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How SD-WAN services could improve application metrics

In this roundup of network blogs, industry insiders dissect SD-WAN's role in application metrics, the future of 5G growth and the evolution of network automation.

Software-defined WAN services may hold the key to improved application metrics and performance, as well as a better end-user experience. In a recent blog, Alex Arcilla, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., explored the importance of managing application metrics to improve the end-user experience and how SD-WAN could benefit organizations. 

Managing the end-user experience has become more critical as networks expand, Arcilla said. Users now want and expect flawless experiences when connected to a network. Application-centric SD-WAN services can provide organizations with application metrics that offer insights into the end-user experience. Application metrics include server and app response times.

"Beyond simplifying network configuration and management, app-level management and control is emerging as a key factor to consider when investing in SD-WAN," Arcilla said.

In particular, Arcilla dissected CloudGenix's AppFabric SD-WAN as a service that focuses on application metrics rather than traditional network metrics, such as packet loss and latency. SD-WAN services could simplify the way application-level policies are made and used across sites, and make the experience easier for end users tracking their own application metrics.

As many end users require a faster and easier way to track their application metrics, SD-WAN services can provide them with this ability. Also, with these tools, organizations have the chance to boost application performance.

Read more of Arcilla's analysis of using SD-WAN services to manage application metrics.

Millimeter wave and New Radio: The future of 5G growth

In 2019, network operators have their sights set on 5G technology and carrier cloud. In a recent blog, Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corporation, said network operators are especially focused on 5G's millimeter wave and New Radio technologies.

Some network operators are expected to invest heavily in millimeter wave, Nolle found. Millimeter wave will deploy as a fiber to the node hybrid, which provides telecom services and broadband connection to multiple locations. It offers both residential and business broadband services.

As for New Radio, Nolle said the technology has breadth, "but it's still taking baby steps even next year." Larger deployments, however, are more likely in 2020. New Radio requires mobile devices, meaning any new devices would have to accommodate New Radio technology.

Lastly, operators are focused on carrier cloud, but the technology is riddled with uncertainty, largely because operators are calling it different things, including edge computing or hosting. Carrier cloud, too, is not an incremental commitment for operators, Nolle wrote. An operator would need to deploy thousands of servers and the proper cloud and software tools for carrier cloud to work effectively. Also, operators can't seem to agree on the software framework for carrier cloud.

Read Nolle's full post on 5G growth and where software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization fit into this future.

Network automation is not a new trend

Ivan Pepelnjak of ipSpace explored the recent outburst of network automation talk in a recent blog post. Why is network automation such a popular topic now, he wrote, when it's been around in some form for quite some time? Fully automated ISP service, for instance, emerged in the early 1990s, and many service providers used network automation for decades, Pepelnjak said.

Reasons for not switching to network automation sooner include corporate distrust of automation, already-built networks that would need heavy customization to be automated or the core network had too large of a domain to risk potential failure. Other factors include a lack of programming skills, affective software development processes and affordable test environments.

Yet changes have occurred in recent years that have diminished these obstacles. SDN, for example, became a bigger trend among vendors. Engineers discovered how automation could simplify networking. And, the cloud's popularity rose.

Read all of Pepelnjak's thoughts on network automation's past.

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