The Exception is the Rule: "The New Normal for Modern LANs"

Dec 03, 2018

A couple of years ago, if you had asked a group of network architects about the local area networks they manage, they might have regaled you with a clear list of their preferred networking vendors and products for each of their environments, as well as their structured cabling and the fact that their organization had the fastest speeds possible for their fleet of desktop PCs. One thing that was rarely mentioned: the exceptions that lurked within every corporate LAN. All but the most generic of local area networks contained these dirty little secrets; the network administrators and architects I’ve spoken to would begrudgingly admit, with a wink and a nod, that their networks had a few one-off exceptions.

Today, it is hard to even imagine what those networks might have looked like. Desktop PCs have been replaced by laptops or other mobile devices, all connecting wirelessly. The convergence of technologies on the LAN—including not only communications and security devices, but a whole fleet of IoT sensors and endpoints—has profoundly altered the networking environment. What were once seemingly benign one-off exceptions are becoming the predominant connected devices.

And as more companies adopt IoT strategies, that casual wink and nod could easily turn into a look of dread as more and more networked devices require non-standard equipment to work as desired—and blow up any semblance of network optimization, performance and security in the process. What’s more, administrators could find themselves dealing with scores of unique fixes, without relying on the rigorous processes that are foundational to any successful IT operation.

Helping companies deal with such changes is just one of several challenges Frost & Sullivan’s analyst team aimed to mitigate as we developed a new set of best practices for local area networks, which we are calling the “Modern LAN.” The solution: When it comes to dealing with exceptions, it is time to stop treating them as exceptions.

As non-traditional devices become the norm, network architects simply must come to terms with the fact that solutions such as Long-Reach Power over Ethernet (LRPoE) switches must be included as part of the approved network architecture, even if that means deploying new network design techniques and technologies. It also means being open to the possibility of including new suppliers and certifying new products as part of corporate-approved solutions. Incorporating and supporting a wider array of compatible network infrastructure gear gives both architects and the administrators in the field a fresh set of tools to deploy networks reflective of the devices that are making their way into corporate offices, shop floors and remote sites.

“Dealing with Predominance of IoT Exceptions” is just one of several design best practices incorporated in the Modern LAN. To learn more, read the whitepaper “The Modern LAN: Rethinking Network Design for the Modern Age”, available at

Category : Big Data, Cloud, Enterprise

Melanie Turek


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