribution allows internet access point. With Fixed wireless technology advancement, more buildings were connected to the internet where wired link installation was terminated (Fodor et., al 2012).

Wireless Metropolitan Area Network

It is deployed when multiple LANs are connected. It enhances network connection within a city and described by cellular standards (UMTS, LTE).

Cellular Network

Also refers to a mobile network. This is a radio network distributed by transceiver or cell site over cells (land areas). Smartphones companies; Android, Microsoft, and Apple integrated this technology to enable continued transfer of data. There was widespread adoption of 3G which rendered the previous 2G inappropriate. There was the initiation of a global area network which is used to support mobile within varying wireless LANs, satellite area of coverage, etc.

Conclusion

Network design and management has been on the rise since the year 2012 with more innovations dominating. More tasks and increase in human population and workforce demanded a network that is not only efficient but cost effective. A network design has been developed to fit in the sophisticated yet holistic organizations and their differentiated operations.

All players in the information and technology architecture should work in collaboration to address the challenges emanating from the network design. The witnessed awe-inspiring growth of the network designs and management features are testimonies of the success accomplished by the various design companies and engineers. However, these designs are characterized by being sophisticated. For the cost to remain low, much inputs will be required. The following strategies and tactics will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the cost will not inhibit the evolution in the network designs and management; Self-managing designs should be developed and upgraded to ensure the costs are lowered, a method to shape traffic optimization for web platforms, systems development and implementation.
References

Fodor, G., Dahlman, E., Mildh, G., Parkvall, S., Reider, N., Miklós, G., & Turányi, Z. (2012).

Design aspects of network assisted device-to-device communications. IEEE Communications Magazine, 50(3).

Fung, C. J., &Boutaba, R. (2013, May). Design and management of collaborative intrusion

detection networks. In Integrated Network Management (IM 2013), 2013 IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on (pp. 955-961). IEEE.

Roy, A. R., Bari, M. F., Zhani, M. F., Ahmed, R., &Boutaba, R. (2014, May). Design and

management of dot: A distributed openflowtestbed. In Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS), 2014 IEEE (pp. 1-9). IEEE.

Schaeffer-Filho, A., Smith, P., Mauthe, A., Hutchison, D., Yu, Y., & Fry, M. (2012, April). A

framework for the design and evaluation of network resilience management. In Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS), 2012 IEEE (pp. 401-408). IEEE.

Tree, S. (2014). Wireless sensor networks. Self, 1(R2), C0.

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