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You never know where you'll find a network deployment

A network deployment can be a good reminder that IT isn’t always a desk job. Network engineers often go into cramped, dirty or unsafe places to install equipment.

As a journalist, I'm no stranger to doing my job in places most people have never seen up close.

Admittedly, those places tend to be pretty tame in the world of tech. In a past life, I took my pen and notebook everywhere from surgical operating rooms to the starting line of a greyhound-racing track to active crime scenes to the front seat of a garbage truck (guess which of those assignments started with an editor saying, “Hey, you're new here…”).   

There's something to be said for the fact that after I got what I needed, I could retreat back to my clean, safe and totally unremarkable cubicle. It got me thinking lately about people in IT who work every day in unusual conditions -- network engineers in particular, because let's face it: You’ll never see a software developer climbing on, crawling under or tunneling through something to install cabling. 

Which brings us to our cover story for this issue of Network Evolution ("Four examples of networks in unusual places"), featuring four profiles of a network deployment in an unexpected place. The phrase "just another day at the office" takes on a new meaning for these folks.

Also in this issue, we take a hard (and technical) look at container networking ("Container networking offers opportunity to simplify networks"). Are containers the new cloud? In terms of hype, most definitely -- but that doesn’t mean you should ignore their comeback. Learn more about the implications for network engineers. We also dive into where innovation is happening in next-generation firewalls ("Latest types of firewalls merge NGFW and threat analysis features"), because after nearly 10 years, how much longer can we accept that standard features are still being called next-generation?

And be sure to check out our new ongoing series, Dropped Packets. Like a sommelier for your brain, we'll present a rotating selection of opinion pieces, case studies, expert advice and more.

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