1. Enterprise networks are becoming more application-aware, optimised and fluent. Network administration will become less labour-intensive for lower-layer infrastructure management, but more complex in higher application layers.
2. Application response time can directly influence the time it takes to complete key business processes. Application-fluent networks can improve most application response times, particularly where network latency is high, which is often due to the centralisation of servers and IT resources. Network intelligence in the datacentre will play an increasingly key role.
3. Networks must adapt to changes in the workplace. Mobile and remote working is becoming the preferred model for many businesses. Applications still perform poorly over distributed networks; throwing bandwidth at the problem and fixing applications are both costly solutions.
4. Basic network infrastructure has long been commoditised, with capable switching and routing products available from many vendors and many outlets, including consumer retailers.
5. 100Mbps Ethernet switching is the most commonly installed wired technology in the enterprise and is well over 10 years old. Gigabit switching technology, the next step up is approaching a decade of availability.
6. While significant enhancements have been made to the capabilities of the Ethernet switch such as virtual LANs, wire speed IP routing, access control, quality of service and power over Ethernet, manufacturing volumes have driven a huge percentage of the costs out of production.